Sleep is so important for our overall health that we all have natural circadian rhythms to regulate our sleep and wake cycle. Not having enough rest, at least 7 to 8 hours a day, can negatively impact our physical, emotional, and mental health. Which can result to poor immune system, diseases, lethargy, depression, irritability, lack of concentration, and memory loss to mention a few.
That is why it is crucial to manage insomnia as soon as it occurs. Especially because it can lead to a long-term or chronic sleeping disorder. The main triggering factor of lack of sleep is stress. It could be physical, mental, or emotional stress. Like a snoring partner, barking dogs in the neighbourhood, uncomfortable bed, worrying about family problems, change in work schedule, or jetlag.
In most cases, people who suffer from insomnia return to their normal sleeping pattern once their stress has been sorted out. However, a supposedly short-term sleep deprivation can turn into recurring restless nights as the more nights without enough rest causes more stress.
Here are helpful tips you can do to manage insomnia attacks.
Getting off the bed. Tossing and turning around waiting to eventually visit dreamland will only make you more stress. Because most likely you will only worry about how many hours you have left for slumber. And how are you going to work efficiently if you feel exhausted and drowsy the whole day. Get off your bed and find a relaxing activity to keep you calm until you feel sleepy. Journaling, reading, listening to soft music, and meditation are proven to help people sleep according to studies.
Make your bedroom a good sleeping environment. Cool down temperature, close the windows, and turn off the lights. This is the recommended environment to promote sleep. It minimizes stimuli that can disturb your process of drifting off. Turning off or using dim lights also releases melatonin which is a sleep hormone that helps your body feel calm and fall asleep.
Avoid caffeinated foods and beverages. Coffee, tea, and chocolates are known to keep the body active and alert. So, it is best to save them for morning and afternoon. It is also helpful to avoid consuming sugary, spicy, and oily foods as they can cause poor sleep quality with more night time awakening.
Take a warm bath. A hot shower or bath even for less than 10 minutes is helpful for a long and better sleep. It improves blood circulation, cools down body temperature, and makes you feel calm and easily fall asleep. The best hot shower or bath time is one to two hours before bedtime according to researchers.
Diffusing lavender oil into the air. The use of lavender scents is known for its calming effect which is beneficial in promoting sleep. It also improves mood and relieves stress and anxiety which are two common factors that triggers insomnia. Aside from diffusing, you can also use lavender oil by applying it in your skin through a massage or gentle rubbing. Mix a few drops of lavender essential oil with a carrier oil, coconut or olive oil, when applying it on your skin.
Exercise regularly. Working out especially in the morning and outdoor is a relaxing activity that relieves stress and makes the body feels calm. It also increases blood circulation and releases endorphins which tell the body that it’s day time and time to get active. This helps the body regulate the sleep and wake cycle. And enable it to release more melatonin at night, sleeping hormone.
These are all natural ways to improve sleep and fight insomnia attacks. They are better methods than relying on sleeping pills as the medication can only offer a short-term solution. Your body can quickly develop tolerance to the medicine reducing the sedative effect of the pills. This can lead to a higher and higher dosage to get the same result, until your body develops resistance to its effect. In addition, sleeping pills comes with side effects headaches, dizziness, daytime fatigue, and constipation to mention a few.
These insomnia tips are helpful for both short-term and long-term insomnia. However, if you continue having trouble sleeping even after applying the advices above, it is best to consult a doctor. Especially if you’re experiencing insomnia for more than three weeks. The sleeping disorder can be an indication of other health issues like depression, anxiety, or an overactive thyroid.