Are you having trouble falling asleep even though you’re tired? Do you find yourself laying awake for hours, seeing the hours pass by on your clock? Many people are affected by insomnia, and on the long run it can contribute to some serious health problems. There are a few things that you can try out for yourself, so let’s have a closer look at what makes you feeling so tired, irritable, and unable to concentrate the next day.
What is insomnia?
Insomnia is essentially a sleep disorder where you have trouble falling asleep or you wake up multiple times in the middle of the night. Acute insomnia is when this occurs less than 1 month, and chronic insomniacs experience this for longer than 1 month, at least 3 times a week. Insomnia affects both the quality and the quality of the sleep, which makes it hard for people to reach the restorative levels of sleep. On a short term this lack of sleep can cause you to be sleepy during the day, and on a long term make you feel easily irritated, anxious and depressed.
A whole variety of conditions can be the underlying cause for insomnia, such as pulmonary disease and other psychiatric conditions. It can also be the cause of a high caffeine and alcohol intake, which disrupt the regular sleep cycle. Stress can also play a major factor in having insomnia, which can be a combination of your work, relationship an environment.
What can I do?
There are various things you can try out, and we’ve listed our top tips below:
Regulate your body’s clock
You’ve probably heard this before, but sticking to a routine will ultimately change your behaviour. It’s probably the easiest to start by cutting out sleeping in on weekends and going to bed late during the week. You can train your body to wake up at a consistent time.
Before your body is ready to sleep, you need to give it at least an hour to make it shift into sleep mode. It’s advised to do a calming activity before you go to bed, so avoid looking at your laptop or any electronics close to bedtime. This also means that you shouldn’t undertake any strenuous exercised right before bed, same goes for eating and drinking heavy meals.
Try to relax the body and mind before you’re ready to go to bed. You don’t want to be up thinking about your long to do list for example, so try to keep your work and deadlines out of the bedroom. Many people lay awake thinking about all the things they need, so it’s wise to set time aside before you go to bed so you can make plans for the next day. You can also try out guided meditations on YouTube for example, which can help control stress and decrease anxiety. If meditation is not your cup of tea, doing a vinyasa yoga sequence a few hours before bedtime can also help relax your body.
Set the scene
It’s important to eliminate all the aspects that could potentially wake you up during the night. It’s therefore advised to invest in thick curtains, an eye mask and earplugs to block the light and noises from outside. Make sure your sleeping environment is comfortable by controlling the temperature of your bedroom — it should be balanced between 15 and 20 °C for optimal sleep.