All of us have struggled to fall asleep at some point during our lives – but some of us combat sleep disruption more regularly than others. Whether you struggle to fall asleep, or struggle to stay asleep, you’re certainly not alone. Research shows that insomnia affects a staggering 10% of the population.
Insomnia can affect anyone, but you are a more likely candidate if you suffer from anxiety, depression, or chronic stress.
The effects of insomnia
Sleep is responsible for aiding in the healing and repair of illness and damage within the body. When we don’t get enough sleep, our immune systems struggle to keep us healthy. People dealing with insomnia often get sick more often than people who get enough restorative sleep at night, and are more prone to developing chronic illness.
To feel our best and perform at an optimum level of productivity, achieving a good night’s sleep isn’t negotiable; it’s a must. Sleep recharges our body and our minds. A lack of sleep creates a strong foundation for mental and emotional turmoil to set in alongside physical ailments.
Did you know that sleep plays a huge role in mental health and emotional stability, too? Your brain relies on sleep to function properly. A good night’s sleep improves your ability to learn and retain information, and helps regulate emotions effectively. The benefits don’t stop there. Sleep is a great booster of productivity and even assists in our ability to problem solve, regulate how we react to emotions and cope with life’s changes. The importance of sleep is so profound that science has shown an increase in anxiety, depression, anger, impulsivity, and mood dysregulation in individuals who report suboptimal sleep.
Insomnia Busting Tips
Insomnia is a chronic, debilitating condition that often requires the help of a mental health care professional. However, there are some proactive measures that you can take at home to lessen the severity and frequency of your insomnia. Use these tips to bust through your insomnia asap:
1. Correct Your Circadian Rhythm
Getting up at the same time every day and going to bed at the same time each night helps your body establish a consistent and recognizable circadian rhythm which will help regulate your sleep cycle. Refrain from sleeping in on weekends or staying up later than you normally would. Any inconsistency can cause insomnia to worsen.
2. Decrease Stimulant Intake
Consuming caffeine or using nicotine containing products can significantly diminish your ability to fall asleep. Both stimulants, they increase brain activity and create an environment in your brain that is far from supportive of your desire to achieve a good night’s sleep.
3. Get Fit
Exercising consistently will improve your overall health and increase feel-good neurotransmitters that will reduce stress, improve your mood, and help you relax when you’re ready to go to bed. Yoga is a great low-impact exercise that is proven to help both the mind and body relax – essential for getting some high-quality shut-eye.
4. Stress Management
Psychotherapy is a great way to alleviate stress and learn effective coping skills. Excessive levels of stress are often a huge contributor to insomnia in people who have demanding careers or a busy schedule at home.
5. Don’t Go to Bed with a Full Stomach
Eating a large meal, especially a meal high in carbohydrates or sugar, can spike blood sugar and create an excess of energy when you need to accomplish the opposite. Stop eating several hours before bedtime in order to fall asleep easier and achieve a more restful night’s sleep.
To listen to a FREE half-hour guided meditation by Dr. Krieger click here.
To get started with therapy for insomnia: