During the past year, I started having trouble falling asleep. Even if I feel tired and sleepy all day, as soon as I get in my bed I keep tossing and turning for hours before sleep finally comes, followed way to soon, by the sound of my alarm clock telling me that it’s already morning and time to wake up. That’s so frustrating!
And then, for the rest of the day, I feel cranky, exhausted and find it hard to concentrate on the simplest things. Not only that, but I also have horrible dark circles and bags under my eyes and I’m depriving my body of the time it needs to regenerate itself. So, I’ve been trying lots of things to solve the problem and here are the ones that worked for me. I hope they can help you too.
1. Comfortable bed and clothes
To get a good night’s sleep, it’s very important that your bed is clean and comfortable. The mattress needs to be firm to provide support but not too firm that your body aches when you wake up. Also, it needs to be large enough for you to stretch comfortably. The clothes you’re wearing are important too. I like to wear warm, comfy and non-restrictive clothes when I sleep, otherwise they’ll just bother me and prevent me from falling asleep.
2. Create a peaceful and dark environment
Your bedroom needs to be comfortable too. I sleep better when my room is pitch black so I turn off any lights that could be in the room. Wearing a sleeping mask helps too. I also can’t sleep if I hear any noises but avoiding them, especially the external ones, isn’t always possible. If they bother you, try to block them out with earplugs. In addition, experiment with different room temperatures until you find the ideal one for you.
3. Use the bed for sleeping only
The bed is a place to sleep (and have sex 😉 ), not to watch tv, eat or use your laptop. If your head associates the bed with the idea of sleeping, it will be easier for the body to wind down, relax and fall asleep.
4. Don’t nap during the day
Some days, especially if I didn’t sleep too well at night, I feel really tired and sleepy and all I wanna do is have a lie down and take a nap in the afternoon. When this happens I try to do something that stimulates me to stay awake like exercising or house works. That’s because if I gave in and slept for a while, then when the night comes and it’s time to go to sleep, I will just lie in bed for hours trying to fall asleep in vain because my body’s not tired enough.
5. Develop a relaxing routine before bedtime
Developing a relaxing routine about an hour before going to bed helps you relax and get ready for bed. Avoid stressing activities or obsessing about checking your emails every few minutes, but do something relaxing like reading a light book, listening to soothing music, knitting or drinking some milk with honey for instance. If you are really stressed or worried about something, then write all your concerns and problems down on a piece of paper. This gives my mind a rest so when I finally go to bed I don’t keep thinking about my worries but sleep peacefully instead.
6. Exercise during the day, not at night
I find that if I work out during the day or simply go for a walk or ride a bike, when the night comes I’m more tired than usual and falling asleep is easier. However, you should never exercise about 3 hours before going to bed because it stimulates the body, raising its heart rate and temperature, which will leave you tossing and turning in your bed instead than getting a good night’s sleep.
7. Go to bed always at the same hour
Going to sleep and waking up at the same hour every day tells the body when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to wake up. Try to go to bed at an hour when your body is naturally tired, not too soon or you’ll still have problems trying to fall asleep. Also, try not to break this rule during the weekends. I know that’s hard and, on Saturday nights, I always tend to go to bed later than usual which is something I always regret the next day cos I end up sleeping until late in the morning and when I wake up I don’t feel recharged at all. And then, on Sunday night I have trouble falling asleep cos my body’s not tired enough.
8. Contact a doctor
If you have tried all the things above but to no avail, then it’s time to consult a doctor. You could have a sleeping disorder and a specialist can determine what causes it and what you can do to solve the problem.
What do you do when you can’t fall asleep?