How to deal with Insomnia?

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How to deal with Insomnia?

It is sharp 4 in the morning and while the whole country is in deep slumber, you are awake! What should you do now? Should you pop a pill and try to sleep again? Read a book? Binge on some midnight snacks? Or get a 4 a.m. jump on your day?

Sometimes, it seems the harder you try to fall asleep, the more difficult it becomes to achieve your goal. Insomnia is the term used to define the trouble in falling asleep, staying asleep or both.

The problem of sleeplessness can vary from an occasional bout to a chronic problem. Short-term insomnia is very common and is usually tied to the temporary causes, such as dealing with stress at work, family pressures or any traumatic event. Even the current culture where people are always tethered to work, tapping into their cell phones, computers and social media till late night contributes a lot to the problem.

Chronic insomnia, on the other hand can be related to physiological and medical issues. These include arthritis, asthma or sleep disorders such as Obstructive sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome etc. With sleep apnea, a person’s airway will become partially or completely obstructed whereas restless legs syndrome is a neurological sensation that wants us to move our legs, however both of these conditions can bring about insomnia.

Sleep deprivation due to insomnia can result in fatigue, low immunity, increase in the risk for type 2 Diabetes and high blood pressure and weight gain.

Steps to Deal with Insomnia

If you are a frequent insomnia victim, you would have been turned to certain medications to get rid of the problem by now. However, before you seek a physician and start relying on medications, you can think about curing your problem by simply changing your lifestyle and routines.

1. Keep a consistent Wake-up time and Bedtime

 The idea is to support your biological clock by going to the bed and waking up at approximately the same time every day. This may create difficulties during the first few nights, but eventually your body will get used to it. And yes, make sure you follow the same schedule for weekend as well.

2. Create a restful sleeping environment

Your bedroom is meant for sleep and rest, it’s better to keep it as quiet as possible. Light, noise and heat, anything can interfere with your sleep. You may try sleep masks or curtains to block the light, earplugs to stop the outside noise and to keep your room cool, you can switch on fan or air conditioner as per your room temperature.

3. Power Off an hour before sleep

The thing that has been glued to your hand since all day long, if you want a sound sleep, it’s time to let it go and the same goes for your laptop and Ipad. Why? Because the blue wavelengths produced by your smart phones, tablets, computer screens and even from your TV can suppress your body’s production of melatonin (the hormone that makes us sleepy) and disrupt your sleep severely. Instead of texting, emailing or playing, try listening to soft music or reading by a soft light.

4. Don’t stay in bed for more than 20 minutes

In the midnight hours, if you find yourself unable to get back to sleep, leave your bedroom and do things that are not overly stimulating like reading a book, listening to soothing music, taking a bath or drinking a warm cup of caffeine-free tea. It is important to remind your brain that your bed is for sleep and not for lying awake, thinking and worrying about day time chores.

5. Avoid taking Naps during the day

If you skip your nap during the daytime, you will find that you will be able to fall asleep faster and also you will be better able to maintain your sleep throughout the night. If you really feel like taking a nap, limit it to less than 30 minutes and that too before 3 p.m.

6. Get help with Stress Management

If the stress is making it difficult for you to fall asleep at night, learn how to handle it to maintain calm and positive mind that help you sleep better. Do breathing and other soothing exercises, talk about your worries with your friends and loved ones to relieve stress before sleep.

7. Sweat your way to sleep

Regular exercise has the ability to improve your sleep quality, mood and energy. Studies have found that after few days of regular workout, we may notice not only an improvement in sleep quality but also fewer symptoms of depression, less fatigue, less day time sleepiness and more energy.

8. Avoid taking caffeine, alcohol and late night meals

Avoid having caffeinated beverages and alcohol at least two hours before bed. While alcohol makes us sleepy, it may interfere with the quality of your sleep. Similarly, when we take fatty and spicy food before bed, our stomach will have to do a lot of work to digest the food and spicy food can even cause heartburns making it difficult for us to sleep.

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