For all of you music fans out there – yes, the article title is also the title of that Eel’s song we loved back in the 90’s. Yes, even rock stars have a hard time sleeping. And yes, that song might as well be the anthem of all insomniacs everywhere as they sing “I need some sleep/ It can’t go on like this/ I tried counting sheep/ But there’s one I always miss.”
At some point in our lives, we all had to struggle with getting quality sleep. There are multitude of reasons for not being able to get the required amount of shut eye we need – life changes, age, health problems, changes in diet, over zealous caffeine consumption, and stress are some of the more common reasons.
The Mayo Clinic defines Insomnia as “a persistent disorder that can make it hard to fall asleep, hard to stay asleep or both, despite the opportunity for adequate sleep.” So whenever you think you’ve rested but wake up feeling unrefreshed, that’s a bout with Insomnia right there. Rinse and repeat everyday and you’ve got impaired judgement and chronic tiredness, which takes a major toll on your ability to function and/or make sound decisions. That kind of sleep deprivation can really negatively impact your health and affect your mood, work performance, and quality of life.
We all long for restful sleep. And for some, it’ a dream to blissfully dream the night away. Here are eight tips to hopefully help you sleep better at night:
- Sleep Hygiene – This doesn’t mean scrubbing yourself clean before going to bed, but yes, a nice warm bath would help (more on that later). Sleep Hygiene means developing habits that are conducive for restful sleep later. Building better bedtime rituals can help you manage your sleeping schedule. Start putting yourself in a sleep mindset. An example of this could be: A nice warm bath, then brushing your teeth, changing into pajamas, turning off all the lights, and crawling into a nice warm bed.
- Sleepy Time – whatever you do, keep to a sleep schedule. I know, I know! We all like to sleep in during the weekends. But for the sake of battling insomnia, let’s all try to stick to a sleep schedule people! Why? Well for one, it trains your mind and body to expect sleep, like reprogramming your brain that’s hardwired to resist sleep.
- Keep Other Light Sources Off and Out – yep, I’m talking about your phone. Yes, no exceptions. Put the screen down and step away from the phone with your hands up! Yes, kindles, ebook readers, and tablets count. Also, be on the lookout for other light sources like alarm clocks, light streaming in from the lamppost, your glow in the dark pajamas…
- Keep It Dreamy – invest in quality bedroom pieces: a good bed, great sheets,, lots of pillows, black out curtains, a humidifier. You can also try a white noise machine. For me, the background noise a fan makes is white noise enough.
- Stop Taking Long Naps – most of the time, naps are very healthy and helpful. It boosts our productivity and makes us less grumpy and more tolerable/tolerant. However, if you have chronic insomnia, taking long naps is a bad idea. Long naps reset your sleep cycle and you’ll find yourself having a hard time falling asleep at night.
- Check Your Food and Drinks – coffee is not the only culprit. There is hidden caffeine from everyday food sources. Tea, chocolates, even that brownie can have caffeine. If you can, eliminate caffeine from your diet altogether. If you’re like me, you’re going to find it very hard to function without caffeine. But if you must, limit your caffeine intake to 3 cups a day, and never after 2pm.
- Easy Does It – stay away from stress triggers. This will be extremely hard if the stress trigger is a). A family member b). A boss or coworker c.) generally someone you need to interact with everyday. If you can, try to manage stress. Stress is one of the major culprits of sleep deprivation in so many people. If we can all manage stress, fewer people would have insomnia… if you’ve found something that works for you and you’ve managed to do away with stress, please, share your tips.
- Exercise – Final tip, and one that would do wonders for insomniacs everywhere: Exercise! Physical activity (just not so close to within 4hrs before bedtime) will boost endorphins and serotonin. Both of which, you’re going to need to get restful sleep. It doesn’t have to be crossfit olympic level exercise. You can start off with a brisk walk or a light jog – both count and can help you greatly.
There, hopefully these tips help you get some well deserved shut eye. I’m still trying to figure out the combination that works for me. Let me know what works for you!
Remember: Stay Humble, Hustle Hard. Good luck!
Written by Jaie O. – The Help