Top 10 Tips for Fighting Insomnia
Can't get to sleep or having difficulty getting to enough sleep? The good news is that there are some things you can do to fight insomnia and get the rest your body needs.
Here's a look at the top 10 things you can do to fight fatigue and overcome insomnia. But first you need a basic understanding of the importance of sleep.
The Importance of Sleep
Medical experts say that you're fooling yourself if you think you've trained your body to overcome the need for sleep. The Loughborough Sleep Research Center at the Loughborough University in the UK says that while some muscles are able to regenerate simply by resting, neurons in the brain start to malfunction visibly affecting a person's behavior.
This is because when you're just resting, but not sleeping, your brain remains in a semi-alert state also called "quiet readiness." The cerebral cortex is not able to adequately rest and regenerate itself, even though no cognitive functions are being used.
There are several sleep stages and the brain needs to reach each of these stages for the neurons in the cerebral cortex to regenerate. This regeneration is important for creating new synaptic connections and forming new memories.
The consequences of prolonged sleep deprivation are reduced memory and a diminished ability to learn. Behavior can be impacted. In severe cases, prolonged and significant sleep deprivation can lead to death as the immune system becomes weakened and the production of white blood cells decreases.
Tip 1: Darken Your Room
When you're ready to sleep, make sure your room is completely dark. Even dim lights can affect your body's sleep clock. This means even the little bit of light coming from a television or computer screen can impact your ability to sleep or the type of sleep you get.
Ways to make sure your room is completely dark is to use heavy curtains or black-out curtains. Shades will provide some light blocking, depending on the type you have. If the shades don't fully block the light, use curtains as well.
If you're in a sleep environment where you can't control the window coverings, try wearing an eye mask over your eyes to block out any light.
Tip 2: Dim the Lights
Dim lights an hour before bedtime to get your body prepared to go to sleep. If an hour isn't practical, dim lights for ten minutes before you crawl under the covers.
Tip 3: Turn Down the Temperature
A slightly cool room creates a better sleep environment. Keep the temperature around 65° F or 18° C. Make sure your room has adequate ventilation.
Tip 4: Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine
It doesn't need to be anything long or fancy. Your routine could be some light reading, a warm bath, easy stretches, listening to soft music or listening to audio books. It doesn't matter what it is, as long as it isn't physically or mentally strenuous.
Tip 5: Eat a Light Snack
You may be resistant to this one if you're trying to lose weight. But studies have proven that a combination of tryptophan-containing foods and carbohydrates calm the brain for a better night's sleep. Examples include:
· half a peanut butter sandwich,
· one small banana and a cup of chamomile tea
· One cup of low fat yogurt with a sprinkling of granola
Tip 6: Reserve Your Bed for Sleeping
Don't work or eat in bed. Keep it for sleep and sex. This way your body automatically gets the powerful cue to nod off when you get into bed.
Tip 7: Quit Smoking
Smokers experience nicotine withdrawal as the night progresses which can cause insomnia.
Tip 8: Make Sure Your Bed is Comfortable
Try a different mattress, pillow or even bedding if you find you wake up with an aching neck or sore back.
Tip 9: Reduce Noise
This is sometimes easier said than done, especially if you live in a city environment. Try earplugs or anything that produces white noise (fan, radio between stations) to mask the noise.
Tip 10: Manage Stress
Learn how to manage your thoughts, evaluate your worries and focus on productive thoughts.