Many people have trouble sleeping once in a while. Whether it’s hard to fall asleep or stay asleep, feeling wide awake while the rest of the world sleeps is never fun. Fortunately, for most people a sleepless night is only an occasional problem. On the other hand, you are one of the many who experience insomnia on a more regular basis, take heart, there are some steps you can take to peacefully drift off into the land of nod in no time…
- Start a new routine – Sleepless nights often are the result of the lack of a consistent bedtime routine. Remember when you were a kid, and your folks had a bedtime routine for tucking you in? Even as adults, we don’t outgrow our need for a consistent routine that cues the body to relax and tells the brain that it’s time to go to sleep. Start to unwind an hour before you slip between the sheets to drift off for a good night’s sleep
- Don’t sabotage your sleep – Alcohol, caffeine, and the blue light from electronic devices are all notorious sleep disrupters. Even though a drink or two before bedtime can be deceivingly relaxing, making it seem easier to fall asleep, once the alcohol is metabolized you’re likely to wake up in the middle of the night and have difficulty falling back to sleep. If you’re having trouble sleeping, enjoy your last glass of wine 2-3 hours before bedtime. Caffeine is known for sleep disruption, and most people don’t realize that our bodies metabolize caffeine more slowly as we age, which is the reason why that cup of coffee that never bothered you in college keeps you awake in your 40’s. For a good night’s sleep, switch to decaf after 3 pm. And the blue light from electronic devices interferes with the production of the brain chemicals that promote sleep. Be sure to unplug 1-2 hours before you go to bed.
- Exercise – Our bodies are designed to be active throughout the day, and though working at a desk job might tire out the brain, during the work week many people simply don’t get enough exercise to tire out their bodies before bedtime. You might not need to find time to go to the gym to get the sleep benefits of exercise – try walking the dog, shooting hoops with your kids, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator to help promote a good night’s sleep.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) – If you have tried the lifestyle changes suggested and you still find you can’t get a good night’s sleep, consider CBT-I, a specific psychotherapy shown in clinical studies to be as effective as medication for promoting sleep. People suffering from insomnia often lose confidence in their ability to sleep, and CBT-I helps people regain this confidence by teaching them how to reset the biological systems that regulate their sleep.
Please review this article as well on how smartphone use impacts your sleep habits:
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