Insomnia is an issue that effects a wide range of people, from children to adults, everyone will have times in their life where insomnia and trouble sleeping effects them. For many, insomnia will be a more constant issue however, and this article strives to provide some ideas, tips and techniques to assist people in finding solutions to their insomnia. We have highlighted ten techniques that should offer some reprieve to those suffering from Insomnia, or those who have trouble finding sleep in general.
1. Exercise and Diet Ideas to Fight Insomnia
Everyone has heard of the importance of exercise and eating well – the significance of these become even more pronounced when they are taken in the context of how these activities effect a person’s sleep/wake cycles. Quality sleep is simply put – very important to your overall health. In fact, it has been demonstrated in a variety of studies, that insomnia and lack of sleep has a profound impact on your health, and has a substantial negative impact on hormone levels, mood and emotions, and can lead to weight gain, and decreased immune functions.
It is recommended that anyone suffering from insomnia, or has trouble sleeping, makes deliberate efforts to increase their daily exercise. This doesn’t need to be overly complicated, nor does it mean you need to run out and sign up for a gym membership to achieve your goals. In general, 30 to 45 minutes of light activity is sufficient, and will do a great deal to increase your health overall. Taking a walk (preferably in the sunshine, or in the daylight hours), will not only make you feel better, but when it comes time for you to sleep, should improve your ability to fall asleep, and to sleep more deeply. Included in this is the importance of eating healthy foods during the day, and avoiding heavy foods many hours before you sleep. By healthy, we mean avoiding fast-foods, heavy deep-fried goods, or overly processed foods in general. Basically, as your mother likely taught you – eat you vegetables, try to make wholesome home cooked meals, and avoid spicy or acidic foods in the hours before you want to sleep.
2. Fight Insomnia with Natural Light Exposure
The cycle of the sun in the sky, and the natural rhythms of our bodies are intimately related. This natural pattern, and the natural internal “clock” each of us has within us, is known as a Circadian Rhythm. This rhythm, or body clock, runs much like you would expect, it ticks and rocks throughout the day, giving you signals and alarms when your natural clock is telling you it is time for rest, or sleep. In order to ensure this internal clock is functioning at optimum performance, it is important to natural light, sunlight and the outdoors in general. With this in mind, it is important to increase your exposure to natural light, and spend more time outdoors in the sunlight. This will impact your hormone levels, which effects your mood, and your state-of-mind, and will improve your quality of life in general.
Those suffering from more extreme insomnia will definitely find solace by using this technique. Many studies have demonstrated that increased exposure to natural light/sunlight have a significantly improved quality of sleep. They also report longer periods of undisturbed sleep, and find themselves more refreshed and energetic during the day as a result.
This also means it is important to limit your exposure to artificial lighting, especially what is referred to as “blue” light, such as the type emitted by electronic screens, mobile phones, TV’s an so forth. We recognize that in a modern world this is increasingly difficult, but there are a few steps you can take to reduce the impact of such exposure. Firstly, most modern devices offer settings and/or applications that include a ‘night time’ mode, which adjusts the brightness and coloration of the screen to reduce blue light exposure – install and/or activate these features during night time hours. Additionally, make a deliberate choice to reduce your blue light exposure in the hours leading up to your sleeping time, as this will increase your ability to fall asleep, and may help you fight insomnia. If you are someone who enjoys reading, then it is a great idea to spend time in the hours before bedtime reading a book (not an electronic reader), as this will definitely improve your ability to fall asleep, and in many other ways will have a positive impact on your mind and well-being.
The long and short of this – reduce your exposure to blue light in the evening hours, and get more exposure to natural light during the day. This will help you fight insomnia and find a better sleep. Consider using natural light therapy to increase your exposure – these tools provide a great solution both indoor, and any time of day, and can help to increase your body’s natural release of melatonin, and provide you some assistance in finding a better sleep, and fighting insomnia.
3. The Perils of Napping
Many people believe that napping is a good thing, and to be direct, it can be – as long as it isn’t too long. Short, so called “power naps”, of no longer than 30 to 45 minutes are great, and can be invigorating and rejuvenating. In fact, there are studies that suggest taking a nap of less than 30 minutes per day can actually increase your energy levels, heighten attention and lead to increased brain activity during the day. The problem is when these naps are too frequent, or too long, as they disrupt your sleeping patterns, and can negatively effect your ability to sleep well in the night hours, and ultimately wreak havoc on your sleep rhythms. This will exasperate insomnia, and make further problems for you to find a better sleep.
Recommendation – if you feel the need for a nap, it is recommended to take only short naps, maximum 30 to 45 minutes. This will provide you the quick rest and refreshment you need, without making too great an impact on your sleep cycle.
4. Late Day/Evening Coffee & Caffeine Reduction
Caffeine is one of the most commonly consumed substances in the world, and is consumed by nearly everyone. Further, it is proven that caffeine can enhance performance, increase energy and provide added ‘focus’ to an individual. This sounds wonderful, but there is a downside to caffeine consumption when it is consumed in the evening, or in the hours before sleeping. As a natural stimulate, caffeine will increase your heart rate, and otherwise create energy boosts, and having this in the evening will have an obvious impact on your ability to sleep at the times you prefer. In fact, some studies have suggested that you should avoid caffeine many hours prior to sleeping, in order to get a better sleep, and avoid insomnia.
Recommendation – don’t drink coffee, or caffeine laden products after 4 or 5 in the afternoon, to help you get a better sleep, and avoid insomnia. Instead, consider herbal teas, without caffeine, or choose herbs that are well known to assist in relaxing the nervous system, and help induce a better sleep.
5. Supplements & Melatonin to Fight Insomnia
Your body creates melatonin naturally, and is a key hormone that is released within your body. Melatonin is more actively released in times when your body feels it is the normal time for sleeping. Darkened environments tend to increase melatonin release, and for that reason, it is important to ensure your environment is sufficiently darkened to assist with sleep, and help fight insomnia. Despite this naturally occurring melatonin, it has proven helpful for many to use melatonin supplements prior to sleeping, to increase the depth of their sleep, or to help them get a better sleep. There are numerous melatonin supplements available, and using them periodically may offer some assistance to finding a better sleep. Most studies have indicated there are little to know addictive qualities to using melatonin, and it is widely recommended as the most popular sleeping supplement to help people fight insomnia.
Recommendation – try taking melatonin in smaller doses to improve your quality of sleep, and help you get a better sleep and fight insomnia.
These general recommendations and tips are some of the most popular ideas offered by therapists as solutions to those suffering from insomnia, or those looking to find a better sleep. We hope the ideas provide you some solace, and let us know your thoughts, as we love to hear your experiences, or any other suggestions you may have to help others get a better sleep and fight insomnia.
Join us for the latest tips, articles and product ideas, and stay in touch with the latest ideas and solutions to getting a better sleep.