Have you ever experienced difficulty falling asleep?
Or perhaps, falling asleep comes naturally to you – but staying asleep? That’s an entirely different matter. Maybe you toss and turn, change positions, stare at the clock ticking by, wondering why you can’t fall asleep and try every way to sleep – even by counting sheep!
Or you wake up earlier than you intend to – maybe because of thirst, because you need to pee, or because your thoughts simply won’t quiet down even when you are sleeping. When sleeping feels no different than staying awake – because you are exhausted nonetheless. Your energy is depleted; you are experiencing mood swings.
Or you just can’t fall asleep!
If any of this feels too familiar, especially on days at an end, you might be suffering from insomnia.
What is Insomnia?
Insomnia is a common sleeping disorder that causes the sufferers difficulty in falling asleep, staying asleep, or may cause one to wake up earlier than their intended time. Fatigue, mood swings, low energy, difficulty in focus are other factors that accompany this disease.
You’re definitely not alone in experiencing this; around 24% of US adults are known to experience acute insomnia.
Insomnia can be of multiple types; it can be chronic or acute, comorbid, onset and maintenance.
Acute insomnia occurs for a brief period and may be triggered by a stressful event in one’s life. Chronic insomnia, according to Sleep Foundation, occurs at least three nights per week for three months or longer. Comorbid insomnia occurs with other conditions such as depression or anxiety and could be influenced by those conditions. Onset insomnia refers to difficulty in falling asleep, and maintenance insomnia refers to difficulty in staying asleep.
However, whatever type of insomnia keeps you up at night, we can definitely help you gain control of it, and get back your beauty sleep back!
What Causes Insomnia?
While we will discuss generalized ways to deal with insomnia, it will be immensely helpful for you if you identify the cause of insomnia and seek specialized help regarding that.
Stress is the most significant factor that contributes to insomnia. Financial, mental, emotional, academic, professional or personal – any form of stress can consume your energy and keep your mind whirring at the speed of light at night. It may seem like every second you try to relax, a stressful thought pops up in your brain and refuses to let you relax.
Apart from stress, travel and work schedule can disrupt the body’s internal biological clock, which may mess up with the sleep pattern.
Eating routine, and poor lifestyle habits are also known to contribute to keeping you up at night.
So what to do if you can’t fall asleep at night? Well, none of this means that insomnia can’t be defeated. In fact, read on more to find out just how you can kick insomnia out from your life!
How to Get Rid of Insomnia?
1. Lifestyle Changes
If you have acute insomnia, certain lifestyle changes will help you get back your beauty sleep and have you feeling refreshed in no time!
– Fix a Sleep Schedule:
I know; I know – stop groaning already! Fixing a sleep schedule can be one of the hardest things, especially when a pandemic has turned your entire routine upside down!
It’s definitely not impossible though, and it is something you can try out for a few days. Trust me, it will help set your life. You will mentally condition yourself to wind down during that time, and your cardiac rhythm and body will prepare you as well.
Fix a time – it doesn’t have to be extremely rigid, but try to go to bed and wake up at around the same time for at least a week. If it works, continue it!
– Be Mindful of the Food:
Everybody loves food! But you should make sure that the food you consume right before bed is not harming you. Harmful foods include tobacco, caffeine, alcohol. Even eating too much can disrupt your sleep schedule.
– Limit Stimulating Activities:
Limit any and all sorts of stimulating activities to at least 3 hours before bedtime. This includes exercising. Try to avoid using your phone, playing on consoles, and all other electronics at least an hour before bedtime.
2. Dealing with Stress-related insomnia:
It is not uncommon to find yourself unable to sleep because of an event that took place in the day, or an off-hand comment by Aunt Emma, or any other stress, regardless of its intensity. There are a few ways you could help control stress-related insomnia in your life:
– Practice Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation techniques can be used during the daytime as well as night time and will help you wind down and prepare your body to sleep. However, different people operate in different ways and may be suited to unique approaches. This is something you should discover, but some of the techniques you can try include meditation, deep breathing, and muscle relaxation.
Meditation is what will help you center your thoughts and round yourself instead of overthinking in 5 different directions. It will reduce stress in your life, and will help you fight insomnia as well. Headspace is a great app to give a try!
Deep breathing is the most common and easiest way to relax especially if you want to calm yourself immediately. Deep breathing involves inhaling for a certain second, holding your breath and then exhaling through your mouth slowly. It helps you gain control of your breathing and instantly relax.
Muscle Relaxation involves tensing and relaxing different muscles in your body in a sequence to relieve stress.
– Install Relevant Apps
It is not always easy to keep track of your sleep schedule. You can easily download applications that help you record how healthy your sleep is so you may understand what works best for your body. There are also specific applications such as PocketCoach that provide guided relaxation and grounding techniques to make you feel better instantly.
Journal your worries away! Too often, you are unable to fall asleep because you are caught up in the universe of your own brain. Events of the day and the resulting rollercoaster emotions all unwind when you are trying to fall asleep. The best way to avoid this is to build an outlet for yourself. Journaling is what will help you relieve stress and clear your mind. It will help you brainstorm, self-reflect and analyze what is causing you to lose sleep.
If you are uncomfortable with writing, you could make an audio journal for yourself on your phone!
– Don’t be Fixated:
When you have been experiencing insomnia for a while, it is common to start dreading bedtime and feel anxious about having to go to bed itself. Take the pressure off the sleep! It isn’t a huge deal.
If you find yourself lying in bed for around 30 minutes without feeling sleepy, get up and read a book until you fall asleep. Don’t toss and turn and don’t overthink about sleeping itself!
These are some of the ways you can combat your insomnia, whether it is due to lifestyle changes or stress-related issues. However, if insomnia persists, remember to not accept sleep deprivation as a part of your life. Reach out! Book yourself an appointment and get your sleep health checked out.