What is insomnia exactly?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is characterized by difficulty falling and/or staying asleep. If you have insomnia, you may:
- find it difficult to fall asleep
- lie awake for long periods at night
- wake up several times during the night
- wake up early in the morning and not be able to get back to sleep
- not feel refreshed when you get up
- find it hard to nap during the day, despite feeling tired
- feel tired and irritable during the day and have difficulty concentrating
What to do when insomnia hits
- Try breathing techniques
Left nostril breathing technique: When you wake up in the middle of the night, simply cover your right nostril with your thumb or index finger, and breathe normally through your left nostril only. The reason it works is that this breath activates a nerve that immediately engages the relaxing part of your nervous system. Make sure to do this technique correctly, if you breathe through the wrong nostril you’ll be up for hours!
Three-part breathing technique: Inhale, hold, and exhale for equal counts (e.g., inhale for five counts, hold for five counts, and exhale for five counts).
- Start monitoring things related to your sleep
You need to be observant about factors that might be affecting your sleeping, keeping track of when you sleep and how much, fatigue levels experienced throughout the day and other such symptoms. Keeping may help you identify what helps and what hurts your sleep the most.
- Follow a bedtime routine
Following a strict bedtime routine and indulging in activities that you find helpful in winding you down can be really productive for coping with insomnia. It works best if you continue to follow the sleep schedule even on weekends.
- Relax before going to bed
You should relax 1 hour before going to bed. Take a relaxing warm bath or/and read in bed.
What not to do when insomnia hits
- Avoid smoking
It’s quite simple to understand; the bodies of smokers are highly likely to suffer from nicotine withdrawal, thus disrupting their sleep through the night.
- Limit caffeine intake
When you give your taste buds a caffeine treat in the eve, it might affect your sleep negatively. In fact, experts suggest taking caffeine at least 6 hours before your sleep time, so that it’s out of your system by the time you are ready to sleep.
- Avoid alcohol before bed
According to various studies, drinking alcohol before going to bed disrupts your sleep cycles.
- Aerobic activity is good, but not in the evening
Moderate aerobic activity can be really helpful for insomniacs, according to a study, but works best not close to your bedtime. In fact, experts suggest not indulging in any significant physical activity at least 3 hours to bedtime, so that your body gets ample time to wind down. Otherwise, it can harm your sleep more than benefitting it.
- No screens
For many of us, this might be the toughest thing to follow; no screens when you lay down on your bed to sleep, because research has proven that “blue light” emitted by modern-day electronic devices can mess up our body’s natural sleep inducing mechanism.
If you are suffering from insomnia and you haven’t sleep well for more than 3 weeks we strongly recommend to visit your doctor.