If you’ve been sleep deprived recently, you know just how bad that feels. One night of sleep deprivation is survivable. But once it starts to pile up, you start wondering if you’ll survive.
Sleep insomnia is a serious problem, but you can combat it. Try these cheap and easy ideas!
- Avoid Stimulants
A cup of coffee in the morning is part of most people’s routine. That’s fine. But a cup of coffee at 3 p.m. can have a serious impact on when you get to bed. Try sticking with non-caffeinated beverages and you’ll see your bedtime start coming earlier.
- Get Your Sweat On
Part of being able to sleep is making sure you’re tired enough to go to sleep. Most people have a desk job, so they spend a lot of time using their brain and a lot less time using their bodies. The result is a need to get in regular exercise.
Consider toddlers and kids: They race around and then crash hard at night. The running and racing tires them out, and that same method works on adults. An hour of working out in the morning should be enough to prime your body for sleep.
- Put the Tech Down
You’re tired when you crawl into bed, but then you switch on your phone and start browsing through a few last minute notifications. All of a sudden, two hours have gone by and you’re not tired at all!
Smartphones, laptops and LED lights all emit blue light waves that mimic sunlight. Our bodies see sunlight as a signal to stay awake, so the time you spend with your phone is suppressing the body’s production of sleep-aiding melatonin. Put it away and try your best to avoid it for the hour leading up to bedtime.
- Calm Your Racing Thoughts
Stress, deadlines and using your brain all day can make it hard to turn off at night. Mediation can be a wonderful way to calm your mind and take a break. Stress puts your body into fight or flight mode, sending out adrenaline and making sleep pretty much impossible. Meditation stops those signals, taking you out of a heightened state of anxiety and allowing you to relax.
- Say No to the Extra Beer
Alcohol might make it feel easier to get to sleep, but it has a significant impact on the quality of the sleep you do manage to get. A drink won’t do much damage, but the more you drink, the worse you sleep. You’ll rest in the lighter stages, but the alcohol will prevent you from getting into the deeper, more important stages of sleep. The result is that you’ll wake up from a full night of sleep feeling just as tired as the night before.
- Minimize Pain
Any time you’re hurting, sleep will be hard to find. Back pain is an extremely common cause of insomnia: About 80 percent of adults experience lower back pain at some point in their lives. It can happen for a variety of reasons — everything from simple muscle strain to bone spurs to a slipped disc. If you suffer from back pain, the right kind of mattress material can help dramatically. Just make sure to talk to your doctor in order to rule out anything serious.
- Try Aromatherapy
Certain smells are associated with sleep and calming down. Essential oils are a great way to make this work for you. The smells help you to relax, and if you use them regularly, you’ll come to associate them with bedtime. It’ll become a physical signal to your body for sleep, which can easily turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy, as it allows your mind to calm down.
- Prioritize Sexy Time
Sex is a good way to get to bed — there’s a reason people do it at night, after all. Sex provides you with a physical workout, but it also floods your body with hormones — namely oxytocin. Not only does oxytocin make you want to cuddle, it helps put you to sleep. It’s free hormone sleep therapy!
- Try Some Yoga
Gentle, relaxing yoga can be another good way to get ready for bed. It helps take you out of your mind and gets you into your body, which is one of the most difficult things to do when you’re stressed and trying to sleep.
- Set a Routine
Last, but not least, set up a bedtime routine and stick to it! Parents of small children know how important a routine is, and simply because we are no longer children doesn’t mean we don’t need a bedtime routine. Give yourself at least an hour to wind down, brush your teeth, shower, wash your face, read and do whatever else you like to do before bed.
Follow these ten tips — or some combination of them — and you’ll set yourself up for sleep success.