Unable to sleep? Don’t panic!
The more you try to go to sleep, the harder it becomes. Instead just enjoy the rest, the comfortable bed, and the fact you do not have to do anything for a few hours.
Just as there are many different reasons why people are not able to sleep, so there are also many different solutions. Keep reading to find out more.
Your bedroom is for sleeping, so let be restful, a space of quietness and calm. Eliminate distractions, loud colors and noise.
It should also be dark and cool. Our bodies have adapted through the ages to bright daylight and dark, cool nights.
The bed should be comfortable. The pillows neither too hard, too soft or absent, and the mattress not too old.
Before you go to bed
Relax, calm down and unwind.
Habits are reassuring and comforting. We all need a quiet time before going to bed. Children do not need hyperactive games just before bed or scary films, and neither do we. We need to feel safe before we allow ourselves to sleep.
Baroque music is especially relaxing as the beat is often around 60 per minute, the same as the heartbeat of your mother, the first sound you heard.
A restful routine, maybe a cup of camomile tea. The process of warming the pot, making the tea, drinking from your favorite cup is relaxing. Or maybe you prefer a cup of warm milk or cocoa – milk has proven sleep inducing effects.
Avoid ordinary tea, coffee, and coke which all contain caffeine – and this will keep you awake. Save them for the morning, to help you wake up.
Certain foods have sleep inducing properties. For example, turkey contains tryptophan, which relaxes the brain. Lettuce too has soporific effects. But avoid cheese and tomatoes which make sleeping difficult.
Alcohol can help you drop off, but the sleep is often broken, and frequently you wake up far too early. It also acts as a diuretic and makes people need to urinate more frequently.
Our natural body clocks have a roughly 24-hour cycle. When we disrupt this, our body clocks take time to readjust. This readjustment happens when we use “daylight” bulbs. We produce a hormone, Melatonin, which helps us to sleep, but Melatonin works best when it is dark.
The blue light of electronic screens keeps us awake – it’s best not to use these within an hour before bedtime.
For those who like to use a computer in the evening, try a free program called F.lux. It automatically adjusts the color and brightness on your screen, making it look slightly pink in the evening, and reverting to normal colors by day.
Shift workers often feel tired as it’s not easy to sleep at the “wrong” time. Goggles to cut down the light have been tried with limited success.
Jet lag may affect people who fly across the time zones. It happens because your internal body clock is still set to the time zone from which you started. It takes time to readjust. Drink plenty of water as dehydration makes jet lag worse (and alcohol is dehydrating). If you are a frequent flyer who suffers from jet lag – consult your doctor. It has been proven that treatment with melatonin can be effective.
Hunger is another cause of lack of sleep. Although you may not feel hungry, having less food during the day may cause you to wake up at night as your body is not used to it. If you are dieting or your eating habits have changed, your sleep can be affected.
If you have a medical condition, it is worth consulting your doctor to check whether the condition itself or any of the medications are affecting your sleep. Very often it’s the worry about the illness that keeps you awake, and you need to discuss these fears with your doctor.
Some over the counter remedies may help but others like the popular St John’s Wort, can have very serious side effects and it reacts with many other medications.
Some conditions which often affect sleep include depression, sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome (RLS). You should see your doctor if you are depressed, or if you are a loud snorer, as this may indicate you have sleep apnea which can lead to other health problems.
There are some simple things you can do to alleviate the symptoms of RLS.
They include mild exercise, hot showers and medication from your doctor to be taken BEFORE the usual time of onset of symptoms.
Doctors are cautious about prescribing sleeping pills as the commonly used benzodiazepines were addictive. But antihistamines have been proved relaxing as a temporary solution.
Waking at night
Waking at night is not unusual. If you can’t get back to sleep just get up for an hour or so and do something you enjoy and might not usually have time to do.
There are many things you can do to help you sleep, from avoiding light at night to drinking camomile tea. A healthy day time routine including fresh air and exercise help but the most important mindset is to relax.
Chief editor here at Snore Nation and a proud father of two cool boys. I am a reformed snorer, a reformed smoker, a reformed overeater, a reformed city dweller and a reformed workaholic stress monster on the mission to share my insider tips to restore that quality sleep for you and your partner!