Whether you have trouble winding down at the end of a busy day or tuning out TV screens and online news, insomnia is not only exasperating; it’s harmful to your health and wellbeing. And while there are myriad causes of sleeplessness, there are also a variety of useful techniques to help you get to sleep more quickly.
Keep a journal.
We are perpetually multi-tasking. While our brains seem to keep up automatically, it’s difficult to hit the brakes at night. One way to stop mentally rolling over your to-do list is to make a physical list of reminders, thoughts and tasks that need be completed. Keep the list by your bed, so if you think of something to add, you can write it down and let it go for the night.
Adhere to a schedule.
We generally see better results in children’s sleep habits when they stick to a schedule. It seems that extends to adults as well. To keep your circadian rhythms (your natural body clock) steady, go to bed and wake up at about the same time every day, coupled with a few nightly rituals before bed. You’ll feel more alert in the morning and more awake throughout the day.
Going to bed on a full stomach can cause physical discomfort, indigestion, heartburn and sugar spikes, which will keep you awake at night. Adjust your mealtime so you have a few hours to digest before you go to sleep. If you’re hungry before bed, a light snack will do.
Drop the temperature.
A decrease in your core body temperature helps prepare you for sleep. Hit the fan or turn up the airconditioner as you get ready for bed. If that’s not enough, remove a blanket from your bed and make sure that your mattress does its part to promote a comfortable sleep temperature. You could also invest in a mattress designed to regulate your body temperature while you sleep.
Ditch the screens.
Careful studies have shown that even our small electronic devices emit enough light to send signals to the brain that promote wakefulness. Put your phone, tablet and/or computer across the room (or in a separate room) to remove the temptation to get one last look at email, and darken your room at bedtime.
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