Insomnia symptoms? Improve Your Life by Treating Insomnia with Sleep Hygiene
Familiar with the feeling of getting into bed after a long day and finding that sleep slips through your fingers? This can be very frustrating. If this is familiar to you, you have probably had insomnia.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which you have trouble falling and/or staying asleep.
The condition can be short-term (acute) or can last a long time (chronic). It may also come and go.
Acute insomnia lasts from one night to a few weeks. Insomnia is chronic when it happens at least three nights a week for three months or more.
Insomnia is a known phenomenon that prevents you from falling asleep or sleeping continuously. Almost anyone can attest to having experienced insomnia at least once. This is an unpleasant feeling that accompanies us the next day with various side effects:
- Difficulty concentrating and irritability
- Feeling exhausted and tired
- Low motivation and poor mood
- General, not a good feeling
- Increased propensity for mistakes
- Headaches, higher-than-usual mental stress, and abdominal pain
If these signs are familiar to you, you probably woke up to a new day after a night of insomnia.
Fortunately, this situation is under our control.
How do we improve our ability to get sleep? One of the most effective answers to that is called – Sleep Hygiene.
Sleep Hygiene means going through a routine that trains your body to know when to sleep. Like a muscle that strengthens with practice, sleeping well is a skill we can develop.
We cannot force ourselves to sleep, but we can train our brains to know when to sleep.
Paying attention to several things around us and changing our mental state can leave insomnia behind us and allow us to go to bed with complete confidence that we will sleep soundly.
People living with Insomnia may experience some symptoms:
- Interrupted sleep
- Waking up early
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Fatigue even after several hours of sleep
What causes insomnia?
Insomnia can occur for several reasons divided into two categories:
Significant insomnia – Insomnia that is not related to health/medical conditions.
- Stress caused by significant life events, such as job loss, divorce, or the death of a loved one
- Variables in the bedroom, such as temperature, noise, or light
- Change in sleeping habits and fatigue (jet lag)
Secondary insomnia – Insomnia caused by a health condition
- Depression or anxiety
- Pain or discomfort at night
- Use of caffeine, tobacco, or alcohol before bed
- Various diseases such as allergies, asthma, or colds
Vital sleep hygiene means having both a bedroom environment and daily routines that promote consistent, uninterrupted sleep. Keeping a stable sleep schedule, making your bedroom comfortable and free of disruptions, following a relaxing pre-bed routine, and building healthy habits during the day can all contribute to your ability to achieve better sleep.
Just as the body needs time to wake up, it needs to be taught how to dive into sleep with the help of several steps.
“Highly recommend this book. I liked it so much I have placed several copies in the out patient sleep lab that I own. This book is a great teaching tool for our patients who suffer from Insomnia. Thanks Dr Peters for writing this gem.”
Follow these tips to create a good sleep routine:
- Try to sleep at a fixed time and get up at a specified time (if necessary, help with an alarm clock) – create a routine for the body that it can understand and signal when you deviate from it. If you go to bed at a fixed time and get up simultaneously for a period, the body will get used to falling asleep easily and waking up naturally.
Try to figure out what time you want to fall asleep each day, characterize when you fall asleep at about a normal night, and then get into bed at that time.
- Be sure to engage in soothing activities before you go to bed – read a book, listen to soothing music, or take a bath. Put your head and body in a clear and relaxed atmosphere to get into bed. If you tend to think and worry before you fall asleep, make a to-do list for tomorrow before you go to bed.
- Make the bed a sterile area – Do not use it for anything other than sleeping or having sex. The bed should be associated exclusively with sleep.
- Limit your nap during the day to less than 30 minutes
- Cut out screen time before bed. Research shows that blue-toned lights tend to trigger alertness. If you must use your device before sleep, check if it has a night shift setting. This will shift your screen colors toward the yellow-red range and have a less destructive effect on sleep.
Things to avoid that interfere with our sleep routine:
- Heavy meals: Be sure to eat a light dinner 4-3 hours before bed. Do not load heavy meals on the body to avoid burdening the stomach and body.
- Light and noises: Lights off and the environment without stimuli (TV on in another room) will help you fall asleep faster. Try to reduce possible noises or unwanted light. If the noises are coming from outside, you can use an eye cover and earplugs.
- Coffee, nicotine, and alcohol: The bad and harmful trinity for sleep. They may give a sense of calm but do not help to fall asleep. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and can prevent sleep, while alcohol can wake you up in the middle of the night and impair sleep quality.
- Evening workout: Working out before bed will release a lot of adrenaline into the body and make it difficult for it to enter “sleep mode,” so it is essential to make sure to train at earlier hours. If you are trying to create a new sleeping routine for yourself and have become accustomed to exercising in the evening, you may need to give up training until you can sleep regularly. The advantage is that once you succeed in creating a sleep routine, it is easier to exercise in the morning and start the day on the right foot.
What do we do when we are in bed and unable to fall asleep?
Sometimes we find ourselves lying in bed and coming to terms with the fact that we will not fall asleep shortly. What shall we do? The best solution is to get out of bed, maintain a relaxed atmosphere and do something that will distract us (a 15-minute meditation, does wonder). You can read a book in the living room or write or do any boring activity to you. Avoiding screens and stimuli is necessary to fall asleep again.