As every insomniac will be able to attest, not being able to sleep can be hugely frustrating, particularly if you have a particularly hectic morning ahead of you. To make matters worse, the worry and stress you experience when unable to fall asleep are likely to keep you awake even longer, feeding a vicious cycle that leaves you feeling drained and grouchy the next day.
Fortunately, however, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of falling asleep, both in the short term and the long term. These include:
1. Get up if you cannot fall asleep
If you are still awake after twenty minutes of tossing and turning, try getting up and doing a calm activity such as reading or listening to music. This will help to take your mind off the frustration of being unable to sleep and will help you to feel drowsy. Simply waiting to fall asleep whilst lying in bed can create negative associations between wakefulness and your bedroom, setting you up for further nights of insomnia.
2. Try breathing exercises
Simply breathing deeply and slowly for a few minutes can help to increase feelings of drowsiness and reduce feelings of stress.
3. Go to sleep at the same time every day
Getting into bed and getting up at the same time every day will teach your body to get into a healthy sleep routine. Simply settle on a time that fits with your lifestyle and when you tend to feel sleepy.
4. Make sure your sleep environment is conducive to sleep
The atmosphere of your bedroom can significantly impact the quality of your sleep. Think about whether the temperature, lighting and noise levels are suitable for sleep and try to adjust accordingly. A hot bedroom, for example, can be very uncomfortable, particularly during summer months, in which case investing in air conditioning may be a sensible choice. If your room is too light or noisy, an eye mask or earplugs can represent very effective solutions.
5. Take regular exercise
Taking moderate exercise every day such as swimming or walking can help to relieve tension and increase your chances of falling asleep. It is important, however, not to do vigorous exercise too close to your bedtime as this will make you feel more awake and alert.
6. Reduce your caffeine intake
Unsurprisingly, high caffeine intake can increase a person’s chances of developing insomnia. Try cutting down on coffee, tea, cola, and energy drinks if you want to develop better sleep habits. If you simply cannot do without a warming brew before you go to bed, try switching to herbal teas.
7. Do not drink too much before bed
Although alcohol may make you feel sleepy in the immediate term, it can seriously interrupt your sleep throughout the night. Try to avoid drinking too much before bed.
8. Do not eat too much
Again, overindulging in food can wreak havoc with your sleep patterns, particularly if you are prone to acid reflux. Try to eat your main evening meal a few hours before going to sleep.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, we’re here to help.
Get in touch with us today!
A MESSAGE FROM DR. AMY HARTSFIELD:
At TMJ & Sleep Solutions of Alabama, our mission is to provide personalized care to restore quality of life, one patient at a time. If you are experiencing issues with sleep, don’t hesitate to contact us and schedule an appointment!