How to Fight Insomnia (and Win)

Do you consistently have trouble falling asleep? Battling our third year of COVID, and all the ensuing problems is enough to keep anyone from sleeping. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that about 60 million Americans struggle with insomnia each year. So, let’s talk about helpful sleep tips to fight insomnia. 

Getting a good night’s rest is a problem for many people. The National Sleep Foundation says that disordered sleep – difficulty falling asleep, light sleep, or non-restorative sleep for several nights or more weekly – affects nearly two-thirds of American adults at some point. How can we find ways to restore our sleep (and our sanity) to find a consistent good night’s rest?

Personally, I struggled with receiving a consistent good night’s rest for many weeks. Lack of sleep can do more damage than make you grumpy or forgetful, and it can affect your sex drive, memory, health, and (yes) even your ability to lose weight. If you have insomnia, there are many steps you can take to change behaviors and lifestyles to help you get a good night’s rest. Here are some tips to overcome insomnia.

Leave the Room 

Can’t sleep? Harvard Medical School recommends that you leave your bed and relax in another room when you find yourself tossing and turning after 30 minutes. Using your bed for “sleep and sex only” is a form of stimulus control. So, essentially, only use your bed to sleep when you feel tired. If not, go to another room and find a relaxing activity to engage in, such as reading a book.

Wake Up at the Same Time Each Day

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends consistency. Going to bed each night and waking up at the same time each day (including the weekends) helps improve your sleep rhythm.

Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol Right Before Bedtime  

The effects of caffeine may be noticeable, but imbibing alcohol before bedtime may surprise you. While alcohol may have a sedative effect for the first few hours following consumption, it can lead to a non-restful night’s sleep. On a side note, if you’re interested in foods that help promote sleep, please read this article.

Exercise Regularly

Dr. Michael J. Breus, better known as “The Sleep Doctor,” recommends regular exercise for a more sound and restful sleep. Physical activity increases the time spent in deep sleep, the most physically restorative sleep phase. Deep sleep helps to boost immune function, support cardiac health, and control stress and anxiety.

Get Your Worrying Out Before Bedtime

If you hit the pillow concerned about all the things you need to do tomorrow or other anxious thoughts running through your head, you’re likely to find sleep elusive. That’s why the National Sleep Foundation recommends creating a “worry journal” before allowing anxiety to enter your bedroom. You can start your own “worry journal” by writing down your worries before bedtime to help get those feelings out of your head. You can also underline or circle the items you need to worry about the next day so your brain won’t feel the need to remind you of them while you’re trying to turn it off.

One More Thing

Were these tips helpful for you? I’d love to hear about your sleep journey at hello@heartandsoulblog.com. And please be sure to sign up for more helpful information by registering for our weekly newsletter below.

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