Beat Insomnia Once and for All With These 5 Practices
Insomnia is a tough sleep disorder that leaves you feeling unrested, stressed out, and hopeless. Struggling to sleep or stay asleep night after night is frustrating. Try these five proven practices to finally beat insomnia, but make sure to see your doctor if you continue to struggle with sleep.
What Is Insomnia?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that has many potential causes. It also takes several different forms:
- Difficulty falling asleep at night
- Falling asleep but waking up often
- Waking up too early and being unable to fall asleep again
- A combination of all types
Insomnia may be acute, or short-term (lasting for a period of a few weeks at most). Insomnia may also become chronic and last for months. Causes include stress, a difficult work schedule, poor sleep habits, mental illnesses, medications, or medical conditions.
5 Tips to Beat Insomnia for Good
Treatment of any underlying cause of insomnia, like a medical condition or a mental illness, is essential. No matter what the cause, anyone who struggles with sleep can benefit from a few basic guidelines:
Create a comfortable sleep environment.
Set a tone for a good night’s sleep by creating an environment conducive to relaxation. This means making up a comfy bed, setting the thermostat to a cooler temperature, and blocking out as much light as possible. Keep the room clean and avoid using it for other activities. The bedroom should be all about sleep.
Avoid heavy foods and alcohol before bed.
Heavy, rich foods before bedtime stimulate your digestion and cause heartburn or acid reflux. Feeling uncomfortable in bed does not help you sleep. Alcohol is also disruptive to sleep. While a night cap may feel relaxing and help you fall asleep faster, alcohol interferes with deep sleep and causes you to wake up more often in the night.
Ditch the screen.
Studies have shown that spending more time staring at a screen contributes to insomnia. Limit time spent scrolling through social media on your phone throughout the day. Most importantly, avoid any screen time in the hour or two before bed. Try reading a book instead.
Relax before getting into bed.
Anything you can do to calm the mind and body before bed will help you sleep better. Yoga, for instance, improves sleep quality when practiced regularly. Try a gentle type of yoga before bed, one that focuses on slow movements and breathing. Any other type of gentle, easy exercise, deep breathing, or stretching will also help relax you before sleep.
Try a guided sleep meditation.
Finally, when it’s time to get in bed, turn on a guided sleep meditation on BetterSleep. With all the prep work and a soothing meditation, you’ll be able to drift off to sleep. You should also find that you wake up less often, but if you do wake up, try another guided meditation to help you fall back asleep.
Other Healthy Sleep Habits
The 5 practices listed above are some of the most important things you can do to sleep better, but other healthy habits, practiced regularly, will further reduce insomnia:
- Exercise daily, even if it’s just a walk.
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on the weekends.
- Avoid any stimulating activity before bed, including screen time, work, or vigorous exercise.
- Meditate regularly.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Use soothing essential oils to relax.
Insomnia does not have to burden you forever. These healthy lifestyle habits and good sleep hygiene practices should help you conquer poor sleep. If you still struggle, though, see your doctor. There could be an underlying health condition that needs treatment.
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