If you’re one of the millions of people who have insomnia, you know how difficult it can be to get a good night’s sleep. If you aren’t all too familiar with insomnia, it’s a sleep disorder that can make it very hard to fall asleep and/or stay asleep. Insomnia can be short-term (acute) or can last for a long time (chronic). Insomnia can cause fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating, leading to problems at work or school. The good news is that no matter what type of insomnia you have, there are steps you can take to get better sleep, improve your sleep hygiene and get the rest you need.
Sleep deprivation can have some severe consequences. It can lead to accidents, poor decision-making, and even depression. For example, drowsy driving is one of the most common causes of car accidents, and insomnia has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. If you’re struggling to get enough rest, talk to your doctor about the best treatment options for you.
Here are 15 tips for better sleep when you have insomnia:
1. Keep a regular sleep schedule
Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day will help regulate your body’s natural sleep rhythm.
2. Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed
Caffeine can stay in your system for up to eight hours, so it’s best to avoid it after lunchtime. Alcohol may make you feel drowsy at first, but it can disrupt your sleep later in the night. In addition, avoid all types of tobacco products. Smoking can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. If you smoke, try to quit or cut back as much as possible.
3. Make sure your bed is comfortable
A comfortable mattress can make a big difference in how well you sleep. However, if your mattress is more than seven years old, it may be time to replace it. Instead, consider buying a memory foam mattress for the best night’s sleep. In addition, make sure you also purchase comfortable, supportive pillows that will help you sleep well. Finally, ensure that the pillows you’re buying help you sleep better in your preferred sleeping position. For example, invest in the best pillows for side sleepers to get the most support for your neck and shoulders.
4. Don’t watch the clock
Staring at the clock will only make you more anxious about not being able to fall asleep. So instead, turn your clock around so you can’t see it and relax, knowing that you’ll wake up when it’s time.
5. Get enough exercise during the day.
Exercise can help you fall asleep, but it’s best to avoid working out right before bedtime.
6. Create a restful sleeping environment
Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark, quiet, and calm. Creating an environment conducive to sleep will help your body relax and make it easier to fall asleep.
7. Limit screen time before bed
The blue light emitted by screens can suppress melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep. Avoid watching TV, working on the computer, or using your phone for at least an hour before bedtime.
8. Wind down before bed
Spend the last hour before bed doing something calming, such as reading or taking a bath. This will help your body and mind transition from active to ready for sleep. Taking some time to wind down before you try to sleep can help you feel more relaxed and prepared for sleep. Try deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, or visualization.
9. Avoid eating large meals before bedtime
Eating a big meal can make it difficult to fall asleep and lead to indigestion or heartburn. If you’re hungry before bed, try eating a light snack like a piece of fruit or some yogurt. Don’t go to bed hungry or full. Having a light snack before bed can help you sleep, but you may have trouble falling asleep if you overeat.
10. Don’t go to bed until you’re actually sleepy
If you’re not tired, lie down in another room and do something relaxing until you feel drowsy. Only go to bed when you’re ready to sleep.
11. Get up if you can’t sleep
If you’ve been lying in bed for more than 20 minutes and can’t fall asleep, get up and do something else until you feel tired. For example, reading or doing a puzzle can help you relax and make you sleepy.
12. Avoid napping during the day
Taking a nap may make it harder to fall asleep at night. If you need a nap, try to keep it short and early in the day.
13. Take sleep medications
Talk to your doctor about sleep medications if necessary. If lifestyle changes aren’t enough to improve your sleep, your doctor may prescribe medication to help you get the rest you need.
14. Write away your worries
If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t stop thinking about your to-do list, try writing it down. This will help your mind relax and allow you to fall asleep more easily.
15. Talk to your doctor if your insomnia persists
If these tips don’t help and you’re still struggling with insomnia, talk to your doctor about other treatment options. There are many effective treatments for insomnia, so don’t hesitate to reach out for help.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I sleep better with insomnia?
There are a few things you can do to help sleep better with insomnia. First, make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and relaxed. Avoid watching television, working on the computer in bed, and turning off all electronic devices an hour before bedtime. Try relaxing activities like reading or journaling before sleep. If you still have trouble sleeping, speak with your doctor about other options such as medication or therapy.
How much sleep do insomnia patients need?
Most people with insomnia need between 7 and 8 hours of sleep per night. However, everyone is different, and you may need more or less sleep depending on your physiology. If you are not getting the sleep you need, consult with your doctor to find out how to improve your sleep patterns.
Can you force yourself to sleep if you have insomnia?
Obstructive sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and other conditions can cause insomnia. However, insomnia is most often caused by a medical or psychological condition, says the National Sleep Foundation. Medical conditions that may lead to trouble sleeping include asthma and chronic pain, while depression, stress, or anxiety can also result in sudden bouts of sleeplessness.
What does insomnia do to your body?
Insomnia can cause physical and emotional problems. Physical problems can include a weakened immune system, weight gain, high blood pressure, and a greater risk for heart disease. Emotional problems can include depression, anxiety, and irritability.
How do you get insomnia?
There are many ways to get insomnia. Some people have trouble sleeping because of stress or anxiety, while others have difficulty sleeping because of noise or light pollution. Poor sleep habits can also lead to insomnia, as can drinking caffeine or alcohol before bedtime. Many prescription and over-the-counter medications can also cause insomnia as a side effect.
How can I fight insomnia naturally?
Research indicates that people who have had insomnia their entire life may need to use medication combined with other treatments. Otherwise, there are several steps you can take to improve your sleep habits and develop healthier sleep patterns.
Does melatonin help with insomnia?
Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate sleep cycles. Taking melatonin supplements before bed can be helpful for some people who have trouble sleeping, but it’s not always effective. Consult your doctor to determine the best way to address insomnia or sleep issues.
Is 5 hours of sleep enough?
Most people need between 7 and 8 hours of sleep each night. Some people need as little as 5 hours, while others need 9 or more. The National Sleep Foundation’s “2013 Bedroom Poll” found that about 45 percent of American adults ages 18 to 64 reported sleeping less than 7 hours on weekdays. Adults over the age of 65 were more likely to report getting 7 or more hours of sleep each night.
What causes female insomnia?
There are many potential causes of female insomnia, including stress, anxiety, depression, menopause, hot flashes, and night sweats. Hormonal changes can also affect how well you sleep. In addition, certain medications can cause insomnia as a side effect, and caffeine and alcohol can also disrupt sleep. Finally, poor sleep habits and a poor sleeping environment can contribute to insomnia. If you’re having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor to find out what might be causing it.
If you’re struggling with insomnia, there are many things you can do to improve your sleep. Following a regular sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed, getting enough exercise during the day, and creating a restful sleeping environment can all help. You should also avoid screens before bed, wind down before bedtime, and go to bed when you’re actually sleepy. If you still can’t sleep, get up and do something else until you feel tired.
These tips can help you get a better night’s sleep and improve your overall health. If you have persistent insomnia, talk to your doctor about other treatment options. There are many effective treatments available that can help you get the rest you need. With some effort and patience, you can overcome insomnia and get the best night’s sleep of your life.