Updated March 6, 2020 You feel tired all day long, but once your head hits the pillow at night, you’re wide awake. Or maybe you fall asleep easily, but wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep. If you’re reading this post, these scenarios probably sound familiar. Insomnia is a condition that affects most people at some point in their lives. The good news is there are many simple ways to deal with insomnia and get a good night’s sleep. 1. Optimize Your Sleep Environment Most people underestimate the importance of a good sleep environment. Insomnia may feel like a problem that is all in your head, but your surroundings play a role, too. Some best practices for your sleep environment include: Make the bedroom a place for sleep only— not a place for watching television, texting friends, catching up on work, etc. Set the thermostat to a temperature between 60 and 67 degrees. Use blackout curtains to make your bedroom as dark as possible. Turn off any other lights in the room or hallway. If you’re not able to darken your surroundings, use an eye mask. If you can hear busy streets or other distracting sounds from your bedroom, use a pair of earplugs to muffle the outside noise. Find the best mattress, bedding, and pajamas for your needs. If you wake up feeling hot at night, use moisture-wicking or temperature-regulating fabrics to keep you cool through the night. 2. Maintain a Regular Sleep Schedule If you wake up early on weekdays and sleep in on the weekends, you are doing your body a disservice. Consistency pays off when it comes to insomnia. Choose a time to go to sleep and a time to wake up, then stick to them. Soon, your circadian rhythm will adjust to this new routine and you will begin to fall asleep and wake up at these times naturally. 3. Cut Down on Caffeine Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others. Keep track of your caffeine intake and sleep patterns. If you start noticing a pattern of poor sleep on the days when you stop for coffee on the way home from work, it’s a good indication you should limit caffeine. Even eating dark chocolate after dinner can be stimulating to the nervous system and impact sleep quality. If you have a sensitivity to caffeine, keep your consumption limited to mornings. 4. Stay Active Don’t work out right before bedtime, but do make time for exercise daily. Regular exercise is one of the best ways to prevent insomnia. Not only will you get more hours of sleep with exercise, but you will also sleep more soundly. 5. Don’t Eat Before Bedtime When your digestive system is working overtime, it can impact your sleep. If you make a habit of eating and then lying down shortly afterward, you can develop gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) and suffer from heartburn. This occurs because when you’re flat on your back, acid from the stomach can flow up to the esophagus, causing irritation. Watch your drinking before bedtime, too— if you end your day with a glass of water or a cup of herbal tea, you may find yourself waking up to use the bathroom a few hours after falling asleep. 6. Reduce Stress Stress is a significant cause of insomnia. Relieving anxiety is easier said than done, but here are some proven strategies to help calm your mind before bedtime: Use techniques like progressive muscle relaxation and deep breathing to clear the mind and release tension from the body. If you find this type of relaxation difficult because of the stillness it requires, try gentle stretches. If a mental to-do list keeps you up at night, write down what’s on your mind so you can tackle those tasks in the morning. Avoid stressful situations and conversations before bedtime. Don’t check in on work at the end of the day, and if social media leaves you feeling keyed up, skip it, too. Implement a calming bedtime routine. This could include a warm bath at night or reading a book. Take up the practice of journaling. This is particularly helpful if you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back asleep because your mind is racing. Get out of bed if you can’t fall asleep after about 20 minutes. Trying to fall asleep when you can’t makes you even more stressed out. Leave your bedroom and read a book, do some knitting, or work on a puzzle— any activity which calms you and doesn’t involve screentime will work. Cognitive behavioral therapy with a qualified therapist can also help those dealing with lack of sleep caused by stress and anxiety. 7. Be Mindful of Naps When you are suffering from sleep deprivation, it’s tempting to take naps to catch up on your sleep. While napping is certainly helpful, it’s important to be mindful of when you’re taking your naps. If you’re chronically sleep-deprived, feel tired enough to fall asleep, and you have the opportunity to do so, by all means, nap. When your body needs rest, you should listen to it. However, it’s best not to get too carried away with mid-day naps. Meaning, your day-time shut-eye shouldn’t last for hours and shouldn’t be too close to bedtime. A good rule of thumb is to schedule naps 5 to 6 hours before it’s time to go to bed. That way, your sleep is not hindered when bedtime rolls around. 