19 Things to Try When You Can’t Sleep (Better Than Staring at the Clock)
According to an Irish proverb,
“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.”
Sleep is one of the best tools we can use to totally change our lives. Getting enough sleep is much more than staying fresh in the morning or having a sense of wellbeing. Sleep is an integral part of our lifecycle. Sleep connects both our bodies and health. Most importantly, sleep can also greatly benefit your mind, heart and body and help them function properly.
Sleep deprivation or insomnia is terrible and unfortunately, quite common across the world. You will be surprised to learn that almost 20% of people in the world experience all or some symptoms of insomnia. Life can be quite painful for you if you are among these 20% people. However, you need not to worry as there are many things you can do to catch some hours of quality sleep every night.
Some people are so good at sleep that they can sleep with their eyes closed. Unfortunately, you are not one of them just because you are reading this article. Following lines explain some short and long term strategies to get a good night’s sleep regularly just for people like you. There are also some tips you can implement right now to dramatically improve your sleep.
BENEFITS OF TAKING ADEQUATE SLEEP
If you are a supporter of the theory that a civilized person doesn’t go to bed the same day he gets up, your mind is seriously twisted. Not only your mind is twisted but you are actually missing hundreds of benefits that adequate sleep offers. Most important of them are as following.
Sleep Improves Memory
Both children and adult can considerably improve their memory by taking proper sleep. As a matter of fact, you can better learn any new skill whether it is physical or mental by taking a good night’s sleep every day. Your mind remains surprisingly busy when you sleep.
It keeps on practicing the skills you are learning and strengthens your memories. As a result, you become a better learner just by sleeping 7-8 hours every day.
You Live Longer
Sleeping less or more is directly associated with longer and shorter lifespans. You sleep too little, you are in danger. You sleep too much, you are still in danger. Actually it is a delicate balance you have to maintain.
How much sleep you should take also depends upon your age and gender. In this regard, it is better to consult a doctor about how much you should sleep every day. As a general rule of thumb, people that sleep for 6.5 to 7.5 hours a day tend to live longer.
Enhanced Quality of Life
Sleep affects almost all aspects of our lives. There is no denying of the fact that you will live better if you sleep better. It is as simple as that. Better sleep means better health, more energy and an active brain to go about your life businesses.
People that sleep for 6 to 9 hours a day are happier, less depressed and enjoy perfect health as compared to those who sleep for less than 6 hours on average.
You will be Happy
You can ruin your day or life simply by sleeping poorly. A poor night’s sleep cannot only affect your efficiency as a human being but can also have negative impact on your mood, resulting in more irritation and decreased happiness. It is a no brainer than an exhausted person can never be happy.
On the other hand, taking adequate sleep at the right time of the night is directly associated with feelings of wellbeing, optimum health and enhanced happiness.
Better Sex Life
You are inviting a variety of sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction if you don’t take enough sleep. Reduced sleep means reduced libido and poor sex life.
You can considerably boost your testosterone levels by getting enough sleep every day. Sleep is restorative and can boast sexual drive both for men and women.
DISADVANTAGE OF NOT TAKING ENOUGH SLEEP
Missing out on recommended hours of sleep does not only make you tired and cranky but also inflicts considerable damage to your mind and body. Following are some of the disadvantages of not having enough sleep.
Breakdown of Central Nervous System
You need to have proper sleep to keep your central nervous system running. Lack of sleep or chronic insomnia can actually damage your nervous system resulting in poor cognitive and physical performance of your body. Chronic insomnia can affect your emotional state as well as decision making abilities.
Less Immunity against Fatal Disease
Medical science has categorically proved that sleep enhances your immunity against diseases like diabetes, heart diseases, obesity and strokes etc. According to a research, 90% patients of chronic insomnia also contract at least one other disease or a medical condition.
According to a research by Québec’s University of Laval, you are twice likely to suffer from diabetes if you sleep less than 7 hours or more than 8 hours a day. On the other hand, if you sleep less than 5 hours a day, you are 5 times more likely to contract disease.
Fatigue and Irritability
Almost everyone agrees that daytime fatigue and irritability are direct results of poor sleeping habits. You need to take enough sleep every day to keep your mind and body fresh, healthy and active.
Lack of sleep can prevent you from satisfactorily performing even daily routine activities, resulting in decreased overall efficiency and output.
Increased Stress and Anxiety
Sleep and anxiety are interrelated. It is a fact that people suffering from insomnia are more likely to suffer from stress and anxiety as compared to people who take proper sleep every day.
Similarly, sleeplessness can also cause another serious disease commonly known as depression. You also need to remember that anxiety, depression and stress can also lead to other serious diseases as well.
