According to reports, millennials are the most sleep-deprived generation which has earned them the title of ‘Tired Generation’.
But that does not mean millennials were the only victims of insomnia. The term “insomnia” first appeared in the dictionary in 1623, which means people were in desperate need of sleep even back then.
Here are more facts.
Women usually have more difficulty sleeping than men (however, that doesn’t mean men do not have fewer sleepless nights). In fact, 95% of Americans have accepted that they were affected by insomnia at some point in their lives, which brings us to one of the most frequent questions pertaining to sleep.
Why Do We Have Sleepless Nights?
There are so many reasons that I can think of.
- nurturing relationships
- late-night conversations
- family bereavement
- Addiction to social media
- Mental health disorders
- other emotional and psychological causes
- Work-life imbalance
- worrying about performance
- bad atmosphere at work due to colleagues, bosses
- Medical conditions
- sleep apnea
- chronic pain
- restless leg syndrome
- other conditions
Have you ever had long sleepless nights due to any of the above-mentioned reasons? If you think the answer is yes, then you need to understand that you’ll have to figure out the ideal way to deal with that based on certain changes.
Why? Because your body and mind is unique and it requires you to pay close attention to symptoms.
Even though some of these conditions can’t be fully cured, you can still get rid of certain habits that compromise your sleep.
For example, you may be unaware about your daily caffeine intake which is adding up to your insomnia. Or in the case of social media addiction or binge-watching, by forcing yourselves to stay up longer, you are creating disturbances to your body’s natural clock. Similarly, there are several reasons with several possible solutions.
At times, you may feel like you’ve lost control of your mind and body and will never be able to find peace. Then, the perfect approach is to regulate certain habits that affect your sleep.
Fear not. Read on to know how.
How Do I Stop Tossing and Turning All Night?
Well, it requires years of disciplined training.
Nah! Just kidding.
Here are 12 easy tips that will ensure you sleep like a log provided you follow these regularly.
- Distract yourself and get tired
- Cut out on caffeine
- Don’t drink alcohol
- Have lighter meals
- Make your surroundings dark
- Take a warm bath
- Drink warm milk
- Don’t oversleep
- Take short naps
- Quit smoking
- Consult a therapist
Let’s get started!
Leave your bed
I might have got you confused but I’m not saying it’s time to get yourself a new bed (you should if it’s uncomfortable). What I meant is that instead of feeling anxious around the situation that you’re unable to fall asleep, just get up, do some work to distract yourself.
Or you can listen to some relaxing sleep music to fall asleep to or read a book (please avoid watching TV and of course, fiddling with your phone!). Hopefully, after a while, you’ll feel drowsy, tired or bored. And soon enough, you’ll notice that your bed is calling for you.
When it’s difficult to control your racing mind, meditation can calm your brain. There are different types of meditation such as mindfulness, concentration and guided meditation. You can choose your type of meditation. In the beginning, you may find it difficult but believe me, once you master this art, your life will change.
Likewise, caffeine can stimulate your body and keeps you up. Rather than relaxing your body, it activates you. It’s best to steer clear of drinks with huge caffeine content late in the day.
Alcohol doesn’t help at all either
Alcohol may give you a long sleep but it definitely diminishes your sleep quality. Contrary to popular belief, drinking a pint of alcohol before bed to “have a good round of sleep” is a stupid decision because it obstructs you from reaching your REM sleep (the deepest level of sleep).
Heavy meals are not recommended
A lighter meal will help your digestive system to slow down as opposed to heavy meals. Try to have the last meal of the day at least three hours prior to sleep. Plan your next dinner buffet way ahead and go in early!
Our body is essentially part of nature, and even nature prefers the sun during the day and the moon during night time. That’s how nature works! Also, darkness helps your body to produce melatonin and this “sleep hormone” helps you in regulating your sleep-wake cycle. Speaking of darkness and light, the blue light from your devices such as phones, tablets and laptops can damage your sleep. How do you counter that? Either avoid excessive usage or restrict usage before sleep and use filters that block the blues by triggering the “night mode” settings (the name is different for different phone models but you get the point).
Warm baths before going to bed help
A hot bath can ease your body, and by now I hope you understood that all we need is a relaxed body for a good sleep. Think of yourself as a charming prince or a beautiful princess, light some scented candles (lavender helps women to fall asleep), use some body wash or if you have a bathtub, fill it with rose petals. Or if you don’t want all of these, then leave it, just let the shower tap running. Don’t sleep off and drown in the shower!
You may not like it, but warm milk can do magic!
As your mother used to say/says, “a glass of milk can make you stronger”, it can also aid your sleep. We know milk is a power drink, but a glass of warm milk during the night can help you fall asleep easily. However, on the science side of things, it’s still a debated topic whether milk really helps much in sleeping. Give it a try, who knows, maybe your body may like it.
Analyse your sleep patterns and don’t oversleep
Sometimes, we end up being too tired during the day, we just try to take a nap or two which will compromise a thorough sleep at night. It’s necessary to understand that following a systematic sleep pattern can help you in reducing your insomnia to a greater extent. Try to sleep at the same time every night and also wake up at the same time every day. If you do, your body and mind figures out the right time to hit the hay and shuts you down.
Still need a nap? Keep it short
Afternoon naps can be relaxing, but it can drastically affect the quality of your golden sleep hours. Ideally, try to avoid naps at all costs. It could be hard for you if you’re so used to it. Then, the best thing to do would be to put an alarm and keep it really short.
Smoking is a big NO
If you don’t smoke, feel proud of yourself, and if you smoke, please try to stop it. Compared to non-smokers, smokers are likely to have a hard time at night. Just quit smoking. Your lungs will be in gratitude too.
Consult a sleep therapist
If you have tried to steer clear of all the aforementioned habits and still struggling, it’s time to seek professional help. Sometimes, you require the wisdom of a wizard to know what’s happening inside your body and mind.
I don’t mean to scare you, but a visit to the right therapist is necessary if everything else fails and he or she would be able to diagnose your conditions.
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This is a post by Shahana Khatoon, who studies MA English. She loves to read, write and explore. She believes poetry can cure anything in this world, even sleep deprivation.
The featured image is a work of Vladislav Muslakov.