How to get Healthy Sleep for Insomnia
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Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that makes it hard to fall asleep, stay asleep, or get enough quality sleep. It can affect mood, energy, health, and performance.
Some of the common causes of insomnia are:
- Stress: Stressful life events or situations, such as work, school, family, health, or financial issues, can keep mind active at night and make it hard to relax and fall asleep.
- Anxiety: Anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, can cause excessive worry, nervousness, or fear that interfere with your sleep.
- Depression: Depression is a mood disorder that causes persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest. It can affect your sleep in different ways. Some people may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Others may sleep too much or have trouble waking up.
- Medical conditions: Some medical conditions or illnesses can cause pain, discomfort, breathing problems, or frequent urination that can disrupt your sleep. These include arthritis, asthma, chronic pain, heart disease, diabetes, thyroid problems, reflux disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and sleep apnea.
- Medications: Some medications that are used to treat certain conditions can affect your sleep as a side effect. These include antidepressants, stimulants, corticosteroids, beta-blockers, diuretics, and some allergy or cold medications.
- Lifestyle factors: Some habits or choices that you make during the day or before bedtime can affect your sleep quality and quantity. These include caffeine intake, alcohol consumption, nicotine use, irregular sleep schedule, napping during the day, lack of physical activity, exposure to light or noise, and use of electronic devices.
Some of the common ways to get healthy sleep in insomnia are:
- Stick to a regular sleep schedule: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends and holidays. This helps your body clock adjust to a consistent rhythm and makes it easier for you to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Create a comfortable and relaxing environment: Make sure your bedroom should be quiet, and comfortable. Use curtains, blinds, shades, or an eye mask to block out any light. Use earplugs, a fan, a white noise machine, or a humidifier to mask any noise. Adjust your thermostat, bedding, and clothing to keep yourself cool and comfortable.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and other stimulants: These substances can keep you awake or disrupt your sleep quality by affecting your brain chemistry and body temperature. Avoid consuming them at least four to six hours before bedtime.
- Limit your use of electronic devices before bed: Electronic devices such as TVs, computers, smartphones, tablets, and e-readers emit blue light that can suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates your sleep cycle. They can also stimulate your brain and keep you alert or entertained. Avoid using them at least one hour before bedtime or switch them to a night mode that reduces blue light.
- Establish a relaxing bedtime routine: Engage in some calming activities that help you wind down and prepare for sleep. These may include reading a book (not on an electronic device), listening to soothing music or sounds (not with headphones), meditating (not with an app), doing some gentle stretches (not vigorous exercise), taking a warm bath (not a hot shower), or drinking a cup of herbal tea (not caffeinated).
- Avoid checking the clock: Clock-watching can cause stress and anxiety that make it harder for you to fall asleep or go back to sleep if you wake up during the night. Put your clock out of sight or turn it away from you. Resist the urge to check the time on your phone or other devices.
- Get some sunlight during the day: Sunlight helps regulate your circadian rhythm by signaling your brain when to be awake and when to be sleepy. It also boosts your mood and energy levels. Try to get at least 15 minutes of natural sunlight every morning and avoid bright light in the evening.
- Exercise regularly but not too close to bedtime: Physical activity helps improve your physical and mental health. It also helps you sleep better by reducing stress hormones and increasing body temperature. However, exercising too close to bedtime can have the opposite effect by stimulating your nervous system and keeping you awake. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day but avoid doing it within three hours of bedtime.
- Avoid heavy meals and spicy foods before bed: Eating too much or too spicy food can cause indigestion, heartburn, or reflux that can interfere with your sleep. It can also raise your body temperature and make you uncomfortable. Eat a light and balanced meal at least three hours before bedtime and avoid foods that trigger digestive problems.
- Seek professional help if necessary: If your insomnia persists despite trying these self-help strategies, you may have an underlying condition that requires medical attention. Your doctor may prescribe medication or refer you to a specialist or a therapist for further evaluation and treatment. You may also benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), a type of psychotherapy that helps you change your thoughts and behaviors that affect your sleep.
I hope this information helps understand more about how to get healthy sleep in insomnia.