- Stop turning around in the bed if you are not getting sleep. The more you toss around and try, the harder itâ€™ll be for you to fall asleep. Getting 8 hours sleep does not mean spending 8 hours on the bed. 7 hours of restful sleep is more efficient than sleeping 6 hours and tossing around 2 hours. Also, if your mind gets used to tossing around in the bed, it might become an habit, making it more and more difficult to fall asleep day by day.
- Get up at the same time each day. Our sleep-wake cycle is controlled by circadian rhythms in our brain and following a routine stabilizes these rhythms. A regular waking time strengthens these rhythms, facilitating onset of sleep on a regular time. Once your sleep-wake cycle normalizes, you must go to bed at the same time everyday resisting all temptations like watching television, reading, etc. close to bed time.
- Follow a bed-time routine. Following a relaxing bed-time routine like having a bath and meditation sends signal to the brain that itâ€™s time for sleep and automatically prepares the body for it. Avoid engaging in stimulating activities like watching television, conversing, staying in bright lights and worrying during bed-time.
- Stop thinking about sleep. If you were to single out one main factor responsible for sleep problems in majority of the people, it would be this. When you are suffering from sleep problems, itâ€™s common to worry about why you are not getting sleep. This often makes us more anxious making matters worse. If the same attitude continues every night, the very prospect of going to sleep can cause anxiety and worry. At any cost, you must realize that worrying about sleep will only make the matter worse. What really fosters restful sleep is a calm and peaceful mind.
For a week, decide that you are not going to think about sleep at all. Whether you sleep for 4 hours or 6 hours, just forget about sleep. When you get up in the middle of the night, just watch your breath and resist all temptations to think about sleep. Within no time youâ€™ll fall asleep. This however will prove to be a gargantuan task for chronic insomniacs who have been worrying and thinking about sleep when they get up in the middle of the night, for months or even years. Such may be the conditioning in some cases that as soon as they get up, their mind would already be in overdrive worrying about sleep.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco. Caffeine has been shown to disrupt sleep, even in individuals who don’t think it affects them. The effect of caffeine remains in the body on average from 3 to 5 hours. Remember that caffeine is not just in coffee but in tea, chocolate, and many sodas (note that a soda does not have to be brown to be full of caffeine – read the labels). For individuals with insomnia, it is best to avoid all caffeine after lunchtime. And if you need one more reason to stop smoking, tobacco (nicotine) also has been shown to disturb sleep. Nicotine can have an arousing effect and therefore make it more difficult to sleep.
Alcohol often is used by insomniacs to help them fall asleep. One old wives’ tale suggests having a glass of sherry before bed to promote sleep. In fact this is just an old wives’ tale. Alcohol makes you sleepy initially but several hours later when the alcohol wears off, it can cause you to wake up (insomnia). Therefore if you drink alcohol with dinner, you may be sleepy right after dinner, but several hours later, when it is time for bed, you may be wide awake.
- Exercise regularly. As exercising increases alertness and raises body temperature, doing it around 4 hours before time makes the body temperature fall down during sleep, facilitating faster sleep. However, exercising close to bedtime can stimulate you and disrupt your sleep patterns.
Too vigorous (to exhaustion) exercises must also be avoided. Our body recharges and repairs itself during sleep and the more vigorous and demanding your exercise, the better sleep you need for your body to recharge to its optimum. But as sleep is poor in insomniacs, their body cannot recharge itself and if the routine is continued, fatigue can result in.
6 Golden Rules to Better Sleep
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