People with insomnia tend to have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep throughout the night, or they wake up too early in the morning. There are ways to help. If you get into bed and cannot fall asleep after 20 minutes, get up and return to another space in the house to do a relaxing activity, such as reading or listening to. Up all night tossing and turning? Check out these tips on how to go to sleep faster, so that you can finally catch those Z's and feel refreshed in the morning.
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Use the bedroom only for sleeping and sex. Move bedroom clocks out of view. Tossing and turning only amps up the anxiety. Get up, leave the bedroom, and do something relaxing, such as reading, drinking a cup of herbal tea, or taking a bath.
The key is to recognize self-defeating thoughts and replace them with more realistic ones. Remember, learning how to stop worrying takes time and practice. You may find it helpful to jot down your own list, taking note of the negative thoughts that pop up and how you can dispute them.
You may be surprised at how often these negative thoughts run through your head. Be patient and ask for support if you need it. Many people with insomnia are able to fall asleep at bedtime, but then wake up in the middle of the night.
They then struggle to get back to sleep, often lying awake for hours. If this describes you, the following tips may help. Stay out of your head. Hard as it may be, try not to stress over your inability to fall back to sleep, because that stress only encourages your body to stay awake.
To stay out of your head, focus on the feelings in your body or practice breathing exercises. Make relaxation your goal, not sleep.
If you find it hard to fall back to sleep, try a relaxation technique such as visualization, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation, which can be done without even getting out of bed.
Promote relaxation by rubbing your ears or rolling your eyes. Rubbing the Shen Men acupressure point at the top of the ear can promote calmness and relaxation. Another simple way to promote sleep is to close your eyes and slowly roll them upwards a few times. Do a quiet, non-stimulating activity. Postpone worrying and brainstorming.
If you wake during the night feeling anxious about something, make a brief note of it on paper and postpone worrying about it until the next day when it will be easier to resolve. Breathing deeply and fully, involving not only the chest, but also the belly, lower back, and ribcage, can help relaxation. Close your eyes and take deep, slow breaths, making each breath even deeper than the last.
Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Starting with your feet, tense the muscles as tightly as you can. Hold for a count of 10, and then relax.
Continue to do this for every muscle group in your body, working your way up from your feet to the top of your head. Sit or lie quietly and focus on your natural breathing and how your body feels in the moment. Allow thoughts and emotions to come and go without judgment, always returning to focus on breath and your body. There are many dietary and herbal supplements marketed for their sleep-promoting effects. For more information, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. While scientific evidence is still being gathered for alternative sleep remedies, you might find that some of them work wonderfully for you.
The two supplements with the most evidence supporting their effectiveness for insomnia are melatonin and valerian. And if not used carefully, they actually make insomnia worse in the long run. Many prescription drugs can interfere with sleep, including antidepressants, stimulants for ADHD, corticosteroids, thyroid hormone, high blood pressure medications, and some contraceptives. Common over-the-counter culprits include cold and flu medications that contain alcohol, pain relievers that contain caffeine Midol, Excedrin , diuretics, and slimming pills.
While treating underlying physical and mental issues is a good first step, it may not be enough to cure your insomnia. You also need to look at your daily habits. Or maybe you drink excessive amounts of coffee during the day, making it harder to fall asleep later. Other daytime habits that can negatively impact your ability to sleep at night include having an irregular sleep schedule, napping, eating sugary foods or heavy meals too close to bedtime, and not getting enough exercise or exercising too late in the day.
Oftentimes, changing the habits that are reinforcing sleeplessness is enough to overcome the insomnia altogether. It may take a few days for your body to get used to the change, but once you do, you will sleep better. Some habits are so ingrained that you may overlook them as a possible contributor to your insomnia.
Maybe your Starbucks habit affects your sleep more than you realize. Two powerful weapons in the fight against insomnia are a quiet, comfortable sleep environment and a relaxing bedtime routine. Both can make a big difference in improving the quality of your sleep. Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and cool. Try using a sound machine or earplugs to mask outside noise, an open window or fan to keep the room cool, and blackout curtains or an eye mask to block out light.
