Is “toss and turn” your middle name? Then you know that insomnia effects daytime functioning significantly. According to a study in the Sleep journal, poor sleep can lead to low self-esteem, impaired efficiency and poor job satisfaction compared to good sleepers. Science has pinpointed possible subgroups of vulnerable people and risk factors connected to insomnia. For example, some risk factors are tobacco/alcohol/caffeine abuse, shift work, medical complaints and mental health history. The good news is there are ways to help prevent insomnia. You might even learn to sleep like a baby again!
Try the following suggestions systematically. Some or all of them may work, but you can test out each one to gauge your progress. The easiest ones fall under the category of good sleep hygiene; in other words, make your bedroom environment a relaxing and calm place. Paint the room soothing, neutral tones and clear out the clutter. To quote Buddhist philosophy: a messy and chaotic external environment equals a cluttered mind. If your mind is cluttered, it is much harder to relax and reach deep, uninterrupted sleep.
1 Take all electronics out of the bedroom: Yes, that means your computer, television, and anything else that emits electrical charges or noise. Turn off the radio-silence is golden when it comes to sleep. These devices may be a significant factor when it comes to insomnia.
2 Leave the stress at the door: If you’ve had a stressful day, try to write down what you want to let go of. Journal until you’ve released anything that you may be holding on to. Don’t worry about punctuation or grammar; this is for your eyes only and is essentially an exercise in unloading stress.
3. Avoid heavy, spicy meals before bed: Imagine the energy it takes the body to digest a big meal like a steak or chicken parmesan! This will obviously interfere with your relaxation process. Stop eating a few hours before bed, but if you feel hungry have a light snack, such as a banana. The magnesium in the banana will help relax you. In addition, there are specific foods to help you sleep and prevent insomnia.
4. Sleep-proof your room: Are you allergic to your sheets? Down pillows? Dust? What about the mattress? Allergic reactions can include nasal congestion, rapid heartbeat and nervousness, so be sure to see a holistic practitioner for an allergy/sensitivity test. You may be sleeping in a lion’s den of toxicity! Reactions are all individual, so you can opt for hypoallergenic pillows and linens and an air purifier.
5. Drink a relaxing tea: The warmth and relaxing properties in an herbal tea can do wonders to prepare you for sleep. Try Chamomile, Lavender or your favourite combination sleepy time tea.
6. Use essential oils: Spray your pillow with lavender, chamomile, cedarwood or jasmine. Pick your favourite smells and experiment until you find your own unique relaxing blend.
We all have times in our life where there is a lot going on. Maybe you started a new job, relationship or moved to a new city. All of these events can be quite unnerving and cause some sleepless nights. Be gentle with yourself during times of transition and know that “this too shall pass.”
Photo credit: babblingdweeb