Insomnia is a sleep disorder that most people experience. In fact, a percentage of insomnia sufferers have chronic insomnia and require a physician's help to manage their condition.
In the past, it was easy to simply prescribe a pill or two and you're off to dreamland, but as scientific discoveries about sleep continues, several methods of inducing sleep, including behavioral treatments, are commonly used.
Quick Fixes for Acute Insomnia
If you suffer from acute insomnia, here are some quick fixes you can make use of during those nights when you can't sleep. Chronic insomnia sufferers can also take advantage of these tips while they are undergoing a more in-depth treatment for their condition.
1. Have a strict sleep schedule every day. This means that you should go to sleep and wake up at the same time, even during the weekends.
This is done to help you body establish a rhythm.
2. Get out of bed. If you can't sleep, stop wasting your time trying to. Get up, read a magazine, or watch TV.
When you spend so much time awake in bed, you end up associating the bedroom with lying awake for hours instead of sleeping.
3. Reflect on the day's activity and plan for tomorrow a few hours before bedtime. People become too busy these days that the only time they can plan for tomorrow's activities is when they are in the bed preparing to sleep.
This shouldn't be the case since thinking in bed can keep you awake longer. Spend some time a few hours before bedtime to ponder on things so you are relaxed when you go to sleep.
4. Don't make your bedroom an office. If you want to sleep then you should keep things that remind you of work away from your sleeping place.
5. Lighting is important. Bright, glaring lights will surely keep you awake, so use dimmer lights in your bedroom.
The dark helps your brain realize that it is time to sleep. You can use black out curtains and night lights if you wish.
6. The clock is not your best friend. If you can't sleep, don't look at the clock! The practice of looking at the clock when you can't sleep puts pressure on you to sleep and you end up not falling asleep.
Turn the clock away when you begin looking at it during sleepless nights.
7. Avoid stimulants in the afternoon. Coffee, chocolates, and colas should be avoided since these keep you awake. Smoking is also not recommended since nicotine is a stimulant.
8. No to alcohol. Alcohol may help you fall asleep but excessive alcohol can disrupt your sleep completely when you need to go to the restroom or when you end up sleeping later than usual.
9. Watch your medication. Some medications can disturb sleep so it's best to ask your doctor if your drugs interfere with sleep.
If it does, he or she may change it or ask you to take it some other time.
10. Don't take sedatives. While these help you sleep, it decreases sleep quality and can create a dependency. So as much as possible, avoid taking sedatives to help you sleep.
Your immune system needs rest to keep you healthy. In one study done at Carnegie Mellon University, even if people said they felt well rested if they'd averaged fewer than 7 hours of sleep per night, they were almost three times as likely to get a cold as those who got eight hours or more of sack time.
Another study found that when you’re short on zzzs, you’re also more likely to overreact to minor incidents, feel stressed out, and blow your top. Even worse, your physical health takes a hit, too.
“Lack of sleep increases the risk for high blood pressure, depression and weight gain, the latter as a result of adverse effects on hormones that regulate appetite,” says Andrew Weil, MD, Prevention advisory board member, founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine.
It's vital to follow sleep hygiene to tackle insomnia. By following the above mentioned 10 quick fixes (that are als components of sleep hygiene) for insomnia, you can have a good night's sleep.