Insomnia is when you experience disruptions in how you feel or function because you aren’t sleeping well or sleeping enough. About 10% of the world’s population experience insomnia that qualifies as a medical condition.
Most people need 7-8 hours of good sleep a night. But, occasional sleeplessness can get in the way of that. Think you have sleep problems? Well, there are a few things you can do to help get the rest you need. It’s also important to know when to talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
What are the signs of occasional sleeplessness?
Look out for these signs and symptoms:
· Trouble falling asleep
· Trouble sleeping soundly
· Waking up too early
· Feeling tired or sleepy during the day
· Feeling irritable, depressed, or anxious
· Trouble paying attention, focusing, or remembering
· Causing accidents or slip-ups
· Worrying about sleep
What Causes Occasional Sleeplessness?
Sometimes, occasional sleeplessness can be the main issue. Other times, it’s caused by an underlying problem that requires talking with your doctor. Here are some potential causes for occasional sleepless nights:
· Stress (e.g. triggered by life changes or temporary situations related to work, school, health, finances, family, or trauma)
· Irregular schedules
· Poor sleep habits
· Eating too much before bedtime
Some simple tips to make you fall asleep faster and wake up refreshed
If you’re a parent, you know sleep hygiene is critical, because you know what your kids are like when they don’t get enough sleep.
Did you know that sleep provides an opportunity for your body to rest and process information by creating new learning and memory pathways in the brain? It’s also when your brain regulates the release of certain hormones. Not getting enough sleep, particularly over a long period of time, can affect your body’s ability to perform these functions. That’s why it’s so important to establish a bedtime routine so you can fall asleep fast, and give your mind and body a chance to rest and refresh for the day ahead of you.
According to a study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, a two-hour reduction in sleep per night for one week was associated with a significant increase in sleepiness and a reduction in psychomotor performance. In other words, staying up later than you typically do to catch up on whatever life’s thrown at you can make you sleepier and less alert the following day. Whether you have a big presentation at work or an entire season of your favorite show to catch up on, you want to live your day to its full potential. That requires a good night’s sleep.
So, how can you fall asleep faster and get the sleep you need?
Follow these tips to fall asleep fast and establish a good bedtime routine. That way, you can sleep like a baby every night.
1. Set a sleep schedule and stick to it.
Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day—even on the weekend. This will help program the body to feel sleepy when it’s time for bed and to wake up refreshed in the morning. Our busy day-to-day lives may distract from the time ticking by. Set a timer on your phone 30 minutes before your designated bedtime to remind yourself it’s time to wind down.
2. Establish a relaxing bedtime routine.
Speaking of winding down… slow down your busy mind before bedtime with a calming activity like reading a chapter of your latest book or listening to soft, soothing music. Just be sure to keep the tunes calm and the volume low.
3. Make your bedroom a sanctuary.
Keep your bedroom quiet and cool. Bedrooms have a purpose—to help you get in the right state-of-mind to fall asleep fast and get a good night’s sleep. That’s it. If your bedroom doesn’t help you wind down, then it’s not helping you establish a good bedtime routine. Find out what’s distracting you—consider rearranging your furniture or switching out décor. To keep your sleep space distraction-free, put computers, tablets, and other work tools somewhere you can’t see from your bed. And use your bed for sleep only, so your brain associates it with sleeping.
4. Take a hot shower.
Consider adding a hot shower to your bedtime routine. That way when your head hits the pillow, your body is ready to catch some sleep.
5. Dim the lights in the evening and sleep in a dark room.
Set the mood—to help you fall asleep fast. Dimming the lights tells your body that bedtime is approaching. Make sure your bedroom will stay dark until you get enough sleep. If natural light coming through the windows wakes you up earlier than your bedtime routine calls for, sleep with a mask over your eyes to block the light. Or consider putting up black-out curtains so your room stays dark even as the sun starts rising.
“Staring at the clock will only remind you that you are wide awake with less than the 7-8 hours you need each night.”
6. Use nightlights.
Even with the best sleep routine, you may wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, drink a glass of water, or soothe a cranky baby. Switching on the lights when your body is in “sleep mode” can jolt it wide awake, making it harder to fall asleep after your mid-night wake-up call. Put nightlights in places you might need to go to in the middle of the night, like the bathroom, kitchen, hallways, or in kids’ rooms. That way, you can avoid bright light and go back to your restful night’s sleep.
7. Turn your clock away from the bed.
Tick, tock, tick, tock. Staring at the clock will only remind you that you are wide awake with less than the 7-8 hours you need each night. Avoid the temptation to look at the clock altogether by turning it away from your bed. This will help you avoid fixating on how long it takes to fall asleep.
8. Avoid using tobacco or caffeinated products at night.
Coffee will definitely not help you fall asleep fast. Stick to small amounts of uncaffeinated tea or other hot drinks if you want something warm before bed. It’s best to avoid tobacco completely because it causes users to sleep lightly and wake up too early in the morning.
9. Stick to light meals and beverages before bed.
A heavy midnight snack may not be in your best interest to help you fall asleep fast, but not because of the calories. A large meal before bedtime can cause indigestion. Drinking too many fluids at night can cause frequent awakenings to use the bathroom.
11. Check your meds.
Some medicines can affect your sleep cycle. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to see if any medicines you’re taking may be disrupting your sleep.
12. Avoid late naps.
After a long day of hard work, you might collapse on the couch, turn on the TV, and close your eyes for just a few minutes… but don’t give into that temptation to nap. Late-afternoon and early-evening naps can make it harder to fall asleep at night. If you must nap, keep it to under an hour and take it before 3:00 PM.
13. Get out of bed.
Tossing and turning will only make you more restless after some time has passed. If you’re not sleepy, get out of bed and do something relaxing in dim light. Return to bed only when you are sleepy.
14. Try an OTC medication.
Luckily, for people with occasional sleeplessness, there are many safe and effective sleep medicines available over-the-counter. Both
15. Put your phone away 30 minutes before your bedtime routine.
Bright screens trick your brain into thinking it’s still daytime. Resist the urge to scroll through social media while in bed. Put your phone away 30 minutes before starting your bedtime routine to tell your brain it’s time to unwind.