Insomnia is a general term that may refer to an inability to fall asleep, frequent awakenings throughout the night, restlessness or an inability to sleep. During the day, insomniacs experience drowsiness and suffer from anxiety or irritability and mental impairment from being sleep deprived. Studies suggest that one in three people in the United States suffer with some type of insomnia. By evaluating personal habits and making a few changes, people can often correct the problem without the need for medication.
Many people tend to lay in bed for hours hoping to fall asleep. However, in these instances, individuals need to exercise restrictions and recondition their thought processes to associate the bedroom with sleep and not frustrating hours of wakefulness. Sleep specialists suggest trying to limit a night's sleep to around six hours. This may entail staying awake longer and getting up earlier. On the next night, repeat the process regardless of how tired you may feel. Once you are able to get a full six hours of sleep, add 30 minutes to the time. Continue the ritual until able to fall asleep and remain asleep for seven to nine hours.
Modify the Environment
When darkness comes at the end of the day, the brain releases the hormone melatonin, which tells the body that bedtime is fast approaching. Unfortunately, in some people, the lights of a well-lit family or living room combined with the television or computer screen may inhibit melatonin. Natural fatigue does not occur because environmental stimulants keep the brain and body alert and awake. Try dimming the lights a few hours before bedtime. Refrain from using electronic devices. Relax, listen to calming music or engage in other activities that encourage quiet time. In the bedroom, make sure that curtains or drapes block out light, and cool the room temperature.
Some may have difficulty falling or staying asleep because their bodies never reach a point of fatigue. Living a sedentary lifestyle does nothing for inducing sleep. Find ways to exert energy and burn calories. Go for daily walks, join an exercise class or a community sport. Start slow and gradually increase the level of activity to moderate until you get at least 150 minutes of quality exercise in a week's time. Exercise is also a great way to rid the body of stress.
Consider Your Diet
Eliminate or reduce caffeinated consumption. Stop drinking coffee, tea, soda or energy drinks after lunch. Assess the number of process foods consumed on a daily or weekly basis. Refined sugars, artificial colorings, flavorings and preservatives found in many processed foods stimulate adrenaline spikes in some people, which leads to sleep disorders. Consider adding more fruits and vegetables along with whole grains and lean meats to your daily intake.