It is not unusual for people to spend an occasional night tossing and turning. But if sleepless nights are becoming a regular occurrence, you may need to tweak your sleep hygiene. Many common sleep problems can be solved by modifying your bedtime behavior. Start with the suggestions below. If you continue to be bothered by insomnia, you may want to talk to a healthcare professional with an expertise in sleep problems. Chronic insomnia can have an adverse effect on your health and ability to function.
• Unplug before bedtime. Thirty to 60 minutes before bedtime, turn off the TV and shut down electronic devices (smartphones, computers, games, etc.). It’s best to ban these devices from your bedroom. Not only does your brain need time to set aside the problems of the day and relax so you can fall sleep; but the blue light emitted by electronic devices triggers alertness, which interferes with your brain’s ability to “turn off.”
• Schedule your sleep. Set a regular bedtime and try to stick to it. What works for your kids and can work for you, too. You can train your body to anticipate and therefore be more ready for sleep by going to sleep at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning. Most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep, so experiment to find your optimal sleep time.
• Get your daily Ohms. Meditating in the evening can help calm your emotions and still your busy mind so you can relax and fall asleep. Meditation techniques are not difficult to learn. Under the Self Help tab on my website, you’ll find an article explaining the Benefits of Meditation and some meditation exercises to help you get started.
• Exercise to relieve stress. Regular daily exercise can relieve stress and release muscle energy so your body is tired enough for sleep. Because it can also be energizing, engage in exercise early, at least two hours prior to bedtime.
• Check your meds. Some medications can contribute to sleep problems. Talk to your doctor. You may be able to shift the time you take certain medicines (diuretics, for example) to minimize their effect on sleep.
For more information about sleep disruption and helpful tips on how to get a better night’s sleep, click here to find out how you can Master Your Sleep.