Insomnia is a result of several psychiatric and medical conditions, unhygienic sleep habits, or even certain biological factors. It is basically a problem of the central nervous system (brain) that is unable to stop being awake.
Insomnia can be a problem with our sleep cycle: either excessive wake drive or too little sleep drive.
How to beat insomnia
Fortunately, good sleep habits and a healthy lifestyle can fix the problem of insomnia.
Tips to beat insomnia include;
Make sure that your mattress is good enough to aid in a blissful sleep
Make sure that the mattress you sleep on supports your entire body and keeps your spinal cord in a neutral position – regardless of your sleeping position. For example for stomach and side sleepers, a high-density mattress is the best. In case you want to get a new mattress, don’t forget to check out this review from SleepStandards.
Cut down on caffeine
Caffeine present in coffee, tea, and energy drinks interferes with a blissful sleep. It acts as a stimulant and keeps you alert, preventing deep sleep and causing insomnia. Instead, switch to a cup of herbal tea or warm milk. Herbal teas work by increasing or modifying specific neurotransmitters that induce sleep.
Do not smoke
Smokers like to ‘wind down’ with a puff and calm their nerves before dozing off. Nicotine present in the smoke rushes through the body quickly and disrupts sleep. It also results in sleep conditions like sleep apnea. So, never smoke cigarettes or tobacco products close to bedtime.
Do not exercise close to bedtime
Regular workout and exercise improves sleep quality and increases sleep duration. However, exercising just before going to bed should be avoided as that can have a stimulant impact on the body. Intense exercising just before you retire to bed raises body temperature, speeds up the heart rate, stimulates the nervous system, and disrupts sleep.
Do not keep electronic devices in your bedroom
Blue light from electronic devices like mobiles and laptops interferes with sleep. It suppresses the production of a sleep hormone called melatonin. So, never take your electronic devices in your bedroom.
Do not overindulge
Avoid eating heavy meals or drinking alcohol close to bedtime. Heavy meals before sleep time make you feel too full. It can result in acid reflux and even indigestion that keeps you awake throughout the night.
Heavy meals make it hard for the body to settle for restorative sleep. And if the food is spicy, it can result in heartburn and disrupt sleep.
Consumption of alcohol reduces REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. This results in poor focus, daytime drowsiness, and disruption in the ZZZs you need. So, it is advisable not to have heavy meals and alcohol close to bedtime.
Try to relax before going to bed
Soothing music, a warm bath, or even gentle meditation before going to bed calms down your body and mind. You can even watch a helpful relaxation CD. A relaxed mind and body help to sleep well.
Do not tweak your bedtime routine
Stick to your routine sleep schedule, even on the weekends – same bedtime and same wake-up time. Routine bedtime maintains the timing of the body’s internal clock and helps you sleep in time and wake up in time.
Insomnia is a treatable medical condition. It can be beaten by adopting the right sleep habits and a healthy lifestyle. Changing your sleep behavior can go a long way in helping you get a good night’s sleep after a long hectic day.
If the above tips do not work and your insomnia problem persists, then it may be time to talk to your GP.