11 Practical Tips For Dealing With Insomnia

Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders. Today, it’s estimated that over 60 million people in the United States suffer from insomnia.

Fortunately, insomnia can be treated in a variety of ways. While lifestyle changes aren’t always the answer, they can help resolve many different cases of insomnia.

Valuable tips for those who suffer from insomnia.

  1. Craft a proper sleep schedule

If you struggle with insomnia, creating a sleep schedule can help train your body to fall asleep and wake up naturally.

To start, determine how many hours of sleep you need each night. While all bodies are different, the average adult requires 7 – 9 hours.

With the number of hours you need in mind, choose a time to go to bed each night and set an alarm for when you will wake up each morning. If possible, avoid busy activities before you need to sleep, and conversely, fill your mornings with activities that will require you to get up.

  1. Stick to your sleep schedule

A good sleep schedule will only help you combat insomnia, so long as you follow it strictly and don’t make exceptions.

This means eliminating naps from your daily routine. Saving all of your rest for the evenings will make it easier to fall asleep come nighttime.

Also, while it may be tempting to stay up late or hit the snooze button during the weekends, this can easily disrupt the sleeping patterns your body is developing. Hold fast to your sleep schedule—seven days of every week!

  1. Create a calming environment

It’s true that your sleeping environment can prevent you from getting the rest you need. If your bedroom is too bright, too noisy, too warm, or too cold, you might struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep. Create a bedroom environment that allows you to get your best rest.

As you’re preparing to go to bed, you can also take up calming activities that will facilitate a better night’s sleep—whether it’s taking a warm bath, listening to relaxing music, or performing some light yoga or meditation.

  1. Check out your bed

The quality of your bed can play a significant role in your ability to sleep. If your bed is too firm, too soft, too hot, or makes you feel uncomfortable in any way, consider upgrading to a new mattress.

Similarly, take a look at your pillows, sheets and sleepwear. If these items are considerably worn or haven’t been replaced in a while, they may also be contributing to your lack of sleep.

  1. Identify any stressors

For many people, insomnia is the result of worry, anxiety, or stress. One of the best ways to fight off insomnia is to identify any stressors that could be deterring you from getting a full night’s rest.

Know what they are, and if possible, try to address them throughout the day so that they are not as heavy on your mind during the night.

  1. Limit your caffeine intake

Caffeine is a stimulant, meaning it keeps you alert and blocks adenosine—a sleep-promoting chemical.

Some people experience the effects of caffeine for up to 24 hours. Know your body and its reaction to caffeine so that you can either regulate how often you take caffeine or eliminate it from your diet completely.

Remember, caffeine is not only present in coffee but also in teas, sodas, energy drinks, and more!

  1. Throw away the cigarettes

Similar to caffeine, nicotine is a stimulant. Those who smoke cigarettes not only face the negative health implications of the habit but may also struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep.

If you’re a smoker who battles insomnia, it’s likely in your best interest to get rid of the cigarettes. If you’re unable to quit right away, avoid smoking before going to sleep.

  1. Maintain a healthy diet

If you have insomnia, one of the first things you should do is evaluate your diet, as a poor diet is a common culprit.

First, start cutting out as many unhealthy food choices as possible—junk food, bad sugars, and even alcohol. While alcohol can often help you fall asleep, it can also prevent you from staying asleep.

Also, avoid overeating or over-drinking, particularly in the hours leading up to when you plan to go to bed. While a full stomach or quenched thirst can be comforting, needing to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom quickly throws a wrench in your sleep schedule.

  1. Make a habit of exercising

Frequent exercise can have a positive impact on both your body and mind. It’s recommended that you get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day for a full night’s sleep.

While you should make exercise a regular fixture in your schedule, timing also matters. As exercise releases endorphins and raises your core body temperature, it’s best to exercise at least one or two hours before you plan to sleep—giving your brain enough time to calm down and prepare for recovery.

  1. Don’t be afraid to leave your bed

When you are experiencing a particularly poor night of sleep—whether it’s because you don’t feel tired or because something is on your mind—continuing to lie in bed isn’t always the answer.

Instead, find something to do that might settle your mind, make you feel tired again, and help you fall asleep. It could be a task as simple as getting a glass of water, using the bathroom, or reading a book.

  1. Know when to seek professional help

While some of the aforementioned lifestyle changes can be helpful and should be exhausted when first treating insomnia, there are some cases of insomnia that require different treatment.

Do you sense that your case of insomnia could be due to a more serious issue or underlying health condition, or that your insomnia is severely impacting your ability to function or perform routine tasks?

Certain signs indicate that it might be time to seek professional help for your sleep disorder—whether it’s from a sleep specialist, doctor, or therapist.