Are you lying awake until 2 am to FINALLY fall asleep and get a whole 1 hour in before you are up again…and then DRAGGING into work the next day? Insomnia is a frustrating and potentially health-damaging condition that's typically marked by an inability to fall or stay asleep. Acute insomnia is occasional difficulty sleeping, while chronic insomnia occurs at least three nights a week over a period of months. That’s a long time to be sleep-deprived. Both can have far-reaching effects, including a loss of efficiency and focus, a bigger appetite that can lead to weight gain, lower immune function, and an increased risk of depression. So how much do we actually need to sleep?
Most health experts say that healthy adults need between seven and eight hours of sleep nightly to maintain optimum health and functioning, but about 30 percent of Americans suffer from insomnia at some point. There are a number of ways you can decrease the time it takes to fall asleep and help ensure that you stay that way until morning so let’s take a look at ‘em so we can get in all the beauty rest we need!
Tidy Up Your Room
Going to bed in a messy, cluttered room can affect how easily you fall asleep. Clutter and chaos in the environment cause clutter and chaos in the brain. Heading to bed in a clean and tidy room can improve your ability to relax and succumb to sleep. Make your bedroom an oasis, a place that you can’t wait to retreat to until the end of the day! Then your brain can easily relax.
Set a Routine
Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day so that your biological clock can anticipate when it's time to start winding down. Develop a soothing bedtime routine that's void of stimulation. Turn off your TV, iPad, and phone and read a book, do some knitting, take a warm bath filled with lots of bubbles to relax you and your inner child, and begin the process of quieting your mind.
Write Every Night
Get a bedtime notebook. Before you get into bed each night, make a list of everything that has you feeling anxious, and make your to-do list for the next day. Keep the notebook and a pen next to your bed in case you think of something else that triggers anxiety or that you're afraid you'll forget to do the next day and which threatens to keep you awake, fretting. I personally do this and use it almost every night. I just lets me release it because it is on the paper and I KNOW I won’t have to try and remember it all night until the morning.
Try Progressive Relaxation
Once you're settled snugly in bed and find that your mind is still alert or you're feeling antsy, lie on your back, close your eyes, and focus your mind on deep, slow breathing. Starting at the top of your head, spend two breaths focusing on relaxing your body, piece by piece. Picture each muscle as you inhale, and imagine all the tension draining away from it as you exhale. Continue down the body until you reach your toes. Chances are, you'll fall asleep somewhere in the mid-section.
Don't Linger in Bed
When you wake up in the morning, get out of bed as quickly as possible to start your day running! Step outside into the sunshine for a few moments to allow the light to trigger alertness and to let your internal clock know it's wakeup time so that in about 15 hours or so, it will naturally begin to wind down for sleep time.
Which one of these sounds like the first one you’ll adopt?
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