If you have insomnia, healthy sleep habits help. These guidelines are recommended for everyone, but they are especially important for people who can’t fall asleep or stay asleep on a regular basis otherwise known as, insomnia.
- Create a sleep schedule. Stick to the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends. This helps to regulate your body’s circadian rhythm (otherwise known as your body’s internal clock). This can be hard if you’re tired and want to sleep in on the weekends, but for many people it helps to set an alarm and wake up at the same time every day. Eventually, you might even be able to wake up without your alarm!
- Avoid naps, especially in the afternoon. A power nap may help you get through the day, but if you find that you can’t fall asleep at bedtime, eliminating even short powernaps may help. If you must nap, no longer than 20 minutes or you may disrupt your sleep cycle making it difficult to fall asleep in the evening.
- Exercise, but not close to bedtime. Exercising can help regulate your body and make you sleep better, but working out too close to bedtime can energize you and make it harder to settle into sleep.
- Fix your bedroom. Make sure you have a clean, comfortable, quiet, and dark sleep space. Use a sound machine or a fan to block noise from inside or outside the house, and install darkening blinds for streetlights and morning light. Only use your bed for sleeping. This will help program your brain to associate your bed with feelings of sleepiness.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes, and heavy meals in the evening. Alcohol and cigarettes can disrupt sleep, and eating big or spicy meals can cause discomfort that can make it hard to sleep. Also, caffeine stays in your system for longer than you might think!
- Wind down. Your body needs time to shift into sleep mode, so spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity such as reading or meditating. For some people, using an electronic device such as a laptop can make it hard to fall asleep, because the particular type of blue light emitted from the screens of these devices is causes alertness. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid electronics before bed. There is a night-time setting on some phones which switches the phone from blue to red light which is easier on the eyes and does not disrupt brain signals.
Following these tips is a good first step. If you have questions or if you adjust your sleep habits and still have insomnia, talk to a professional. In many cases, another form of treatment is necessary for someone with insomnia to get a full night sleep.
Sometimes people with insomnia might be experiencing a combination of other issues. Anxiety, depression, and stress are common causes of insomnia. If you think you might be struggling with any of these issues it is recommended you speak with a psychologist or therapist. Epic Wellness Clinic in Miami Beach, FL has licensed psychologists and therapists who are trained in these areas and happy to help.