Do you struggle to sleep no matter how tired you are? Or do you wake up in the middle of the night and lie awake for hours, watching the clock? If so, you’re not alone. Frequently having trouble sleeping is a frustrating and exhausting experience.
Since different people need different amounts of sleep, insomnia is defined by the quality of your sleep and how you feel after sleeping – not the number of hours you sleep.
Insomnia is a very common problem that causes more than just daytime sleepiness. It can take a toll on your mental and physical health, draining your energy, leading to memory problems, weight gain, affecting your mood, and ability to function during the day.
Tips to Sleep Better
Quality sleep is a necessity, not a luxury, if you want to feel your best, perform up to your full potential and stay healthy.
You don’t have to resign yourself to sleepless nights. There are many things you can do to put a stop to the frustration of insomnia and finally get a good night’s sleep.
Avoid heavy spicy dinners within two hours of bed. Spicy food can cause heartburn.
Don’t drink too many liquids an hour before sleep to reduce the frequency of waking up at night to go to the bathroom.
Read something to help you wind down before bed. However, it is important to read from a traditional paper book, not from an electronic book.
Avoid naps during the day. Poor sleep at night often leads to daytime napping, which in turn can make it more difficult to sleep at night. So if you feel like you have to take a nap, limit it to 30 minutes before 3 p.m.
Turn off all electronics at least an hour before bed. Electronic screens emit a blue light that disrupts the production of melatonin, an essential hormone for sleep, decreasing sleepiness.
Darken your room, darkness triggers the release of melatonin.
Get comfortable, having a comfortable mattress and bedding can have a remarkable effect on the depth and quality of your sleep.
Try not to stress, hard as it may be, over your inability to sleep, because stress encourages your body to stay awake.
Go to bed only to sleep, don’t watch TV, work, or use your computer in bed, in order to associate the bedroom with sleep alone, so that your brain gives a strong signal that it’s time to nod off when you get into bed.
Exercise during the day to increase the duration and quality of sleep by boosting the production of serotonin in the brain and decreasing levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is known to interrupt sleep.
Do not look at your clock. Anxiously watching the minutes tick by when you can’t sleep or wake up in the middle of the night is a sure recipe for insomnia.
Get out of bed when you can’t sleep. Don’t try to force yourself to sleep. Tossing and turning only increases your anxiety. Get up and do something relaxing, then go back to bed.
Don’t drink caffeinated beverages at least six hours before bedtime.
Eat sleep promoting food, such as
- Almonds are an excellent source of melatonin and magnesium. Magnesium’s role in promoting sleep is thought to be due to its ability to reduce inflammation and the stress hormone cortisol.
- Turkey has a high content of protein and the amino acid tryptophan, which increases the production of the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin.
- Bananas: contain both tryptophan and magnesium. Both of which may help you get a good night’s sleep.
- Kiwis are rich in serotonin which helps regulate your sleep cycle.
- Milk: another known source of tryptophan.
- Chamomile tea a popular herbal tea contains apigenin, an antioxidant that may promote sleepiness.