Do you find yourself struggling to fall asleep on a regular basis? Or perhaps you frequently wake up in the middle of the night? If you’re facing either one or both of these, then you may be suffering from insomnia.
Unfortunately, insomnia is the most prominent sleep disorder that affects a large proportion of society. According to a 2019 Global Sleep Survey by Philips, 44% of adults worldwide admit that their sleep quality has gotten worse over the past five years. 8 in 10 adults globally wish to improve it but 60% are still too shy to seek help from a medical professional.
If you’re not sure whether you suffer from insomnia, here are some of the general symptoms of insomnia:
- Feeling sleepy after waking up
- Staying awake all night
- Waking up frequently during the night
- Struggling to fall asleep
- Waking up extremely early, and struggle to fall back asleep again
- Struggling to nap during the day, even when you’re extremely tired
- Not being able to concentrate during the day due to fatigue
- Suffering from tiredness, fatigue and irritability often during the day
(Source: NHS UK)
So, is there a way to overcome this problem without going broke? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this guide, we’ve put together the best advice and tips to help you get a better night’s rest naturally.
Avoid Consuming Stimulants Before Sleeping
It’s highly recommended that you avoid consuming stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, alcohol or having heavy meals a few hours before you go to bed. According to experts, you should do this at least 2-3 hours before going to bed (Source: NHS UK). Having stimulants, especially caffeine, will make it so much harder for you to fall asleep as it can spike your energy levels and reduce the quality of your sleep.
Reduce Screen Time
Let’s face it. Nowadays we all feel the need to constantly check our phones. From the minute we wake up to the minute we fall asleep, our phones are never too far away. But having too much screen time, especially before going to bed, decreases your ability to get decent sleep. This is because of the blue light emitted from devices such as phones, computers or tablets, which reduces the production of melatonin in your body.
Melatonin is a sleep-inducing hormone that responds to the darkness and helps your body to feel sleepy at night. Hence, reducing screen time can help to ensure that your body can produce an adequate amount of melatonin so that you can fall asleep easier.
Of course, it is a little too unrealistic to stop using your phone altogether, but the least you could try to do is to put it away an hour before you go to bed.
Create a sleep routine
Maintaining a constant sleeping routine can also help fix your body clock. This means going to sleep and waking up at the same time consistently every single day. Changing up your sleeping habits like this can fix your circadian rhythm and condition your body to sleep at the same time every day. After a while, your body will get used to this routine and your sleep quality will likely improve.
Exercise during the day
While you should avoid doing any rigorous activities that’ll increase your heart rate before going to bed, exercising is a great method to help reduce insomnia. Exercising during the day can help you to feel exhausted by the time evening arrives, so you won’t have a lot of excess energy when it’s time for bed.
Have an unwinding ritual
Having an unwinding or nighttime ritual for yourself is a terrific strategy to tackle insomnia. In order to fall asleep easier, your body and mind should be as relaxed as possible. Some of the common nighttime rituals to help you wind down for the night include giving yourself a nice warm bath, reading your favorite book for an hour, lighting up some candles or simply drinking warm milk. Your routine is entirely up to you, as long as you’re relaxed and calm before heading to bed.
Invest in comfortable bedding
Your mattress and bedding can have a significant impact on the quality of your sleep. For example, sleeping with a weighted blanket, which are therapeutic blankets that can help to relax your body and induce sleep through deep touch stimulation therapy.