How to Beat Insomnia in 10 Easy Steps
Do you spend hours tossing and turning at night struggling to fall asleep? If so, follow these tips on how to beat insomnia once and for all.
Almost everyone has a rough night every now and then. But if you find yourself constantly tossing and turning at night and struggling to stay asleep, you might be dealing with a deeper issue.
Being unable to sleep can result in a vicious cycle--lack of sleep causes stress which in turn makes it harder to fall back asleep. Not to mention the fact that sleep deprivation can weaken your immune system and even shorten your lifespan.
If you're having trouble getting high-quality shut-eye, don't lose hope just yet.
There's no one best strategy, but these steps can help you learn how to beat insomnia so that once your head hits the pillow, you're out.
How to Beat Insomnia
Dealing with insomnia might not be easy, but it's certainly not impossible.
If you have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or just wake up each morning feeling exhausted, these 10 steps might help you get the quality sleep you need.
1) Set a consistent schedule
Make sure you go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
It might be tempting to try and catch a few more hours of sleep on the weekends, especially if you had some rough nights during the week. But your body works best on a routine rhythm.
One of the top tricks for beating insomnia is setting a schedule. Train your body to sleep and wake at a consistent time--somewhere within 30 minutes of your ideal time.
Going to bed earlier might help you establish a healthy sleeping pattern. Try setting a bedtime before 11 or 12 at night and stick to it.
2) Eliminate stimulants
It's important that you give your body a chance to establish a regular sleep rhythm.
The effects of caffeine can last for hours, so if you're drinking coffee it's important to stop at least six hours before bed. Alcohol might have a sedative effect at first, but it can disrupt your sleep and make it hard for you to wake up feeling refreshed.
It's also important that you're careful with the use of computers, phones, and other electronics before bed. Blue light can throw off your rhythm and make it harder to get to sleep at night.
You can try purchasing glasses that filter out blue light from your devices or download an application like f.lux, which reduces blue light as it approaches your ideal bedtime.
3) Exercise regularly
Exercise is crucial for overcoming insomnia.
Moderate exercise during the day makes it easier to fall asleep and can increase your quality of rest once you do drift off. Try exercising a few times a week for at least 30 minutes to improve your sleep quality and duration.
But also be careful--exercising too close to bedtime can have a stimulating effect on your body. Make sure you finish exercising at least three hours before you plan to go to bed and give yourself some time to unwind and relax.
4) Limit naps
Don't fall into the trap of taking naps. It might seem like the perfect solution to catch up on missed sleep, but naps can put you in a cycle of sleep deprivation.
When you take a nap, it's less likely that you'll feel tired at bedtime, and your body won't be prepared to fall asleep. This leads to you feeling groggy again when you wake up and taking more naps all over again.
Be sure that your body and mind associate nighttime with sleep. Maintain a regular sleep pattern and leave any sleep for a consistent bedtime.
5) Watch what you eat
While it might be tempting to tuck into some comfort foods in the late evening, that's not always the best idea. Eating rich foods late at night can disrupt your sleep schedule.
Try to stop eating at least three hours before you go to bed to let your stomach settle.
Changing your eating habits can help your quality of sleep too. Avoid foods that are high in carbohydrates or sugar--they can cause imbalances in your blood sugar that lead to sleeping problems.
6) Make yourself comfortable
A comfortable room and bed is an important investment.
The quality of your sleeping environment can have a big impact on your sleep. Invest in things like good pillows, sheets, mattresses, mattress toppers, and more. Turning your bedroom into a comfortable, trendy haven has never been easier.
You should also try to control temperature, lighting, and noise to improve your quality of sleep. Keeping the room slightly cold can help you fall asleep, and complete darkness will help your body produce more melatonin.
Make sure that electronics are turned off and that you don't have any light-up clocks or other devices that might produce unwanted light or sound.
7) Limit activities in bed
Another key trick for beating insomnia is having a good relationship with your bed.
Avoid doing things like studying, reading, or making phone calls while on your bed. Even avoid activities like watching television. It's important that you associate your bed with sleep--and only sleep.
If you find yourself in bed at night unable to sleep, sometimes it's better just to get up. When you spend all night tossing and turning, you might start to develop negative feelings about your bed.
Try getting up and walking around for a while, or at least change locations before trying to sleep again. You want your bed to remain a place of calm and stress-free relaxation.
8) Try supplements
Another great way to beat insomnia is using natural supplements.
Try taking some supplements like melatonin or magnesium, which can help balance your body's natural sleep hormones to induce sleep. These can help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and increase the total quality of sleep.
If you don't want to take pills, try eating foods naturally high in melatonin like bananas or cherries.
9) Practice relaxation
Beating insomnia only gets harder when you're anxious about sleep.
Train yourself to relax before bedtime using techniques like meditation or progressive muscle relaxation. You can try meditation videos with calming music, binaural beats, or even hypnosis techniques.
Another trick you can try is the 4-7-8 breathing practice.
Rest your tongue against your gums just behind your upper front teeth and exhale all the air from your lungs. Then breathe in through your nose for four seconds. Hold your breath for seven seconds. Finally, exhale through your mouth for eight seconds.
Make sure you're breathing in all the way through your diaphragm and repeat four or five times until you drift off.
10) Positive thoughts
Insomnia can lead to a lot of negative thoughts associated with sleep. You might face bedtime with dread and stare at the clock until it's time to get up again.
It's vital that you learn to break those associations and stop thinking so much about sleep. Keep your thoughts positive when you think about going back to sleep.
The more you train yourself not to think about your insomnia, the easier falling asleep will be.
Putting It All Together
When it all comes down to it, learning how to beat insomnia can change your life.
Think about some of these steps and see what works for you. It might take some trial and error, but ultimately you can create the perfect sleep routine to help you beat insomnia for good.
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