Insomnia Blues, How to Get More Restful Sleep Tonight

Having trouble sleeping? Well, you’re not alone.  Insomnia is a part of almost each person’s life having experienced it at least once in their lifetime.  You suffer from it when you have problems falling asleep, or when you stay asleep later on in the sleep cycle, or both.  And when you can’t get enough quality sleep at night this leaves you feeling restless, irritated, groggy, and tired in the morning.  The worst thing about insomnia is that it causes your overall health to suffer and affects your quality of work, attentiveness, and productiveness.

 If you are an insomniac, one of the things you need to know in order to address it properly is whether your Insomnia is acute or chronic.  When your problem is a short-lived and recent bout of lack of sleep, then you have acute insomnia. This is the most common type of insomnia and is usually the result of pressure, a traumatic event or stressful situations (ex. jet lag, deadlines, or a death in the family).  These are worrisome things that lead to loss of peace and eventually, absence of sleep.  Being a temporary condition, acute insomnia usually resolves on its own and therefore does not require any treatment.

On the other hand, if you’ve been having trouble sleeping for at least four nights in a week for over three months, then you probably have chronic insomnia.  This type of insomnia can be caused by drugs (legal or street drugs), illnesses, unhealthy sleeping habits, and an unhealthy lifestyle.  Persistent stress, anxiety, and depression, more often than not, contribute to this problem.  As mentioned, drugs can cause insomnia and can include thyroid hormone, high blood pressure medications, antidepressants, and analgesics.  With regard to illnesses, sleep disorders such as narcolepsy, and sleep apnea, as well as, hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, cancer, and asthma, are all factors that can prevent good sleep.

If you desire to tackle the underlying cause of your insomnia, try to observe your sleep patterns, environment, any health issues you might have, your emotional state and lifestyle patterns, and even the drugs that you are taking.  Assessing these factors can guide you to answers that can enable you to overcome insomnia.

The following are a few suggestions on how to beat the insomnia blues:

  1. Before sleeping, don’t use your smartphone or laptop and don’t play video games or watch TV. Light is emitted by all these devices which may over-stimulate your brain just before bedtime.  Try listening to soothing music, read a light book, or relax with a little light yoga instead.  Deep breathing can also do the trick. It helps soothe your muscles allowing you to relax and help you sleep better.

  2. Never disrupt your sleeping rhythm.  This means that regardless of the day of the week, you should go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, regardless of the day of the week.  Also, every morning, be sure to be directly or indirectly be in light to set your biological clock in order.

  3. If you need to nap during the day, make sure it does not exceed 30 minutes.  Resting too much in the afternoon will lead to sleeping difficulty at night, and so, if you do need to nap, keep it sweet and short.

  4. Use a good pillow.  A pillow that can help you get a good night’s sleep is one that can support your neck in a neutral position. Also when sleeping on your side your nose should be in alignment with the center of your body.  It’s inadvisable to sleep on your stomach since it can lead to neck ache and pain.  During the day, try to have good posture in order for your muscles to retain that memory while sleeping too.

  5. Have a room that is conducive to sleeping. This can mean a dark, quiet, and cool room which helps promote quality sleep, and keep you asleep all through the night.

  6. Get regular exercise.  Exercising during the day can make you feel tired and sleepy at night. Exercising too close to sleeping time though should be avoided at is may act as a stimulus and make falling asleep difficult. Good forms of exercise include aerobics, running, swimming, and walking.  Subtle and gentle yoga practices can actually induce good sleep.

  7. Do not take caffeine after midday.  Even taking caffeine in small amounts can disrupt the later stages of sleep.  In the afternoon, do not drink decaffeinated coffee, chocolate, soda, or teas as they may contain small amounts of caffeine.  Certain painkillers can also contain caffeine, so be mindful of ingredients.

  8. Before you sleep, choose your beverages and food wisely.  For promoting good sleep, warm chamomile tea or milk is excellent.  Refrain from alcoholic beverages because they can affect your sleeping cycle later in the night.  Likewise before bedtime, avoid eating heavy meals since they are hard to digest and may lead to acid reflux at night.

  9. Relax your mind.  At night, it’s important to concentrate on sleeping well and leave the worries of the day behind.  It’s advisable to keep a record of things that need to be attended to so that on the next day, you can modify them.  An hour before bed, try to wind down a bit. You can do this by gently massaging your feet (your feet have nerve endings to the rest of your body) or by taking a warm bath.

  10. Tune out unwanted noise.  For most people, noise is a huge factor in causing insomnia. Sleep deprivation can be due to a simple coughing of a child or a traffic noise that prevents you from dozing off.  To offset these noises, you can counter it with “white noise”.  For this, you can utilize a white noise generator, an air-conditioner, or a fan.

For acute forms of insomnia, those tips can be very useful in getting you to sleep and stay asleep until morning. If your insomnia is chronic, it is important to identify the underlying cause of your problem.  Therefore, to determine the root cause, it is strongly recommended that you get a thorough evaluation/examination by a physician.  It’s inadvisable to take any over-the counter-sleep aids without first talking to a doctor.

In a lot of simple cases, behavioral and lifestyle modifications can make a lasting and huge difference in the curing of insomnia.  Learning to control a racing mind can be a bit difficult to achieve, but these techniques should help.  Time management and prioritization can be extremely helpful tools in lowering stress levels, which can lead to good sleep patterns.  Eventually, you will be singing those insomnia blues away.