Most of us have experienced the horrible feeling of not being able to fall asleep. For some people, insomnia is more than an occasional problem. Approximately 3.3 million Canadians have sleep issues. A lack of sleep caused by insomnia contributes to feelings of depression, and a lack of sleep increases reaction time which can lead to accidents. Most times, difficulty falling asleep is due to anxiety. Not getting enough sleep increases feelings of tension. As well, people often start to fret that they won’t be able to fall asleep again. A repeating cycle of sleeplessness, insomnia and worry is thus established.
Ways to Cure Insomnia
The following are some tips that can help cure insomnia.
- Get enough exercise. Individuals who are overweight are at increased risk of insomnia. Cardiovascular workouts that exercise the entire body are best. They lead to a feeling of tiredness at the day’s end. However, don’t exercise right before bed.
- Alleviate pain. If you suffer from chronic pain, get medicine to control the pain so you can sleep.
- Avoid caffeine. Stop eating/drinking caffeinated products completely, if possible. If you do continue to consume caffeine, be aware that one cup of coffee has more caffeine than seven cans of cola. The effect of caffeine on insomnia will be less if the caffeine is consumed earlier in the day.
- Don’t nap after 3:00 in the afternoon. Napping in the evening will prevent you from getting a full night’s sleep.
- Keep a regular schedule. Try to head off to bed at the same time each day. Shift workers are at an increased risk for insomnia. If you work a shift job and suffer from insomnia, it might be worthwhile to try to get a different job or a different position within the company so that you wouldn’t have to do shift work.
- Create a bedtime routine. Try to maintain a regular nighttime routine to prepare the body for sleep. Just before bed, engage in quiet, relaxing activities. Do these things each night at the same time. A bedtime routine to reduce the risk of insomnia could be comprised of several of the following: have a warm bath, sit in a hot tub, read something pleasant, pray, have a cup of warm milk with a little sugar and cinnamon.
- Avoid stressful thoughts just before bed. Make a habit of never checking work-related emails in the evening. Don’t watch or read the news after work. If you must keep up with the abysmal events of the world, do so in the morning when it won’t affect your sleep.
- Don’t sleep alone. Skin contact with a spouse is best. Touching another person’s skin can be very beneficial and soothing. If you’re not married, get a pet to share the bed. A soft, warm, furry thing sleeping near you in the bed can be very calming and restful.
The cycle of insomnia can be broken. Making a plan now and sticking to it will lead to blissful and very much-needed rest.
©2009 Celesta Thiessen