How to fall asleep
10 simple ways to beat insomnia
You have been tossing and turning for the past hours. It feels too hot. And then there’s that presentation tomorrow. You look at the watch. It’s 3:36 AM. You should have been asleep ages ago. Does this sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone. Studies have shown that up to 58% of American adults experience regular symptoms of insomnia.
In order to help you out, we have collected 10 simple tips on how to fall asleep. All to help you get a good night’s rest — tonight.
Avoid caffeine, alcohol and tobacco
This article won’t focus on how to fall asleep on caffeine — but rather advise you to steer clear. Avoiding caffeine before bedtime is a no-brainer tip to improve your sleep — but remember that it’s not only coffee and tea that contain caffeine. You can also find it in things like dark chocolate, soft drinks and some pain relievers. Those are all things you should avoid 4–6 hours before bedtime.
Aside from caffeine, you should also try to avoid alcohol and nicotine. Even though alcohol may help you fall asleep, it starts acting as a stimulant after a few hours, hence reducing the quality of your shut-eye. It’s better to opt for a cup of chamomile tea if you’re in the mood for a drink before bedtime.
Make your bedroom sleep friendly
Make sure your bedroom is for sleeping (well, romantic activities are fine too). You have to learn to associate your bed with sleep, and that means avoiding things like bringing work to bed, checking your e-mail or watching TV. Grab a book if you have to, but try to leave tomorrow’s activities alone until tomorrow — and focus on resting.
And if you’re not tired — don’t go to bed. It’s better to spend time elsewhere until you’re ready to welcome Mr. Sandman.
Filter out the light
Darkness is a natural inducer of the hormone melatonin. Melatonin, among other things, acts as a regulator of your natural sleep cycle. If your room is filled with light it suppresses the melatonin production. And this includes the light from screens, such as your phone or computer.
Make sure your sleeping environment is dark and cool, and if possible, that some natural light can sip through the blinds as the sun rises. This will help you wake up naturally.
Establish a good evening routine
It’s not a good idea to stress out before going to bed. Try to get a soothing evening routine that will help you unwind an hour or two before bedtime. Watch your favorite show, read a book or take a bath. If you have something particular on your mind, you could try writing it down. Realize it’s not going to do you any good tonight and it’s better to look at it with fresh eyes in the morning.
Late night snacks — do’s and don’t’s
If you often find yourself hungry before bedtime, don’t go for a heavy late night snack. Opt for something light which contains both carbohydrates and protein. There is some evidence that foods like cherries, which contain melatonin, and milk, which contains tryptophan, can help you sleep better. You should avoid foods that are high in fat, since they may induce heartburn. A sure way to ruin a good night’s rest.
Don’t look at the watch
You may feel like you have a pretty good idea of what time it is — and that you should have been asleep by now. But resist that urge to check your phone or look at the watch. It will only increase your stress and pressure to fall asleep — ultimately proving counterproductive.
Go for a regular sleeping pattern
As much as you can, you should aim for a regular sleeping pattern. Even though it feels great to catch up on a few hours of lost sleep on a Saturday morning, try not to make it too many. If you sleep regularly it will help set your body’s internal clock — making you feel well rested when you wake up. Every day.
Plan your exercise
If you’re following a healthy routine, then exercise is a vital part. It will actually help you sleep better — just don’t do it before bedtime. While you may feel exhausted after a long run, exercise actually makes you feel more alert. So, by all means: keep up the physical activity, but try to squeeze it in during the afternoon, or even in the morning, to get a fresh start of the day.
Adjust the temperature
Have you ever tried sleeping in a hot, non air conditioned room? How did that make you feel? Probably hot and stuffy, while tossing and turning. Try to make sure that you sleep in a cool room to maximise your quality of sleep. It’s better to tuck yourself in a little extra than to fight the sweltering heat.
Reconsider your naps
Are you having one of those days when you just want to collapse after coming home from work? Maybe you should consider having a cup of tea or going for a refreshing walk instead. If you nap too late in the afternoon this reduces your natural sleep drive and may come to haunt you when your natural bedtime actually approaches.
If you have tried these tips and still suffer from regular bouts of insomnia, you might want to consider contacting a physician. Sleep is absolutely vital for good health — and something you shouldn’t compromise with.
As always — don’t hesitate to contact any of the competent experts that we have on the RingMD team — today. We are here to help — 24/7.
Sleep well and stay healthy!