One of the biggest disadvantages of poor sleeping habits is premature aging. If you don’t take enough sleep, you skin cells start to breakdown resulting in wrinkles and early aging.
Your body also can’t produce enough growth hormones necessary to keep wrinkles and saggy skin at bay.
TOP THINGS TO TRY WHEN YOU CAN’T SLEEP
Insomnia is tarrying and can totally destroy your life in worst manner possible. Therefore, apart from consulting your doctor, you can try different things if you are simply unable to sleep. In this regard, following tips might help you in getting some sleep.
Just Relax and Try to Sleep
First and foremost, just try to relax your mind and body before going to bed. Going to bed here doesn’t mean lying on the bed and playing with your phone. It actually means lying on the bed and trying to sleep.
Throw away any negative thoughts from your mind and focus simply on sleeping. Perhaps taking a cool and relaxing bath can greatly help in this regard.
Other excellent methods of relaxing your mind is to start preparing for next day, cooking, talking to your mom, pressing clothes for school or office and making a to-do list for anything etc.
Establish a Sleep Routine
You will do yourself a great favor by establishing a fixed sleeping routine. The routine might include no computers, smartphones and television after 8 pm. It may also incorporate meditation, cleaning your face, writing, reading and going to bed at a fixed time every day. With the passage of time, your body will program itself accordingly, enabling you to sleep properly.
Clear Your Mind of All Kinds of Thoughts
You simply cannot sleep if different kinds of thoughts constantly occupy your mind. You especially must not think about anything that causes depression and in turn insomnia. Leave your worries for some other times and try to sleep. As a matter of fact, 7 in 10 people who suffer from stress also find it hard to sleep.
The best way to clear your mind is to read a good book or take a short walk inside your room. Do whatever you can to keep negative thoughts away.
Don’t Eat too much Before Going to Bed
It is not a good idea at all to eat immediately before going to bed. Your body takes a long time to digest the food. Therefore, if you eat too close to going to sleep, you will have to stay up longer just to let the food go down your digestive track.
On the other hand, you can take something real hot but caffeine free such as hot milk, honey and verbena or chamomile tea. These substances are known for their relaxing qualities and will help you sleep relatively easily.
Keep Your Room Temperature Moderate
It goes without saying that the temperature of your room should always be moderate. You may find it particularly hard to sleep if your room is too cold or hot.
The ideal sleeping temperature, according to science, is between 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, you should try your best to maintain the recommended room temperature if you really want to sleep.
Cut Down on Alcohol and Caffeine
If you are addicted to alcohol and caffeine, it will be really difficult for you to sleep. You need to cut down or completely cut out alcohol if you want to enjoy quality sleep.
Alcohol can also disturb other functions of your body which in turn make it hard for you to sleep. You can replace alcohol with other drinks such as chamomile tea or milk if you have to drink anything before going to sleep. Similarly, if you can’t live without alcohol, try to have some in the afternoon ideally before 2 PM.
Always Think Positive
According to experts, expelling all negative thoughts from your mind will help you sleep better. There should be no place for thoughts like what I am going to do tomorrow, what will happen in the office, this particular thing stinks etc. in your brain when you are trying to sleep. You are more likely to sleep when you are calm and your mind is free of all kinds of distractions.
Focus on Something Specific
Don’t let your mind get occupied by so many things and thoughts. Try to focus on something specific like solving a puzzle or planning your next travel vacation. You can also repeat soothing words in your brain or focus on your life achievements. This could by anything which actually helps you feel sleep instead of making your night even more dreadful.
Do some Gentle Exercise
Doing some gentle exercise and stretching your body is another great way to get sleepy. You can easily relax your body by trying different poses such as a child or happy baby pose. Putting your legs against the wall will also enable you to relax your mind and body.
Similarly, gentle leg and arm movements are all you need to release any stress or tension you might have. You can fall asleep 15 minutes earlier by doing moderate exercise for 16 consecutive weeks. Similarly, it will also help you sleep 45 minutes longer on average. You can also significantly improve your sleep by sitting less than 8 hours a day.
Try to Get Tired
You will sleep better if you are really tired. There are many ways you can get tired such as doing some exercise before going to bed. If you can’t feel tired due to any reason, just pretend you are tired.
You can do this by tricking your brain and feeling exhausted. Just think that the room around you is darkening, your eyes are drooping or feel the sensation of cutting off from rest of the world. Concentrate on everything you normally feel when you are really tired.
It is pertinent to mention that you can actually fall asleep in 5 minutes when you are extremely tired or sleep deprived. Therefore, try to shake your body hard during the day and you may get some sleep in the night.
Resolve Your Problems
If you have some serious domestic of financial problems, it will be difficult for you to sleep. Instead of waiting and hoping that your problems will go away, try to solve them as soon as possible. Bed can be a magical place where you suddenly remembers all the things you have still to do.
