Almost every person has at least once faced the fact that he can’t sleep. But sometimes a one-time action turns into a nightmare of several nights. Here’s what to do if you have chronic insomnia.
What Causes Chronic Insomnia and How It’s Dangerous
To live and work to the fullest, man needs four basic resources: oxygen, water, food and sleep. If we don’t get enough of one of these resources, the consequences for our health can be disastrous. And sleep is just as important as nutrition in this regard.
Normally, a healthy person has no trouble falling asleep; he or she isn’t even aware of them. However, the older we get, the more likely we are to join the sad statistics of people who count sheep, twist from side to side and are sadly aware of how rapidly the hours allocated for sleep are melting.
Why does this happen? The reasons may be different:
- Unhealthy habits: coffee in the afternoon, too rich a dinner, a passive lifestyle.
- Chronically disrupted routines: daily work, late going to bed, long daytime sleep, too much betting at 20Bet, the need to wake up at night.
- Mental disorders: stress, anxiety, extreme excitability, depression.
- Physiological disorders: hormonal failure, vitamin and micronutrient deficiencies, apnea attacks, pain, itching, etc.
- Taking some medications.
Whatever the reason, eliminating it is the first priority if you want to keep your health and the ability to cope with the day’s tasks to the fullest. Practice shows that the most common obstacles to sleep are the consequences of a certain lifestyle and constant stress. As for the second point, it’s better to consult a specialist, but with the first point you can cope with yourself.
It’s important to understand that each person has his own biological rhythms. For some people it’s normal to go to bed at one o’clock in the morning and to get up after ten in the morning. The main thing is to have an opportunity to “finish” your norm.
Steps That Lead to Sleep
Since you have probably already convinced yourself that “counting sheep” is useless, we suggest trying a systematic approach to solving the problem.
What You Can Do During the Day
Lead a healthy lifestyle and replace unhealthy habits with healthy ones.
Try to always get up around the same time and eliminate afternoon naps. Even on weekends and holidays. This practice will help your brain adjust its circadian rhythms.
Change your “caffeine regimen,” at least temporarily. Move your consumption of coffee, strong tea and chocolate to the first half of the day. Many people can afford these pleasures in the evening. But there are also those for whom the amount and timing of caffeine intake is important.
Add more exercise. It has been scientifically proven that people who lead passive lifestyles are more likely to suffer from insomnia. Even a short workout or walk will give you a chance to get a better night’s sleep.
Try to get things out of bed. Let the brain clearly learn that it’s a place only for sleeping, not for drawing, eating, watching TV or playing with a console.
Mindfulness practice will be helpful. During the day, ask yourself every 20-30 minutes: “Why am I doing this? Because I want to, or because I’m used to it and everyone else does it?” Moreover, “What will it do for me? Will it help me fall asleep on time in the evening or hinder me?” The result may surprise you and help you change your routine.
What to Do in the Evening
Gently and calmly prepare your body for the night/sleep switch.
Take a walk. If you haven’t done it during the day, it’s time to lightly load the body up in the evening (without being fanatical!). Let it work, get a little tired, and signal your brain to rest.
Have a snack a couple of hours before bedtime. An empty stomach is a bad assistant in the business of falling asleep. However, choose food that is not too heavy and stimulating (minimum fat, sugar, and heavily digestible proteins). Don’t drink too much before bedtime, either.
Dim the lights in the room. When the lighting is bright, the brain signals wakefulness, so it’s advisable to turn on a nightlight or soft light to set yourself up for a quick nap. You may enjoy spending your evenings by candlelight.
Give up gadgets an hour before bedtime. Psychologists recommend putting away all screen devices and switching to other activities.
Take a shower or a relaxing bath for 10-15 minutes. The water should be slightly cool, but not hot (otherwise, it will serve as a signal to the body that it is not time to sleep yet).
Each person has his or her own “windows” of sleep, which open in the evening at intervals of 40-90 minutes. It’s useful to learn to recognize your body’s signals that tell you it’s time for bed.
Tips That Come in Handy Just Before Bedtime
Create the most relaxing environment possible in the room:
- Provide access to fresh air. Leave a window open or turn on the air conditioner if it’s hot outside. Don’t forget a humidifier or air washer.
- Eliminate sources of noise. Earplugs are the quickest way to deal with the problem of unnecessary sounds, but it’s even better to simply adjust everything in the house so that there are no unnecessary sources of irritation to the nervous system.
- Try sleeping alone. You may just be disturbed by your partner/child/pet.
- Stop the “thought stirrer” and try to reduce your stress level. To do this, there are many different relaxation techniques related to bodily sensations: journaling, meditation, relaxation, special types of breathing, etc. Don’t try to fall asleep, it creates unnecessary tension. Just let your mind float slowly without clinging to your thoughts.
What to Do if All the Previous Points Don’t Help
If you have made every effort and are leading a healthy lifestyle, but the insomnia is not going anywhere, it’s time to make an appointment with a therapist, neurologist, or endocrinologist. The first three specialists will help to identify the cause of the problem and choose the most effective scheme of medical treatment, and with the help of the latter you will be able to cope with too strong emotions, which also affect the hormonal background.