Do you lie awake in your bed wondering if you will ever fall asleep? Do you wake up in the middle of the night and have a hard time going back to sleep? If you answered yes, you are not alone. Up to 95% of Americans have difficulty sleeping at some point during their lives. In this blog, we will look at some lifestyle changes that can contribute to decreasing insomnia and give you a better night’s rest.
Caffeine and alcohol increase insomnia
Caffeine is a stimulant that can help give you energy during the day. However, drinking caffeine in the evening also makes it more difficult to fall asleep at night. Cut down on caffeine intake from coffee, energy drinks, and sodas during the day and avoid it altogether in the evening. Skip the nightcap before bed too, because alcohol also makes insomnia worse. It keeps you from getting good REM sleep, which is important for mental focus, concentration, learning, and memory. You might want to try drinks like chamomile tea, tart cherry juice, or a mug of warm milk at bedtime instead.
Create a restful sleeping environment
Your bedroom should be a peaceful place for rest and sleep. Generally, a cool, quiet, and dark room is considered to be best for sleeping. Make sure that your mattress is in good shape, too. If your mattress is sloping, saggy or more than 8 years old, you should consider replacing it with a new one. Modern memory foam mattresses have soft cushioning top layers that contour to your body and feel cool against your skin. Underneath, a high-density support foam layer supports your full body weight and prevents you from sinking into the mattress. A sleek set of clean sheets will also help you rest easily.
Turn off the electronics
Many people believe that watching TV or scrolling through social media before bed helps one fall asleep. While it is exhausting your eyes and mind, it’s not the healthy way of doing so. The blue light that is emitted from the phone not only disrupts and damages your retinas, but it decreases melatonin and can make it harder to wake up in the morning. This is also true for TV sounds that surround your sleep throughout the night. Because there are so many sounds and lights in the room, you don’t fall into a full REM sleep. It’s important to set a TV timer or break the habit of having a TV on before bed at all. Great substitutes are reading a few pages of a book, working on a puzzle, or journaling – all of these should be on paper. This will relax your mind and eyes without the extra damage, helping you feel more rested the next morning!
Have a regular bedtime routine
A consistent sleep and wake schedule helps synchronize your body’s biological clock so you can enjoy better sleep. It may be helpful to set an alarm for bedtime as well as in the morning. A regular nighttime ritual should start about an hour before you go to bed. Resist the temptation to watch TV or check your phone one last time before going to bed. Screens emit short wavelength blue light that suppresses melatonin and keeps the brain alert. Instead, you can do some gentle yoga, enjoy a warm bath, or listen to quiet music to relax your mind and body. You might even want to try this 2-minute routine of muscle relaxation, breathing and visualization:
2-minute relaxation bedtime routine
- Sit on the edge of your bed. Make sure your phone is silenced, and your alarm is set for the morning.
- Now relax your facial muscles. Tighten them up in a wincing motion and then slowly let them naturally loosen.
- Once your face is relaxed, let gravity pull your shoulders naturally toward the ground. Let your arms dangle too, one side at a time.
- While you are doing this, slowly breathe in and out as you listen to the sound of your breath. With each breath, let your chest relax further and then let gravity relax your thighs and lower legs.
- Once your body is fully relaxed, try to clear your mind for 10 seconds. If thoughts come naturally, let them pass–just keep your body loose and limp. After a few more seconds your mind should feel more at peace.
- Now picture a peaceful scene like a calm lake with clear blue skies above you. If you can’t visualize this, you can chant “Don’t think, Don’t think, Don’t think” for 10 seconds instead.
- And that’s it. When you’re done, lay down and turn off the bedside light. Ideally, you will fall asleep within a few minutes.
Having a regular schedule and a calming routine at bedtime can help you sleep better at night. Caffeine and alcohol will make insomnia worse but fans and dark curtains can help keep you cool and comfortable. A saggy mattress and old sheets will do nothing to help you sleep either! A waterproof mattress is a good idea to ensure that you always have a clean, dry, comfortable surface to sleep on. SaniSnooze™ mattresses have multiple layers of CertiPUR-US memory foam and soft-touch waterproof covers. Lifestyle changes can help relieve insomnia and improve your sleep quality. However, if your sleep difficulties don’t improve after trying the tips listed above, you may want to consult your physician or a sleep specialist.
**The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. If you are having a severe and sudden change in physical or mental health, please call 911, contact a local emergency facility or consult with your doctor. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider, and never disregard the advice given because of information you have received from our website.**