But – you should try to get over with all the things that keep you awake whether it is an official email you have to reply or making a presentation for your next business meeting. Just don’t spend all night on these minor tasks and it will become whole lot easier for you to sleep.
Find Solution to your Technology Addiction
No matter how tempting it is, don’t keep looking on your backlit screens. Experts have proven time and again that people tend to sleep less after the advent of electronic devices in the likes of smartphones, laptops and televisions.
In fact, 24 hours internet access is one of the biggest sleep distractions in modern world. Therefore, you should disconnect yourself from all the electronic devices especially when start feeling drowsy.
It is humorously said that you probably don’t have internet if you sleep at 9 pm. However, you need to take it seriously and actually keep internet at arm’s length in the night if you intend to sleep peacefully.
Make Environment Dark and Calm
You need to have a dark and calm room to sleep peacefully. Cover up any red lights emanating from your television, laptops, smartphones or any other electronic device in your room. Better still; switch all of them till morning. Try to make your room as dark as possible.
It is also imperative for you to sleep in a quiet room. Any kind of noise, especially in early and later hours of the night does not only disrupt your sleep but it can also disrupt your immune system.
Draw a Picture or Listen to Soothing Music
You can make your night even more relaxing by reading some inspiring piece of writing. There are many self-development and motivational books which help you improve your life including sleeping habits.
On the other hand, minimal percussion, acoustic and simple music can also sooth your central nervous system, release any tension you have and make it easier for you to sleep. Drawing regularly not only improves your artistic skills but dramatically clears your mind as well.
Start Dreaming with Open Eyes
Someone playfully say that if you don’t’ want to give up on your dreams, you must sleep longer. However, what should one do if he cannot sleep? Should he give up on his dreams? The answer is a big no.
You can start dreaming with open eyes if you are unable to sleep. Dreaming while you are awake is always a good thing. You can dream about almost anything such as happy and prosperous life, finding true love, achieving high status in society or simply how to advance in your career. Dreaming with open eyes can in fact take you to the beautiful valleys of sleep and into actual and sweet dreams.
Clean Your Room before Going to Bed
It is absolutely necessary for you to organize or clean your room before going to bed. Put all distractive items such as socks, magazines and ties to their respective places in the drawers and cupboards. Remove dirty linens and replace them with fresh and neat ones.
Similarly, put everything in your room in apple pie order. It is always refreshing and enticing to sleep in an organized and clutter free room rather than a disorganized and muddled one. One way of keeping your room clean is to eat in kitchen, read books in living room and watch TV in TV lounge. Follow these easy tips and your room will always be clean.
Mediation can readily come to your rescue when you are unable to sleep due to any reason. Practicing meditation and thoughtfulness is a great way to relax and unwind your mind and body.
Mediation boosts the area of the brain associated with sleep in addition to enhancing the growth of sleep chemicals. It also enables you to forget all your worries at least for some time. Set aside 20 minutes every day for mediation. This is the minimum time you have to practice meditation to reap its actual benefits.
Choose the Right Sleep Equipment
If your sleeping equipment including your bed, mattress and pillows are uncomfortable, you simply cannot sleep. Choosing a perfect bed or mattress is a matter of trial and error. You have to try different types of mattresses and pillows before you find ones that are actually compatible with your body and sleeping habits.
It is advisable to change your bed after every 5 years. A 6 years old bed offers 50% less comfort and support as compared to a new one. Similarly, you are 50% more likely to sleep better on larger than standard beds.
Have Sex right before Sleeping
Sex can considerably improve your overall health and sleeping is no different. You can definitely increase your chances of enjoying good sleep by having sex right before going to bed.
Sleep and sex are two things which you want to do again as soon as they finish. In fact, you need good sex to have some nice sleep and vice versa. Your body actually goes to a state of relaxation and has lower blood pressure after the sex. It also puts your mind at ease and enables you to enjoy deep sleep which you so desperately need.
Unfortunately, half of human beings only take 6 hours of sleep at most. The number of people taking less sleep than recommended is alarmingly increasing. However, you can significantly improve your chances of enjoying quality sleep by implementing any or all of above suggestions.
You must also consult your physician if nothing seems to be working for you. As a matter of fact, it is imperative for you to take your doctor’s advice and follow the routine and medicines he has prescribed for you. All these tips and suggestions are just for information purposes and should never, in any case, replace your doctor’s advice.
Finally, sleeplessness can totally ruin your life as well as your personal and public image. You need enough sleep to function properly as a human being. Without proper sleep, you are just a malfunctioning robot, nothing more. Therefore, you should try everything including these tips to get some nice sleep.
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