Fatigue can be held accountable for as many as 40,000 traffic injuries and around 1,500 deaths per year in the US alone. Aside from impairing brain power and increasing the risk of an accident, insomnia’s ill-effects can also have a negative impact on our ability to lead a healthy life and perform at our best.
If you regularly find yourself staring at the ceiling and that counting sheep just isn’t cutting it, there are a number of ways you can remedy those sleepless nights.
Your internal body clock is the main factor in governing when you feel sleepy. Setting a regular bedtime and wake-up time is a really effective way of regulating your body clock. The part that most people find challenging is sticking to these times, especially at the weekend.
Some insomniacs find that keeping a sleep diary really helps in trying to understand what’s keeping them up at night. Keeping track of activity approaching bedtime and identifying when insomnia strikes often means sufferers can pinpoint bad habits and behaviours, such as the ones discussed below.
The following environmental factors are major culprits in stealing sleep:
- Sleeping surface
Adequate space to rest and selecting the right sleeping surface are equally important to get right. Consumer Reports found that people who spent more than 15 minutes testing a mattress were more likely to be happy with their purchase. The same applies when choosing pillows – take time to find the shape that supports your head and neck the best and be sure to change them regularly.
Cut it out
The use of some substances including caffeine, alcohol and nicotine can interfere with our ability to catch much-needed Zzzs. Caffeinated drinks should be cut out at least 8 hours before bedtime, and excessive quantities of alcohol are best avoided altogether. Although drinking can actually aid the process of falling asleep, it also negatively impacts on the quality of rest, cancelling itself out in the sleep-stakes.
The addictive qualities of nicotine are enough to wake some smokers during the night and this, coupled with common respiratory and circulation problems associated with smoking can leave you struggling to get your eight hours.
Stressful lifestyles are the norm these days. Overthinking, overscheduling and anxiety are all side effects of a busy lifestyle that can lead to lack of sleep. Try to make time to wind down before bed after a busy day at the office. Some people find deep breathing and meditation techniques before bed can help to reduce the disruption that a stressed mind has on rest.
And stop trying too hard! Over-focus on falling asleep such as clock watching is known to hinder relaxation.
Switching off the TV at least an hour before bed helps your brain to wind down. Our body’s sleep-wake cycle starts with the eyes, so when the eyes are registering light our brain isn’t receiving the signal to produce the melatonin that we need to make us feel sleepy. This is particularly true of blue light, such as the type used in backlit devices such as laptops, phones and tablets.
Do you suffer from insomnia? What other techniques have you found can help you drift off to sleep?
This article was provided by Sam Rigby on behalf of The Odd Mattress Company. Follow this link to find out more about choosing the right mattress for you.
Photo credits: debspoons of freedigitalphotos.net