Insomnia, it is a dirty word. The results of it are poor concentration, lethargy, listlessness and lack of motivation and energy. There are many causes to sleep problems, but you can help get yourself back to a full night's sleep, and feel better and more energized in the process. Here are seven ways to improve your sleep.
1. Determine what kind of sleep issues you are having.
A sleep diary is invaluable in helping you get your sleep problems sorted. Are you having trouble getting to sleep? Are you waking frequently at night? How much caffeine or alcohol are you consuming? Did you have a stressful day? Keeping a sleep diary will help you determine and get to the bottom of your insomnia. You can take it to your doctor or health practitioner in order to help determine the best course of treatment for your sleep problems.
2. Get help from your doctor or health care practitioner.
You doctor can investigate with you a variety of ways to treat your sleep problems, and armed with your sleep diary, can be better prepared to decide a better course of treatment with your co-operation. You may also be referred to a sleep clinic, where you will either stay overnight for monitoring, or be assigned a special sleep monitor to use in your own home.
3. Try Complementary Therapies to Improve Your Sleep
With your doctor's knowledge (so that you do not get any medication interactions and side effects) you can go to a naturopath, who can help you get some natural treatments such as melatonin or a special herb mix to help you get to sleep. They can also prescribe you some relaxation therapy ideas, and help you to improve your sleep hygiene.
4. Engage in some relaxation before bed.
Christian meditation, or AM / PM PraiseMoves will help you relax before bed, and settle down for a better night's sleep. Meditation and PraiseMoves are renovated for their ability to help you relax, alleviate anxiety and feel soothed prior to going to bed for the night. Feel the tension dissolve away as you stretch and meditate to a relaxing DVD.
5. Clean up your bedroom.
Is your bedroom associated with stress? Do you have an overload of technology in your bedroom with flashing lights everywhere? LED lights have been shown to activate the serotonin production center in your brain, inhibiting the release of melatonin (the sleep hormone) and keeping you alert and awake. Ditch the technology out of your room, and do not do any work related activities in your room. Your bedroom should be associated with calm and peace.
6. Watch what you eat and drink, and kick bad habits to the gutter.
Excess caffeine will pump adrenalin through your body, and keep you on high alert. Many medical practitioners and naturopaths recommend you restrict the amount of caffeine you consume, to prevent you from being too anxiously prior to going to bed, and that being unable to fall sleep. Too much alcohol also affects the quality of your sleep in a negative way, so restrict or give away alcohol while you are trying to sort out your sleep problems. Nicotine also acts on the body to keep you awake, and affects your airway and breathing. Talk to your doctor about quitting cigarettes, so that you can improve your health generally, breathe easier and be able to sleep. Eat a nutritious diet with quality – plenty of fruit and vegetables, lean proteins and complex grains and carbohydrates – as recommended by nutritional councils. Improving the quality of your nutrition will help you lose weight, and reduce the side effects of obesity or excess weight on the quality of your sleep.
7. Create a sleep routine.
A relaxing routine, where you go to bed at the same time, get up at the same time, so your circadian rhythms stay steady is vital in maintaining good quality sleep. If you also have some relaxing bedtime rituals, such as a warm bath before bed, and doing some gentle stretches, having a warm beverage without any caffeine in it, and winding down for the evening will help your body prepare physiologically for sleep. If you're busy about anything, write it down, and set it aside. If you can not get to sleep, do something really repetitive and dull, such as ironing, until you feel sleepy again, and then go to sleep. It is also recommended that you do not catnap during the day for periods any longer than 20 minutes, as this will negatively affect your ability to get to sleep.
There are many ways to help work with your health practitioner to get the bottom of your insomnia. Managing your stress levels, gentle exercise, a clean and healthy diet and creating relaxing rituals before bed, and having a peaceful bedroom environment conducive to sleep will all help you regenerate that restorative night's sleep, and kick insomnia out of the bedroom for good.