Getting a good night’s sleep is incredibly important, but for most, it’s a difficult thing to do. Whether you’re feeling stressed, overworked, or simply struggling to fall asleep at night, many different things can stop you from getting the 7-8 hours you need.
Insomnia is a frustrating thing to deal with, whether you experience chronic insomnia or occasional sleepless nights. Treatment may depend on how severe your insomnia is, but there are some things you can do on your own to help yourself fall asleep and stay asleep.
1. Get Yourself Into A Regular Routine
While it may seem obvious, getting yourself into a routine is one of the best ways to beat your sleep problems. A routine will help train your body to know when it should be asleep and when you should be waking up. Although you won’t be able to stick to this schedule every night of your life, trying to do it as often as possible can really benefit you.
2. Don’t Drink Caffeine Past 5 pm
Caffeine is filled with additives that help you stay awake. With effects lasting up to five hours, it will likely keep you awake much longer than you need. Stop drinking anything that may contain caffeine after 5 pm. Drink water instead.
3. Turn Off All Electronics An Hour Before Bed
Turning off your electronics and charging them in a separate room overnight is a big step to take, but it can do absolute wonders for your sleeping pattern. People often lie on their phones at night, making falling asleep much harder. Making sure everything is put away at least an hour before you plan to sleep is the best way to avoid this.
4. Use Aromatherapy
Although these don’t work for everyone, aromatherapy can help you sleep better. For example, essential oils are a great way to help you get a better night’s sleep. Use an essential oil roller designed to release relaxing properties to your pulse points, ensuring your sleep is uninterrupted and calm.
Lavender is also known to help you drift off to sleep, so you can often find products containing lavender, like sprays, diffusers, and lotions.
5. Don’t Use Alcohol As A Sleep Aid
People often use alcohol as a sleep aid, and while it may work in the short term, in the long run, it could lead to alcohol dependency that ultimately affects your sleep more in the future. Stay away from the nightcaps and instead find a calming tea that helps ensure you get a good night’s sleep.
6. Set Up Your Bedroom
Create a relaxing environment in your bedroom by adjusting the temperature and reducing noise and light levels. Blackout curtains, white noise machines, and fans can all help.
7. Try Melatonin
Melatonin is a sleep-and-relaxation-promoting hormone secreted by your pineal gland in the evening. Sometimes, the pineal gland doesn’t secrete enough of this hormone, particularly if you’re exposed to blue light for most of your day. It is a common issue for people who look at computer or phone screens all day for work or school.
Supplemental melatonin can give your body the extra push it needs to settle into bedtime mode. You can purchase melatonin supplements over the counter at most pharmacies and grocery stores.
Check with your physician or pharmacist before taking any medication.
8. Try CBD
If you’re having trouble getting a good night’s sleep, consider incorporating CBD products into your bedtime routine. Research shows that it helps with pain, depression, and anxiety, which can cause sleeping problems. You can try different options, from gummies to bath bombs, to find the right fit.
Again, please talk with a medical professional before taking supplements.
9. Relaxation Techniques and Breathing Exercises
One of the most diverse treatment techniques is relaxation, including progressive muscle relaxation, breathing exercises, and meditation. There are apps, podcasts, and videos available to guide you through various relaxation techniques, or you can try some on your own to see if any work well for you.
These techniques teach you to quiet your mind and focus on consciously relaxing your body in preparation for rest and sleep, so they can be good options for someone whose anxiety impedes sleep.
10. Live a Healthy Lifestyle
One of the best preventive measures you can take to try to avoid insomnia is practicing a healthy lifestyle. Get regular exercise, eat healthily, and take any prescription medications you need when your doctor recommends you take them.
A sedentary lifestyle, blood sugar fluctuation, caffeine intake, and certain medications taken too late in the day can all affect your sleep patterns. Conversely, exercising regularly releases endorphins which can help you relax. It can also help you expend energy, so you feel tired more easily at night.
Avoiding or moderating foods that contain compounds that affect sleep, such as chocolate and coffee, will help you avoid insomnia, too.
11. Stimulus Control
Look at your bedtime routine, time spent sleeping, and your environment. What small changes can you make that better facilitate sleep?
If, for example, you spend time on your computer or watching TV before bed, try reading a book instead to avoid screens. If your bedroom also tends to be where you work, take your work out to the kitchen table. You should reserve your bedroom for sleeping.
If your insomnia causes anxiety about whether you’ll fall asleep or stay asleep, do activities before bed that will help you relax and feel more in control of your sleep situation.
12. Get Medical Advice
If you deal with the occasional sleepless or restless night, try some of these tricks and see what works for you. However, if you think your insomnia is more severe or unmanageable, you should consult your doctor. They can provide you with professional advice and guidance on your treatment options. More importantly, your doctor can ensure that your insomnia is not a symptom of a more significant health issue that needs to be addressed.
Don’t suffer in silence; seek help so you can start sleeping better and feeling your best.
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Amanda Kay, the founder of My Life, I Guess, provides valuable career advice and support for anyone striving to make a living and, more importantly, make a life. Whether it's navigating job searches, learning new skills, overcoming unemployment, or dealing with debt, My Life, I Guess has been a go-to resource for career guidance and financial stability since 2013. Amanda's expertise and relatable approach have been featured in trusted publications such as MSN, Credit.com, Yahoo! Finance, the Ladders and Fairygodboss.