At some point in our lives, we encounter insomnia either as a result of anxiety, medication, illness, and other factors.
But depending on the cause of insomnia, it can be managed and treated, some cases can be cured by a specialist and some cases may not be cured.
The inability of the body not to respond to sleep is referred to as insomnia. It can lead to so many health challenges if not fight off early.
There are some symptoms associated with insomnia which might include the following;
- Inability to fall asleep after waking up early
- Not able to fall asleep
- Low concentration
- Having a feeling of tiredness and headache
- Poor coordination
Insomnia is a sleeping disorder and can be classified into chronic insomnia (last over some months), acute insomnia (last over a few weeks) and transient insomnia (within a few days). Whichever it is, many practices can help you to sleep well.
Below are some tips that can help to fight insomnia
- Develop or improve your sleep practices
This is one of the healthy habits that have to be carried out to have a good bedtime. It entails creating a routine bedtime schedule.
This will make you feel sleepy whenever the time reaches even without you looking at the clock.
- Avoid having a long nap
Most times at the course of the day, you may need to have some good rest, which is good. However, it should be brief, and should not be closer to bedtime because it can interfere with your night sleep.
- Keep off from TV
Television is one of the devices that can interfere with sleep. It is mostly true because electronic devices, including TV, have the tendency to discharge a type of blue light.
The blue light hence sends a signal to the brain to stop producing melatonin, a hormone is known to play a great role in the regulating sleep.
The hormone signals the brain during the day time to decrease its production, and during the night to increase it.
So, whenever you watch TV, the hormone is tricked by the light into thinking that its day. In this way, reducing its production of the hormone leading to insomnia.
You may think, it makes you feel sleepy because your eyes are getting weak and droopy, but in most cases, when you are then ready to sleep, you might have struggles falling asleep.
- Avoid caffeinated drinks before sleeping
Coffee is not the only drink that contains caffeine. Other products with caffeine content include alcohol, dark chocolate, energy drinks, sodas, black tea, etc., and even tobacco.
Any food or drinks that contain in a higher proportion can disrupt sleep. Not only that, they can as well make you experience other side effects of caffeine especially if you are allergic to it.
If you must take caffeinated drinks, it should be done in the morning, so that the effects can wear off before bedtime.
- Have a clean and comfortable environment
There are some environmental factors that can lead to insomnia. Some of them include noise, light and many more. Staying in an untidy room might just look messy and not comfortable enough to allow you to sleep.
And it has been observed that people who sleep in an untidy room are likely to have sleep disturbances than those who sleep in a clean, tidy and cozy room.
Also, the temperature of the room can affect sleep. Therefore, keep the room well-ventilated if the temperature is high.
Conversely, keep yourself warm enough if the temperature is low. In this way, you can feel comfortable having easy access to sleep.
- Do not take your worries to bed
Being worried can increase anxiety and also make you stressed out, this can lead to difficulty in falling asleep.
To help calm your worries or anxiety, you can take plenty of fluid like water at least about 30 minutes before bedtime. You can also practice one or two relaxation techniques which can help to fight insomnia.
- Engage in a relaxation exercise
This is not an exercise though, but a simple technique that helps in keeping the body relaxed enough to fall asleep. Relaxation techniques for proper sleep include;
- Breathing in and out for a few seconds, you can also engage in other deep breathing exercises like the yoga exercise on breathing.
- Try muscle relaxation exercises like wiggling of the toes.
- Create a sound and peaceful mind through visualization; this will help you to have a guided meditation.
These techniques are usually required when you are about to sleep at night. Note that it shouldn’t substitute your daytime normal exercises.
- Exercise during the day
The benefits of exercise are much, and can also help to improve sleep. When we exercise, the frequent moving, jerking, and stretching of the body tend to increase the body’s temperature.
And when the increase in temperatures falls after the exercise, it can help in reducing anxiety and as thus, improves sleep.
This exercise doesn’t necessarily require you go to the gym. It can be incorporated in your normal daily activities, such as cycling, running, dancing, walking and other aerobic exercises.
- Lay appropriately
Sleeping positions can either make us sleep or not to. So, you to understand the mechanism behind the sleeping position first. This can help you combat insomnia.
To sleep well, lay your back on the bed as this helps to avoid putting your body organs at stress. This sleeping posture gives room for the organs and other parts of the body to relax well. It also eliminates a stiff neck and helps relax the spine too.
You can also lie on your sides, but the left side is preferable. Reason!. It can help to regulate and improve the flow of blood to the heart.
