Don’t stress your body before sleeping
Stressors, chemicals, and feelings can all impact the flow of your circadian rhythm. Whether you consider things like alcohol, exercise or food to be good or bad, you have to consider how hard they’re making your body work as you slip into snooze mode. A good night’s sleep never involves your body working in overdrive.
Alcohol is interesting because people react differently. Some of you understand that it can actually keep you awake, but for others, it’s definitely a depressant. Using a depressant to put you to sleep seems like a logical route to take; then the inability to stay asleep becomes apparent.
Alcohol is a diuretic. If your body is pushing water through your body, it’s having to work too damn hard! This is also a great way to dehydrate yourself, leading to those unbelievably painful cramps that we’ve all come to know and hate. Did I mention that alcohol can further aggravate stressors occurring in your life? Yeah, take a break for a bit. You won’t regret it.
Like alcohol, many of you have a personal relationship with coffee. It’s a stimulant, but sometimes it knocks people out! Also like alcohol, it’s a diuretic that has the potential to exacerbate problems you’re having with stress. It’s important to limit the amount of caffeine you’re having in general, but even more so in the afternoon if you’re looking to sleep.
Big meals before bed? Big no-no.
Feeling bloated or uncomfortable as a result of something you ate is unwelcome enough when you’re conscious. Why are you putting yourself in that position as you’re trying to relax?! On top of that, your body is also working to digest. We’re supposed to be giving our body an opportunity to take a break! Get your last meal in a couple of hours before bedtime, give it time to go through the motions and be strict about it.
Both your conscious and subconscious need to be working together on this one. When you enter your room, is it a place of work? Entertainment? If the answer isn’t a resounding “ sleep! “ then you should be thinking about how to control your space.
It’s obvious that you want to be physically comfortable (I’m very fond of my down comforter and memory foam topper), but being comfortable on a subconscious level is important, too. Do you hate entering your room? Does the physical space elicit discomfort? Anger? Unrest?
Work to make the aesthetic more inviting by reducing clutter and ensuring that there isn’t a sense of claustrophobia every time you lay down. Your bedroom should only be a place of sleep.
Keep the temperature in your room cool. Also, if you can help it, push for natural air.
Now, I understand. Sometimes that’s not an option during the heights of summer or the depths of winter, but fresh air can impact the way that you sleep.
Your Daily Routine
The biggest urge for an insomniac is to get as much sleep as possible-routine be damned! I often hear, “It’s okay! I’ll have a big sleep on the weekend.” You can’t be flippant about this. Your circadian rhythm doesn’t work that way.
Set a time to wake up every morning, add it to your routine and freakin’ stick to it!
We’ve already discussed it, but you need to be doing something every day. Whether it’s as gentle as an evening walk or as intense as a HIIT session in the morning, create a workout routine that can keep you on track.
I understand that some of you think meditation is a very spiritual activity, but many of you don’t realize how practical it is! Using it to restart your mind feels like a form of rest in itself, but you have to connect with it. I’m hesitant to be one of those people that says you “have to do it right,” but here we are. It’s possible (and surprisingly easy) to go through the motions of meditation without giving it enough weight. If you’re someone who’s unable to dedicate fifteen minutes in the morning/evening to sitting quietly and doing nothing, then insomnia will gladly keep its hooks in you.
I’m sure you’ve heard this one, so do it! Replace activities on your phone/tv/computer with reading at around thirty minutes before bed. I lean towards fiction because it’s relaxing. Find a genre that leaves you content and you’ll be drifting off in no time.