Experiment with different levels of mattress firmness, foam toppers, and pillows that provide the support you need to sleep comfortably. Stick to a regular sleep schedule. Support your biological clock by going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, including weekends. This will help you get back in a regular sleep rhythm.
Turn off all screens at least an hour before bed. So instead of watching TV or spending time on your phone, tablet, or computer, choose another relaxing activity, such as reading a book or listening to soft music. Avoid stimulating activity and stressful situations before bedtime. This includes checking messages on social media, big discussions or arguments with your spouse or family, or catching up on work. Postpone these things until the morning.
Napping during the day can make it more difficult to sleep at night. If you feel like you have to take a nap, limit it to 30 minutes before 3 p. Drinking too many liquids. Waking up at night to go to the bathroom becomes a bigger problem as we age. Try to eat dinner earlier in the evening, and avoid heavy, rich foods within two hours of going to bed. Spicy or acidic foods can cause stomach trouble and heartburn which can wake you during the night.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that you stop drinking caffeinated beverages at least six hours before bedtime.
People who are sensitive to caffeine may need to stop even earlier. The more trouble you have with sleep, the more it starts to invade your thoughts. But agonizing and expecting sleep difficulties only makes insomnia worse. If sleep worries are getting in the way of your ability to unwind at night, the following strategies may help. The goal is to train your body to associate the bed with sleep and nothing else—especially not frustration and anxiety.
Use the bedroom only for sleeping and sex. Adjustable beds also allow you to change the angle of your upper body and legs. This can be particularly helpful for people who experience conditions like lower back pain or swelling, since these adjustments can reduce back tension and promote circulation to improve comfort.
Acid reflux keeps many people up as well, and elevating the upper body can make a significant difference. You know how sometimes, when you try to do something, your stubborn brain backfires and does the opposite? Turns out, the principle of paradoxical intention similar to reverse psychology, without the deception might be useful for sleep as well.
A Scottish study found that the clinical use of paradoxical intention resulted in reduced sleep effort and anxiety for insomniacs compared to doing nothing.
Likewise, a different study found that high intention to fall asleep actually resulted in worse sleep quality.
If a dark, quiet bedroom makes your mind run, you can also try listening to calming sounds or visualize relaxing activities in your mind to take the focus off sleep itself.
For many people who struggle with falling asleep, rumination or unwanted thoughts can play a big role. One way to break the rumination cycle or disperse unwanted thoughts before bed is to practice visualization or imagery, similar to daydreaming.
There are a few ways to do this:. It may sound hippy dippy, but if you focus on it effectively, daydreaming about relaxing scenes can really help ease your mind. Try out different methods and audio tracks to see what works best for you. Visualization can also be a helpful mid-day stress reliever to keep in mind.
Brainwave entrainment may sound like something out of science fiction movie, but preliminary evidence shows support for potential therapeutic effects. It is typically accomplished with specific frequencies and sound patterns, designed to sync up with certain brainwave patterns. Pop in some headphones, lay down and try a binaural beats track, or use an app like the Brainwave Sleep Cycle Trainer iOS or Binaural Beats Therapy Android to customize your experience and tune out.
This tip will take prior planning, but one study found that eating carbs four hours before bed helped people fall asleep quickly and sleep better. Other research has found that low-carb diets can affect sleep as well. The research looked at simple carbs, which are quickly and easily digested.
These include things like white rice, white bread and pasta, and potatoes as well as sugary foods.
The 11 Kinds of Insomnia
Why can't I sleep? We will discuss 6 of the most common reasons why you can't sleep and some possible solutions. Not sure what to do when you can't sleep? We have 19 options to try to help you conk out faster and easier for a good night's rest. Can't get to sleep? It's perfectly normal to struggle with insomnia from time to time , but restless nights shouldn't plague your life. Sleep is an.