Can’t Sleep? There’s A Cure For That!
You’ve been up and out since early this morning handling business, putting out fires, and making big things happen like the boss babe you are. Just like every other day for the past several months, you swore you’d make it a point to get to bed early and get a good night of sleep.
You did it right this time.
You got home at a good hour. You got comfortable, turned down the lights and closed your eyes in anticipation of dream-filled slumbery bliss. So, why are you lying in bed with your mind racing, flopping over like fish on a hook, waiting for sleep to find you? And where is this “good sleep” people speak of?
Why Can’t I Sleep? What Causes Insomnia?
According to The Sleep Foundation, there are many reasons why you may not be getting the amount or quality of sleep that your body craves. In fact, there are so many possible culprits that it can be challenging to pinpoint the direct cause. Here are a few:
1. Medical Reasons
There’s a host of medical reasons that can keep you up at night. Anything that restricts your breathing such as sinus issues, allergies, asthma or sleep apnea can distract you from peaceful slumber.
Gastrointestinal and digestive issues, like acid reflux, can do the same. Bodily aches and pains such as back pain or arthritis make it challenging to find comfortable positions and can also pull you out of sleep once you’ve gotten there.
To make matters worse, many medications that cure some of these ailments can actually cause insomnia. So, you can have problems getting to sleep due to nasal allergies, take medicine to alleviate the symptoms, then you still can’t sleep because the medication keeps you up. Oof!
2. Anxiety & Depression
Anxiety and depression are common causes for insomnia. In fact, sometimes it’s difficult to determine which came first because they are often so interlinked. Are you depressed because you’re sleep-deprived? Or are you sleep-deprived due to your depression?
Many adults have had trouble getting to sleep before important events – racing thoughts or “having a lot on your mind” is an extremely common reason for inability to rest. Though nothing to worry about if it’s short-term, when it persists for long stretches of time and starts to diminish the quality of your life, you know something deeper is going on.
Finally, mental and physical health issues aside (or in combination), you may be unable to get good sleep due to your lifestyle. Some you can change, some you cannot. But facts are facts.
For example, working very late, irregular hours or night shifts can go against the body’s natural rhythm and throw off your sleep schedule. Likewise, if you frequently use coffee or other caffeinated beverages to power through your days, these drinks can keep you from sleeping well at night. Another example is drinking alcohol. Studies have shown that alcohol use can impair sleep and cause insomnia.
17 Simple Tips To A Better Sleep
So, we’ve identified some possible causes for your insomnia. How do we fix it? Lucky for you, there are some stupid-simple things you can try to cure your insomnia and help you get better sleep.
Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day (yes, even on weekends)! This will get your body used to the rhythm and routine and make it easier for you to fall asleep – and stay there.
Avoid caffeine intake past around 3 pm or so. That afternoon slump at work hits and many women will grab a cup of coffee or a diet coke to make it through, but don’t do it! Try natural pick-me-ups instead, like taking a brief walk. (Just 10 minutes of exercise gives the same energy boost as 50mg of caffeine)!
3. Have A Nighttime Ritual
Get a ritual or system in place for how you’ll get to bed – and use it every night. Your ritual doesn’t have to be complex. It just needs to be consistent. Take your shower or bath, moisturize your face and body, have a cup of hot tea and hit the sack, lady!
4. Don’t Eat Late
Having a light snack before bed is okay but eating a heavy meal too close to bedtime can keep you up well past your desired time. Keep it light and your sleep’ll be right! (We should be rap stars, huh)?
5. Set Your Ambience
Your bedroom should be properly set for sleep-time. It should be a comfortable temperature (neither too hot nor too cold), dark and quiet. Though some people insist on having the television on while they sleep, this can be distracting. It’s best to have your sleep room exclusively for sleep if you can.
6. Don’t Lie In Bed Awake
Contrary to popular belief, trying to force sleep is actually a poor idea. If you can’t get to sleep in about 20 minutes, do something else soothing, like read a book. Do NOT use electronic devices, as those keep you up longer. Reading a physical book is much more conducive to helping you sleep.
7. Avoid Nicotine
If you want to get serious about sleeping better and you’re a smoker, think twice. Nicotine affects sleep, and not in a good way. Ditch the cigs.
8. Exercise regularly
Regular exercise has multiple benefits and is key to an overall healthy lifestyle. Yet another benefit of exercise is that it will help you sleep. The catch? Don’t exercise within 2 hours or so of bedtime, as this can make it harder for you to get to sleep.
9. Don’t nap
If you’re lucky enough to have time in most of your days to take naps in the first place – good for you! But not so fast… napping during the day can make it harder for you to get to sleep at night. It’s best to be a little tired during the day and get to bed at a decent hour at night on a regular basis.
10. Clear your mind
Worry keeps many adults up at night, but this doesn’t have to be the case. While you may be incapable of thoroughly solving troublesome problems, you can certainly clear your thoughts. Journaling before bed is a great way to manage and give your mind a break. You can review your notes the following day. Adding a quick note-taking or journaling session to your nightly routine is a great way to clear your mind before bed.
11. Plan for tomorrow
Akin to jotting down your thoughts and worries, planning your to-do list for the next day can calm and soothe you. Knowing exactly what lies ahead for tomorrow can put your mind – and body – to rest, tonight.
12. Get some sun
…In the day, that is. Evidence shows that exposure to bright light in the day positively affects your body’s natural time-clock, also known as your circadian rhythm. Getting as much light as you can in the day will help you sleep better at night.
13. Try melatonin
Melatonin is a hormone that tells your body “hey you… it’s time to catch some zzzz’s now”! Taking melatonin before bed improves quality of sleep with no side effects the next day, unlike traditional sleeping pills. A top brand that is highly-rated and recommended is Nature Made, available on Amazon Prime. Click here to grab a bottle!
14. See your doctor
If you have persistent sleep problems despite trying various home remedies, it might be time to visit your doctor. You might have a sleep disorder or underlying problems she can help you with.
15. Avoid liquids before bed
Sometimes the answer is a simple as removing things that wake you up once you’ve already fallen asleep. Avoiding liquids for at least an hour before bed can prevent you from waking up to use the restroom in the middle of the night – and having to try to get back to sleep.
16. Set an alarm
… to GO to bed! Everyone has the annoying wake-up alarm, but setting an alarm to go to bed is a trick many sleep-experts themselves use to catch those zzz’s.
17. Try bedtime yoga
Finally, while vigorous exercise just before bed isn’t the greatest idea, a little yoga before bedtime can calm you down, relax your mind, and work out any tension or stress in the body. Again… we are striving for simplicity here, so no need to be complex or time-consuming. This simple 7-minute yoga for bedtime routine will help get you on the right track.
Get Better Sleep Tonight
Insomnia is a problem of many, but just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s necessary. With just a little effort and a few changes to your lifestyle, you likely can make great strides toward getting better quality sleep. If nothing you do works, however, please don’t hesitate to get to your doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions so you can get the restful slumber you deserve, every night.
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