Are you having difficulty getting a good night’s sleep? You’re not alone. This week, I want to do a series of posts on sleep disorders in observance of World Sleep Day on Friday.
Insomnia is a very common condition among adults today. According to the Cleveland Clinic, 1 in 3 adults worldwide have symptoms of insomnia and about 10% of adults meet criteria for insomnia disorder. Some of the symptoms include difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep; not feeling well-rested; daytime tiredness or sleepiness; irritability, depression, or anxiety; difficulty paying attention, focusing on tasks, or remembering; and increased errors or accidents. Adequate sleep is crucial to good mental and physical health.
To counter insomnia and return to a normal sleep-cycle takes time and patience. It takes several days to resolve the insomnia and takes a lot of effort.
How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Begin with the end in mind. I recommend my clients start their day with the end in mind. As soon as you begin to wake up, consider the impact on your evening’s sleep.
Get up. When you wake up, get out of bed. Do not linger. Immediately get a shower or take a walk to wake up.
Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. I know this is difficult if you have children or work irregular hours, but do your best to stick to a general schedule.
Avoid or limit caffeine. This includes soda, chocolate, and tea (including green tea or supplements that include green tea). Try to include natural supplements such as Chamomile Tea, Melatonin, or Magnesium.
Try meditation or relaxation. Learn progressive muscle relaxation or guided imagery and practice this as you are falling asleep. Having white sound noise is often helpful. There are several apps that may offer relaxation exercises. Experiment with several until you find what works for you. Focus on your breathing, noticing as it gets slower and more shallow as you drift further and further into restful sleep.
Sleep in a dark, comfortable room. Do not scroll on your phone as this causes your brain to believe it is daytime. If you feel you are not already fully awake, this will cause you to become fully awake. And just one night of insomnia will disrupt your sleep schedule for several days. Many people recommend a cool room, but this depends on your preferences and what works best for you.
Be patient. It may take several days for your treatment to work and your body to regulate. This is why it is important to stick to a routine and to observe your patterns.
These are just a few ideas to help as you regulate your sleep cycle. I would love to know what works for you? What have you tried that has helped, or has not helped?