Not being able to sleep is very upsetting. Whether you’re anxious, stressed about something, or just struggling with insomnia for no real reason, there are few things less frustrating than not being able to sleep. If you’re dealing with insomnia, here are some tips to help you deal with it.
Get Into A Routine
Try to get into and maintain a bedtime routine. Get up at the same time every morning (whether you’ve slept or not) and try to go to bed at the same time every night. This helps your body to prepare for sleep at the right time, so you’ll have a better time dropping off.
A bedtime routine can help too. Take a relaxing bath, wash your face, drink a (caffeine-free) herbal tea, read a book. Whatever helps you to relax. If you follow this routine every night, your body will soon learn to associate this with it being bedtime soon, preparing you for sleep.
Try A Weighted Blanket
If your insomnia is anxiety-based, it can help to sleep with a weighted blanket. The heavy weight over you helps you to feel relaxed and comforted, making sleep easier. A Weighted sleep mask works in a similar way.
Prepare Your Bedroom
Turn your bedroom into a haven for sleep. Try to use your bedroom only for sleeping, so your brain automatically thinks it’s time for sleep when you go in there. When you go to bed at night, keep your bedroom dark and cool. Getting rid of lights will stop you from being distracted, and the cooler temperature encourages your body to start winding down. You could also try using relaxing scents from things like pillow sprays to make it even more relaxing.
Get regular exercise. Being active will help you in two ways. Regular exercise means you’ll have more energy during the day which will help you to cope with the effects of a sleepless night, and will make you more tired at night. Those who exercise also find they sleep more deeply too, so even if you don’t get much sleep, the sleep you do get will be better quality. Just make sure not to do anything too active before bedtime. Your exercise should be at least a few hours before you want to sleep.
This one can be hard, especially if you didn’t sleep the night before. However, napping can disturb your sleep routine and make it much harder to get to sleep at night. If you really can’t get through the day without a nap, limit yourself to just one nap of no more than thirty minutes. This should be enough to give you a boost of energy but won’t stop you from sleeping later. Make sure you don’t nap after 3 pm, or you’ll have a harder time sleeping that night.
Avoid Or Limit Caffeine And Alcohol
Caffeine is a stimulant, so naturally, using it will make it harder to sleep. If you’re relying on coffee to get you through the day after a night of insomnia, going without will seem tough at first, but you’ll get better sleep without it. Avoid it altogether, or limit it to just a cup or two a day. Don’t drink caffeine in the afternoon or evening either.
Alcohol might make you feel as though it’s easier to fall asleep, but the sleep you get after drinking will be of much lower quality. You’ll be restless during the night and won’t be able to sleep well at all. Cut out alcohol, or at least limit it.
Avoid Large Meals Before Bed
If you eat before bed, your body will concentrate on digesting instead of sleeping, so you’ll struggle to drop off. A light meal or a snack is fine and can help to combat heartburn, but avoid eating large meals too close to bedtime.
It can also help to skip drinks close to bedtime, so you don’t wake in the night needing to visit the bathroom.
Don’t Try Too Hard To Sleep
Lying awake willing yourself to go to sleep and watching the hours tick by won’t help. If you find dropping off hard, read a book in another room until you feel drowsy, and then go to bed. If you go to bed and can’t sleep, or wake in the night and can’t go back to bed, don’t just lie there getting upset. Get up again and do something relaxing. Try to avoid looking at your phone, or watching the TV, as these will both stimulate your brain into wakefulness. Instead, read for a while, or practice meditation until you feel tired again. Then you can go back to bed.
Try Meditation Or Yoga
Finding techniques for relaxation can really help. Meditation works to release stress and gives you the tools to cope with stressful situations. Sit quietly, and focus on your breathing, letting your mind go blank. If thoughts come to you, just let them go. A few minutes a day can be enough to help you to relax and get better sleep. The breathing techniques that you learn in meditation can be used at night to help you fall asleep.
Yoga can help in a similar way. Try a yoga class, or following online routines. Look for yoga designed to be done at bedtime to help you to relax and unwind. Yoga releases tension from your muscles, so you’ll be better able to fall asleep at night.
Insomnia is often upsetting and can have a real negative impact on your life. If these techniques don’t work you, see a doctor about your sleep troubles. They can check that the insomnia isn’t caused by a medication you take, and can suggest solutions that might help, such as CBT, sleep medications, or herbal remedies. Don’t struggle on unable to sleep. There are even support groups available for people with insomnia, so you can talk to others about their experience, and get support, suggestions, and help from people who understand.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.