Having trouble sleeping? You’re not alone. One in three people reportedly suffers from insomnia. Making intelligent lifestyle choices can help you fall – and stay asleep. Here are 7 strategies to help conquer insomnia, including a few you hopefully haven’t yet considered.
1. Aim for a daily benchmark of 7 hours of sleep.
This includes sleeping in segments. (A 10-minute nap can reportedly do wonders, reports Business Insider.) Your health will thank you. “The lowest mortality and morbidity is with seven hours,” said Shawn Youngstedt, a professor at the College of Nursing and Health Innovation at Arizona State University Phoenix.
2. Focus on your physical health.
People with insomnia are more likely to have a major depressive illness, according to research from Maurice M. Ohayron, MD, DSC, Ph.D., of the Stanford School of Medicine Sleep Disorders Center. To help heal your spirit from whatever discomfort, agony, stress, or unease you may be experiencing that consequently hinders your ability to sleep, try addressing your emotions before bed. Journaling nightly, taking a solo evening walk or listening to music or a new podcast that uplifts your soul may help clear your mind. Reading materials from authors like Pema Chödrön or Eckhart Tolle – authors who focus on strategies to help quiet the mind during times of great stress – may also prove helpful.
3. Feed your soul.
Instead of popping pills, do some research on dietary changes. Perhaps consider avoiding the consumption of meat, dairy, alcohol, and processed foods. Discuss vitamin and magnesium deficiency with your physician. Walk with a friend, do strength training, and/or stretch. Do what feels good for you and do it often. Consider tracking sleep patterns with a wearable device, such as a Fit Bit. Although not perfect, devices such as these may offer clues about your lifestyle habits – including sleeping habits – that you may be overlooking.
4. Create a bedtime ritual.
Rituals help tell your brain, “Hey, it’s time to sleep.” Turn off phone notifications, make some tea, take a bubble bath, or try a simple meditation exercise before you hit the sheets to truly hit pause on the day.
Try a media detox for one week. Whether you allow yourself one hour a day of social media perusal and television binging, or decide to only restrict your internet use to work emails and texts between family members, a cleanse of constant news consumption may help quiet your mind. If a media detox seems beyond impossible, consider shutting off all electronic devices 2-3 hours before bedtime. At the very least, if you have a television in your bedroom, don’t.
6. Transform your bedroom into a soporific sanctuary.
Shake up your normal slumber routine with something new. Try incorporating the use of a sleep mask, earplugs, a white noise app, a more luxurious sheet set, an extra pillow, or aromatherapy candles into the bedroom. It’s possible that just the right combination (i.e. a sleep mask and the scent of lavender) may help you fall asleep more easily. Use your bed for only one of two things (sleep being one), and pay attention to how you feel when you’re in the bedroom, noticing any pain points. Is there too much clutter on your nightstand or in your dresser? Donate, sell, or throw away items within that particular space that no longer bring you joy. Is the paint color of the walls too bright? Consider spending a Sunday afternoon painting your bedroom walls a calming gray. Sometimes a simple change in your bedroom can make it easier to enjoy spending time there.
7. Go camping.
When all else fails, spend some time under the stars. A new study from BBC claims a weekend of camping helps reset your internal clock. Exposure to the natural rhythms of sunlight says researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder, promotes better overall health and well-being. When the circadian rhythm aligns with what nature intends, we naturally fall asleep earlier, researchers say.
This article is provided by Jacqueline DiChiara
Jackie, an assistant editor at Global Health Care Insights Magazine, is an established healthcare writer whose work has been featured in numerous healthcare industry publications. A former university professor, college lecturer, editor, and copy editor, Jackie has a Bachelor’s degree in English and Theater Arts from Mount Holyoke College and a Master’s degree in Teaching from Fairleigh Dickinson University.