Trouble falling asleep? Can’t get your brain to stop…whatever it is it’s doing?
You’re not alone. As much as 40% of adult Canadians suffer from insomnia so you’re in good but sleepy company.
What’s your insomniac sleep pattern?
According to Tuck, there are two different sleep patterns to insomnia: sleep-onset insomnia and sleep-maintenance insomnia.
Someone with sleep-onset insomnia “takes a long time to get to sleep, but can sleep through the night once sleep starts”. Sleep-maintenance insomnia, on the flip side of the pillow, means that the affected person “wakes frequently during the night and sleep is fragmented”.
Whichever insomniac sleep pattern you have, there are some tricks you can try to help you sleep like a baby:
Stick to a regular sleep schedule
We’re all creatures of habit. When your body follows a consistent routine, it’s much easier for you to get in sync with its changes.
The ideal way to get a good night’s rest is to go to bed as soon as you feel sleepy. That sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s very difficult to time it right with a busy lifestyle. Getting off work just a little later than usual is enough to snowball the rest of your evening activities into a late night.
To keep up with that habit, you have to be strict with yourself. Set an early warning alarm on your phone every night to wrap up whatever you’re doing and get ready for bed. Same time each night, like clockwork. Do this for several nights in a row and your body will eventually adjust to that new rhythm.
Finish dinner early
It’s not a good feeling going to bed on a full stomach. Give your body at least an hour or two to digest the food before bedtime. You’ll toss-and-turn a lot less by doing that.
Say no to coffee, tea, and alcohol
Not saying to cut these out of your life completely! Just not before going to bed. Both caffeine and alcohol have long-lasting effects that keep your blood pumping. You’ll be waiting for quite a while to relax if you have a drink close to bedtime.
Avoid electronic screens like the plague
Whatever you do, keep away from the temptation of watching TV or checking your phone before going to sleep. The blue light from electronic screens dramatically suppresses melatonin, which is the hormone that regulates your sleep. Harvard Medical School recommends turning away from bright screens two to three hours before bed. If you need to get your eyes tired before falling asleep, try reading a book by a warm-coloured lamp instead.
Install blackout blinds
Keeping your bedroom dark minimizes the chance of light pollution disrupting your sleep. For that, you need blackout blinds. The thick material and custom fit of the blinds over your windows will help you achieve near total blackout in the bedroom. Perfect conditions for a long, uninterrupted sleep.
Upgrade to automatic blinds
Waking up naturally with the rising sun also helps to reinforce a proper sleeping pattern in your body. The great thing about automatic blinds is that you can set it and forget it. Just set the timer for the blinds to automatically open half-an-hour before your wake-up time. That’ll let in the sun to gently draw you out of sleep as soon as you feel its light and warmth on your eyelids.
The idea here is for you to create a more comfortable environment to fall asleep in. Little details like the above and maintaining a cozy bedroom temperature of around 20 – 23 °C will do wonders in improving your sleep habits. Good night!