8 ways to prevent insomnia
Almost everyone will have difficulty sleeping at some point in their lives – not that this fact makes it the experience any easier to bear. When you’re lying awake, willing yourself to sleep (but failing), seeing your clock hit 2am, 3am, 4am… it can feel as if you’re the only awake person in the world and you might never sleep again. However, there are some simple steps you can take to make sure this doesn’t happen.
Insomnia can be caused by stress, depression or even your diet, so it’s always worth making a few lifestyle changes to see if they have an impact. Start with the following and see what kind of difference they make.
1. Get into a routine
When you’ve been waking at 6.30am five days a week, or at least the days you’ve managed to sleep at all, it can be tempting to lie in at the weekend, letting yourself sleep ‘til the latest time possible. However, a consistent routine is really important for letting your body know when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to wake. Try to go to bed and get up at the same times every day.
2. Avoid stimulants
Drinking alcohol or caffeine too close to bedtime is never a great idea. The stimulating effects of caffeine can last for hours, and while alcohol might make you feel drowsy at first, a restless night’s sleep will often follow. Avoid caffeine from noon onwards, and limit your alcohol consumption to just one or two drinks with dinner.
3. Power through
Think of what happens when you’re trying to get a toddler to sleep through the night. The main concern is limiting daytime naps, and the same can be said for you. If you’re tired during the day, resist the (admittedly great) temptation to catch half an hour’s sleep. The longer you can resist sleep during the day, the more likely you are to sleep during the night.
4. Keep screens out of the bedroom
Phones, tablets, laptops, TVs… We’re letting screens take over what should be the most sacred spaces in our homes – our bedrooms. If you want to get a good night’s sleep, restrict screen time to other rooms in your house. Screens emit light and engage the brain, which are two of the things you least want to happen when you’re trying to rest.
5. Make sure you’re comfortable
Every part of your room can either contribute to or detract from your quality of sleep. Make sure your bed is comfortable, noises are limited (as much as possible) and your room is dark. If you have pets in the room with you overnight but they disturb your sleep, consider having them sleep elsewhere in the house.
6. Worry before bedtime
A commonly cited reason for not being able to sleep is having too much to think about. If this is the case and you find that your thoughts keep you awake, try to get your worrying done before you go to bed. Take some time out either to speak with your partner or a friend about what’s on your mind or to write it all down. The simple act of articulating your worries can make them seem instantly easier to deal with.
7. Exercise a little before bed
Strenuous evening workouts can keep you awake, but conversely, gentle exercise can help you to wind down and prepare for sleep. Yoga in particular can be great for readying your body for its vital resting period. Search on YouTube for some evening yoga sequences – there are plenty of great ones to choose from. Or check out this relaxing routine right here on Expertrain.
8. Take a hot bath
There’s something undeniably relaxing about kicking back among the bubbles. But the main reason warm baths are recommended before bedtime is that they promote a drop in your body temperature when you get out of them. It’s generally easier to sleep when your bedroom is between 18 and 23 degrees Celsius as your body produces more melatonin when it’s cooler. Getting out of a bath that’s hotter than your bedroom will make your body temperature drop quickly and prompt you to feel sleepy.
Have you tried any of these insomnia-beating tips? Have they worked for you, or do you have any of your own? Let us know in the comments below!