The left side-lying position can also reduce heartburn or acid reflux, hence enabling the esophagus to be above the gastric juice and stomach.
- Off the lights
Most people can’t sleep well when the lights are off. Just like the TV, the lights make the brain to think that it’s not yet time to sleep, thereby delaying the sleep process.
Switch off the light when you want to sleep. If you must sleep with lights on, let it not be too bright or wear a sleep mask.
- Have a bedtime snack
Have an appropriate bedtime snack before going to sleep. It signals to the brain through the Leptin in the body about its satisfaction.
This, in turn, will help to reduce ghrelin secretion in the body which works to encourage hunger. It will also prevent you from waking up in the night to eat.
Know that the bedtime snack should be light. Eating heavy few minutes before bedtime can lead to heartburn, choking and weight gain.
Some of the snacks which can be taken before bedtime include warm milk (helps to calm the nerves), egg, cottage cheese, etc.
- Ensure you have a warm bath
This method has been fruitful over the years. It has proven to work in the areas of fighting off insomnia.
Having a warm bath before bedtime sends the body to its relaxation mood, henceforth, it causes a fall in the temperature of the body which helps in improving sleep.
Have a warm bath at least an hour before bedtime but don’t stay too long. A long warm shower or bath can drain your body’s energy.
- Your bed should be for sleep
When we engage ourselves in other activities on the bed like watching films, working, eating and more, it then becomes hard to have a nice round of sleep easily.
Because your body doesn’t signal to the brain that it’s time for sleep. You shouldn’t perform other activities on the bed.
- Try Acupuncture
Acupuncture is a kind of alternative medicine used over the years to treat various kinds of illnesses. It is effective in treating disorders, pains, and health improvements.
This method works to improve conditions that can disrupt sleep such as anxiety. It can also increase the production of melatonin, thereby, relieving pains and soothing the body. Generally, it improves sleep thereby eliminating insomnia.
- Read before bedtime
Have you ever wondered why you can fall asleep easily when reading?
It is recommended that people have sleep problems should try to read before bedtime. Reading has been found to help one sleep better especially at night.
This is because when we read, our eyes may get droopy. As a result, the eye muscles become weak, and our brains begin to need rest after being stressed up. This, in turn, creates a feeling of being sleepy.
- Have you tried aromatherapy?
This includes the use of essential oils which has proved to have soothing effects on the body. It works by helping to reduce the temperature of the body when used for bath. A few drops can do the magic!
It has also proved to have been effective in helping with anxiety, depression, and stress which are some of the contributing factors of insomnia.
Some of the essential oils include valerian oil, lavender oil, Roman chamomile, clary sage, lemon balm, frankincense and many more. They have individually shown an effect on sleep improvement.
- Take herbal tea
For many years, the Chinese have used herbal medicine in the form of tea to combat many ill-health. Also in the case of insomnia, fennel, chamomile, lemongrass tea, peppermint tea, and valerian tea has been used to improve sleep quality.
In most cases, it works by making one weak and then sleepy. It has been long advertised as a sleeping aid. So when having sleep problems, you can take herbal tea a few minutes to bedtime.
- Reduce your intake of sugar
The body needs sugar for energy. However, excess intake of it can prevent you from sleeping well and wakes you up regularly.
Sugars can also cause fluctuations in the levels of your blood sugar level. Critically, it can lead to a fall in blood sugar level which can prevent sleep.
- Listen to music
Music has been known to serve as food for the soul, and in this case, it also serves as a tool to combat insomnia.
Have you ever wondered why babies and kids fall asleep when their parents or caregivers sing them a lullaby?. Listening to cool and relaxing music can help calm your body, thus, prepare it for sleep.
- Cut back on saturated fat
Studies have proved that saturated fats can impair sleeping patterns. It can increase the level of cholesterol in the body which can lead to disruptive sleep.
Healthier food options are advised, as opposed to saturated carbs before going to bed.
- Meet a specialist
As said before, many factors can cause insomnia, and when all the self-care and therapeutic means have been used and yet proved void, it is then time to see a specialist.
Your doctor can help you to manage insomnia through medication. Supplements such as melatonin can aid in the improvement of sleep.
Insomnia might be a bit frustrating and while some are related to anxiety, illness, medications, and depression, most cases of insomnia relate to improper sleeping habits.
But whichever one is the case, determining the underlying factor for insomnia will help to fight it off easily using an adequate measure.