If you suffer from insomnia, don’t just reach for a pill. Try these tips for better sleep.
Minimize noise, light, and excessive temperatures when you’re sleeping.
Try using an eye mask, earplugs, white noise maker, air filter or air conditioning.
Consider using a weighted blanket. They have been shown to be especially helpful for anxious sleepers.
Establish a regular bedtime and wake-up time that offers 7-8 hours of sleep. Getting too little sleep during the week and catching up on the weekend can disrupt your body’s natural rhythms.
Put yourself to sleep. Establish a relaxing bedtime routine like you would with a child. Read or watch a bedtime story, rather than talking, typing, playing a video game, or being physically active.
Sleep soundly. Healthy sleep is quiet sleep. If you snore a lot or can’t keep your legs still, please consult your doctor.
You may not want to have your pet sleep in bed with you, or even in the room if it’s especially disruptive.
Turn the alarm clock away from you if it is a source of distraction.
Don’t use the snooze. By using the snooze button, you are essentially exchanging ten minutes of deep sleep for ten minutes of stage 1 sleep.
Don’t fret about things in bed. Put them on your to-do list or calendar so you can stop worrying about them.
Train your mind to associate your bed with sleeping, by using your bed only for sleep–or sex. If you can’t get to sleep after a half hour, leave your bed and do something relaxing in a chair, like listening to music, reading, watching a video, or browsing the Internet. But don’t use social media; it’s too stimulating.
Help your body establish a natural rhythm by spending some part of the day outdoors.
Regular exercise, especially in the late afternoon, may deepen sleep. But exercising too close to bedtime may interfere with sleep.
Caffeine is a stimulant. Minimize its use and don’t take it within 4-6 hours of bedtime.
Nicotine is also a stimulant. Don’t take it too close to bedtime or when you wake up at night.
Alcohol may help you get to sleep but cause you to wake up in the middle of the night.
A light snack may help you get to sleep, but a heavy one might interfere with it.
Meditation may help you relax and fall asleep. An excellent one is available for free at https://itunes.apple.com/itunes-u/mindful-meditations/id434136047?mt=10#ls=1
Or try the app Sleepio for more cognitive behavioral tips on sleep.