The Insomniac’s Best Bet For Sleep!
Sleep is a fundamental aspect of our daily lives, and a key factor in our overall health. A good night’s sleep can be crucial to our successes in our fitness and health goals, our careers, our family, romantic and social lives, and so much more. And consequently, a night without a good sleep can derail everything.
As a habitual insomniac, I know firsthand how crucial good sleep can be, and throughout the years, I have learned the best tips to ensure a night of superior rest that will leave you refreshed and ready to take on the day:
Tips for better Sleep:
Use an eye pillow: The best way to ensure your body can register it is time to sleep is to create absolute darkness. Blackout curtains and unplugging anything that might glow is a start point, but it will not prevent the invasion of the early morning sun which may remind you another sleepless night has come to its conclusion. An eye pillow, however, keeps everything dark for the whole night! Not only does this make it easier to slip into sleep, it will help keep you there.
Toss the clock: To have glowing numbers glaring at you telling you just how much sleep you have missed out on is not about to help you sleep any better. In fact, the constant awareness of the time will further prevent falling asleep. If you absolutely must have the time, then it is better to wear a wristwatch with a light. It will not be staring you in the face, and you will not have to actively rise and look for it.
Give up the Caffeine: This is something that most people should be kicking, especially soda. But coffee can be just as agitating to the insomniac as anything else. Caffeine addiction not only keeps you from the sleep you need, but will inhibit the production of the alertness chemicals of the brain. This sluggish production then leads to lethargy, which requires more coffee. It is a vicious cycle, one that insomniacs in particular need to avoid, but if you are having even the slightest bit of trouble sleeping, consider passing on the latte. This is hugely important if you drink energy drinks; the amount of stimulating chemicals in an energy drink can do extremely detrimental things to your sleep patterns. Set your body right – skip excess caffeine and reap the benefits.
Set the Stage: The mind is a powerful tool. Therefore, if you have trouble sleeping, your bed needs to become a place of sleep. To read or watch TV in bed prevents you from entering sleep mentality when you get there, so to form the proper mental constructs, do these things elsewhere!
White Noise: Though sound machines with ocean or frog noises have become a cliché, white noise can be extremely helpful in aiding sleep. By existing in a space with a constant calming sound, you are less susceptible to the alertness arbitrary sound might cause. I know this is a huge problem for me as a light sleeper – anything can wake me up! Having any sort of constant white noise in the background makes that less likely.
Make Routine: Go to bed, and wake up at the same time every night despite how tired, or lack thereof you may be. Setting a schedule helps regulate your body and how it reacts at different points of the day, and will eventually lead to easier sleep. Regardless of what time I actually did (or did not) fall asleep, I get out of bed the same time every morning, as well as go to bed at the same time as often as possible. In doing this, my body is more likely to respond to the idea of sleep.
Exercise!!! A healthy body leads to a healthy mind, and a healthy sleep schedule! Rigorous, consistent exercise helps to promote the production of serotonin and adrenaline, chemicals that simultaneously help us feel more alert during the daytime, and promote a natural, restful sleep in the evening. Our bodies are designed to be used, and to be active, therefore by providing the exertion and engagement of our muscle groups that nature intended, our body will reward us with better sleep.
***Note: I have been an insomniac for 17 years – in that time I have tried everything to combat this condition. Herbal remedies, perscription and non perscription medication, physical and mental therapies, everything. Please do not insult my intelligence by assuming I haven’t heard of an obvious solution. Thank you!