5 Tips for Insomnia | What is Insomnia?
Have you ever had a hard time falling or staying asleep? We all have difficulty sleeping sometimes, but if it happens more often than not, you might have insomnia.
What is Insomnia? Insomnia Definition
Insomnia is when one has difficulty falling asleep (onset), difficulty staying asleep (maintenance), and/or wakes up too early.Insomnia can be caused by a number of different factors including unhealthy sleep habits, biological factors, certain substances, and psychiatric and medical conditions. Insomnia may also be caused by an imbalance in your brain sleep/wake cycle.
It’s common for people with insomnia to feel dissatisfied with their quality of sleep and may experience a number of other symptoms. Insomnia itself may be an expression of an underlying medical condition, however, there are many symptoms associated with insomnia:
- Difficulty falling asleep at night.
- Waking during the night.
- Waking earlier than desired.
- Fatigue or low energy
- Still feeling tired after a night's sleep.
- Daytime fatigue or sleepiness.
- Mood disturbances, irritability, depression, or anxiety.
- Poor concentration and focus at work or school.
- Difficulty socializing.
- Tension headaches.
- Gastrointestinal issues.
- Worrying about sleeping.
5 Tips for Overcoming Insomnia
1. Get into a sleep schedule.
In other words, go to bed at the same time every day. It can tempting to sleep late on weekends when you don’t have work in the morning, but if you suffer from insomnia you should commit to getting up at the same time every day. This will train your body to wake at a consistent time.
2. Cut out alcohol and caffeine.
The chances of caffeine affecting your sleep are significant considering caffeine can stay in your body for up to 24 hours. Even if you’re able to fall asleep, caffeine may also cause frequent awakenings, making it harder to sleep through the night. Alcohol can also lead to a restless night, despite it performing like a sedative earlier on. Other medications may also have an effect on your sleep. If you are taking any medication that acts as a stimulant, such as decongestants or asthma inhalers, consult your doctor about the best time to take them to help diminish any affect on sleep.
3. Limit naps.
Napping may be an attractive way to catch up on missed sleep. However, napping can easily disrupt your natural sleep cycle which may worsen your insomnia. Training yourself to associate sleep with things like darkness and a consistent bedtime are essential for establishing and maintaining a regular sleep pattern.
4. Exercise regularly.
It’s been proven that regular exercise can positively impact sleep quality and duration. That said, exercising right before bedtime can have a stimulant effect on the body, impacting your ability to have a restful sleep. Instead, try to finish your workout at least three hours before bedtime.
5. Limit activities in bed.
If you suffer from insomnia, watching TV, eating, making phone calls, doing work, studying, etc. should not be done while in bed or even in the bedroom. These activities all increase alertness, making it harder to fall asleep.
6. BONUS Tip: Try a weighted blanket.
Blankets bring an element of calming comfort to a lot of people — even if they don’t realize it. Weighted blankets combine the cozy comforts of regular blankets with a science-based therapy tool initially developed by an autism researcher. Like a hug, the pressure from a weighted blanket stimulates the release of oxytocin and serotonin, also known as the “love chemical” and the “happy chemical”. This phenomenon is known as Deep Pressure Therapy (DPT), which is firm but gentle contact that relaxes the nervous system. Click here to check out a weighted blanket on Amazon
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