Insomnia: How to manage it
Dealing with Insomnia. Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night. Several factors may contribute to insomnia. These factors can range from an uncomfortable room to an underlying health condition. The first step to getting a good night’s sleep is to examine your lifestyle habits to determine the cause of your insomnia.
Lifestyle Habits as Contributing Factors
Various factors can affect the quality and quantity of your sleep. You can get better sleep by making small changes in your lifestyle. Let’s examine the most common causes of insomnia and what you can do to get sound sleep.
Diet and Eating Habits
Eating late in the evening can cause digestive upset such as bloating, cramps, heartburn, and indigestion, all of which can interrupt sleep. Most experts recommend not eating after 6 or 7 in the evening. However, going to bed hungry can also lead to insomnia. If you are hungry, try a light snack to satisfy the hunger pains. Avoid foods that are high in fat, or fried or acidic foods, since these can all lead to heartburn. Avoid caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, or soda as well.
Waking up in the middle of the night for a bathroom break can disrupt sleep and sometimes make it difficult to get back to sleep. Try limiting your fluid intake in the early evening. Go to the bathroom before bed even if you don’t feel the need.
Work-related insomnia often occurs in those that work non-traditional or fluctuating schedules. People who work the night shift may have difficulty transitioning to a daytime sleep routine. Use black-out curtains to keep out excessive sunlight and darken the room. Turn your phone off and remove any distractions. Try to keep your room as quiet and peaceful as possible. Ask family members or housemates to respect your need for sleep and not disturb you.
If you have a lot of stress in your life, you may find your mind racing once you lie down to sleep. Although your body is ready for sleep, your mind is still thinking about the day’s events, worrying about tomorrow, or trying to find solutions to problems. How do you turn it off? While it is not always easy to turn off the internal dialogue, there are a few ways to quiet the mind.
Start a journal. Make it a nightly habit to write down anything that is causing your stress. Take the mind chatter out of your head and put it on paper. Meditation can also be effective for quieting the mind. If you’re new to meditation and don’t know where to start, search online for guided meditations. There are many that you can listen to for free that will help you relax and unwind.
Keep Work out of the Bedroom
Keep your bedroom a work-free zone. The bedroom that was once a relaxing haven has become a home office for many people. Working late has taken on a new meaning for people who work from home, who have no set work hours. Their work often ends up in the bedroom and is a contributing factor to insomnia. People who work from home should have a designated workspace separate from the bedroom. It can also be helpful to set regular work hours and avoid working too late.
Make Your Bedroom Relaxing
Keep your bedroom clean and clutter-free. A bedroom that is readily available for relaxation is more conducive for sleep. You don’t want to have to tidy up before you can go to sleep. Keep your room at a comfortable temperature. Studies have shown that sleeping in an overly warm room can disrupt sleep patterns. When you are ready to lie down, put the phone and laptop away, and turn off the TV. Make sure your pillows and mattress are comfortable. If you are fluffing your pillows all night, it might be time to replace them.
Physical discomfort can make it almost impossible to sleep. Conditions such as arthritis that cause chronic pain can make it difficult to sleep without medication to ease the pain. However, pain isn’t the only type of physical discomfort that disrupts sleep. For example, psoriasis is a condition that affects the skin and can cause intense itching. If you suffer from a health condition that disrupts your sleep due to physical discomfort, consult your primary care provider for possible treatment options. The physician may be able to prescribe medication for both the condition and insomnia.
If you still have difficulty sleeping after making changes in your lifestyle, consult your physician. There could be an underlying health condition causing your insomnia.
Dealing with Insomnia
Get the help you need today. Here at High Expectations Counseling we have a team of talented therapists. We are all trained to help you better understand the root issues leading to your battle with insomnia. Give us a call today at 407-967-1327. Lets start the journey of finding balance and the ability to finally have a good nights sleep.