8. Limit Screen Time at Night The blue light emitted by televisions, computers, and mobile devices can disrupt the body’s natural sleep cycle. This occurs because the blue light impacts the body’s production of melatonin. Instead of watching television or scrolling through the latest news on your phone, try reading a physical book. 9. See Your Doctor If you’ve tried these strategies and still suffer from wakefulness at night, make an appointment with your doctor for a physical exam. Medical causes for insomnia include: Chronic pain Overactive thyroid Sleep apnea Restless leg syndrome GERD Heart disease Mental health conditions like anxiety and depression Medications with stimulant side effects, including cold and allergy medications, antidepressants, and steroids When a medical condition is at the root of your insomnia, your doctor can work with you to find a solution. About Insomnia Insomnia is a sleep disorder that occurs on its own or as a symptom of another medical condition. When you have insomnia, you suffer from one or more of the following: Trouble falling asleep Difficulty staying asleep Waking up too early Not feeling well-rested the next day Pervasive sleepiness throughout the day Difficulty concentrating Irritability Poor performance at work or school Acute insomnia is a short-term condition, usually brought on by stress or illness. Chronic insomnia is when you have trouble sleeping at least three nights a week for at least three months. Although insomnia may not seem serious, it can impact your quality of life and overall well-being. Sleep is critical to your health. Inadequate rest leads to an increased risk of serious health problems like high blood pressure and heart disease. You also have a higher likelihood of accidents while driving. Risk factors for insomnia include being a woman and being over the age of 60. Stress, mental and physical conditions, and irregular schedules can also put you at a higher risk of insomnia. Common Questions About Insomnia Here are some questions you might have about insomnia: Can Insomnia Be Cured? Yes, insomnia can be cured. It is easily treated with the sleep habits and lifestyle changes outlined above. If your insomnia does not resolve after implementing those changes, your doctor may prescribe sleep medication to help you fall asleep easier and stay asleep through the night. How Do You Deal With Severe Insomnia? If your sleep problems are so severe they impact your ability to function, make an appointment with your primary care provider for a physical examination. How Can I Fight Insomnia Naturally? The tips listed in this article are all-natural ways to fight insomnia. Keeping a regular sleep schedule, exercising throughout the day, and practicing good sleep hygiene are some of the best ways to naturally cure insomnia. Relaxation techniques like breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation are also helpful. Most insomniacs are able to treat their sleep troubles without the use of over-the-counter or prescription sleep aids. How Do You Fall Asleep in 5 Minutes? Progressive muscle relaxation and deep breathing are two simple ways to fall asleep quickly. To do progressive muscle relaxation, lay on your back in bed with your arms at your side. Starting at your feet, tighten your muscles, then consciously relax them. Move up your body, tensing and relaxing each muscle group as you go until you reach your head. There are many breathing exercises to help you fall asleep. The easiest is to take long, deep breaths through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat until you start drifting off to sleep. Deal With Insomnia and Sleep Better Tonight Because insomnia has many potential causes, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for it. Try implementing the strategies listed in this article before turning to sleeping pills. Good sleep hygiene practices, like limiting screentime before bed and adhering to a sleep schedule, will benefit anyone. If stress and negative thoughts are causing your insomnia, relaxation exercises and journaling may help. Sometimes, an underlying medical condition causes insomnia. In these cases, it is important to see your doctor for a physical exam and diagnosis. If you implement these simple strategies for overcoming insomnia, you’ll reap the rewards of better sleep. This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional. Comments Cancel replyLeave a Comment Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Name Email I agree to the Terms and Conditions of this website.