Help I'm an Insomniac

According to a 2016 survey by the Sleep Health Foundation in Australia, approximately 20% of adults have insomnia. That’s one in five people!

And because sleep is so important for proper functioning and long-term health, we need to spread awareness and find ways to battle insomnia. But first:

What is Insomnia?

This is a sleeping disorder and people suffering from it have a very difficult time falling asleep and sleeping through the night. This results in symptoms such as:

  • Lack of energy;
  • No motivation to do anything;
  • Irritability;
  • Depressive feelings;
  • Cravings for junk food and weight gain;

Insomnia is often a symptom of another problem. For some people, setting a curfew for their caffeine drinks fixes the issue. Others may have an underlying medical condition that is causing their insomnia. Whatever the case might be, there are some practical tips you can follow to battle insomnia and finally get a good night’s rest.

1.Set a bedtime ritual

Setting a bedtime ritual allows your body to get relaxed and make falling asleep easier. There are numerous ways to relax:

  • Limit the use of screens within one hour of going to bed. This includes the TV, your phone, tablet, and computer.
  • Dim the lights and read a book or write in a diary.
  • Clear your mind of the day’s worries through meditation.

These activities allow you to declutter your mind, become more relaxed and ramp up your body’s melatonin production. You can also take a relaxing bath or shower close to bedtime.

2.Keep a consistent sleep-wake schedule

Our sleeping and waking times are often sporadic. Catch an interesting movie on TV? There are two hours you could have spent sleeping. 

Feeling particularly tired when your alarm set off? You probably hit the snooze button one too many times. 

Friend’s birthday party’s on a Tuesday night? You can be sure that you won’t hit the sheets before the AMs.

However, keeping a consistent sleep-wake schedule allows you to fall asleep with ease and wake up without having to hit the snooze button eleven times. Make it a habit of going to bed at the same time each evening, even on the weekends. Also, turn off your alarm’s snooze option and get up as soon as it rings. It’s tough, but you’ll get used to it.

3.Set a caffeine curfew and limit alcohol

Caffeine has a half-life of roughly 6 hours. Meaning, if you ingest 400 mg at 5 pm, you’ll still have 200 mg in your system at 11 pm. This can make falling asleep almost impossible. Because of that, you should limit caffeine intake within 8 hours of your bedtime.

Also, avoiding drinking hard alcohol near your bedtime. Although it may seem to help you fall asleep, you get less REM sleep if you have alcohol in your system.

4.Create a sleep sanctuary

Setting an optimal sleeping environment is crucial. People often struggle to get a good night’s sleep and wonder why it happens yet their sleeping environment is worse than a Vietnamese prison camp.

  • Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillow.
  • Set the thermostat at 18-21 ° (65-70 ° F).
  • Make sure that your bedroom is completely dark. Get yourself some blackout curtains if you need.
  • Make sure that your bedroom is quiet. If your neighbors are particularly noisy, consider buying yourself some sound damping earbuds.

5.Use your bed for sleep and sex alone

Avoid using your bed for anything other than sleep and sex. Many people surf the web on their devices, watch TV, eat, and do pretty much everything except sleep.

These activities, in and of themselves, are making it more difficult for you to fall asleep, but they are also teaching your subconscious to associate your bed with other activities besides sleep. 

When you use your bed strictly for sleep, you teach your body to get relaxed when you hit the sheets. 

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