If you’ve ever had trouble falling asleep or you wake up in the morning feeling more tired than you were when you went to bed, insomnia may be the culprit. Defined simply as the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep at night, insomnia can lead to lethargy and mood swings during the day. And because every person is different, insomnia might be a problem for you whether you’re getting four hours of sleep every night or eight. It’s less about the amount of sleep you get and more about the quality of sleep.
If you experience these symptoms on a regular basis, you may have insomnia.
1. It usually takes an hour or more to fall asleep at bedtime
2. You wake up frequently during the night
3. You cannot fall back asleep if you wake during the middle of the night
4. You wake up very early in the morning even though you feel tired
5. You rely on sleeping pills or alcohol to fall asleep
6. You have difficulty concentrating during the day
If these side effects feel familiar, we recommend that you contact your doctor to discuss chronic insomnia. Sometimes insomnia can indicate other medical concerns, and a doctor will be able to rule out sleep disorders like sleep apnea or a hormone imbalance. However, if a serious illness is ruled out, here are some habits you can implement today to start sleeping better:
1. Limit caffeine and alcohol
Many people don’t realize that caffeine remains in your system for up to twelve hours, which means that an afternoon cup of coffee can still be with you at bedtime. Try to drink caffeinated beverages in the morning so your body has time to process it before trying to go to bed. Furthermore, while alcohol can help a person fall asleep, the quality of the sleep will be far inferior. Alcohol disrupts a normal sleep cycle and prevents your body from getting the full benefits of a good night’s sleep, so it’s best if you don’t consume alcohol within three hours of going to bed.
Regular exercise, even as little as ten minutes a day, has been shown to alleviate insomnia. A mixture of cardio and strength training will give you the best results, and adding yoga and meditation practices will help your body and mind recover. These exercises can also reduce anxiety, which could be a contributing factor toward insomnia.
3. Turn off the screens
We’re all guilty of turning to our phones or tablets when we can’t fall asleep, but these devices may actually be making our insomnia worse. The bright lights of a mobile device send signals to your brain that it is daytime, thereby making you stay awake even longer. So if you’re having trouble sleeping, try getting up for twenty minutes for a cup of tea or to read a book, then try going back to bed. This can help you separate waking activities from sleep.
4. Invest in the right mattress
Every person has a unique set of comfort needs. Some people sleep on their back or stomach rather than their side, and hip or joint mobility can keep others up late due to pain and discomfort. So instead of using an old mattress or one that isn’t right for you, invest in a sleep system that will help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Whether you prefer memory foam, hybrid, or other specialty materials like latex, Sleep USA has an option in your price range.
Restful sleep leads to happier, more productive days. So don’t settle for poor sleep and resign yourself to a lifetime of insomnia. Try combining healthier habits with the right mattress and see what a difference a good night’s rest can make!