Sensible Sleep Strategies: A Guide for Today’s Insomniac

Although insomnia can become a serious problem if it occurs for a long period of time, regular bouts of missed sleep can be a part of your life that take away from precious energy and productive time. If you find yourself toiling away into the late hours, can’t seem to wind down at the end of a busy day, or are excessively fatigued during the daytime, it’s likely you are having trouble sleeping.

A regular sleep schedule is hard to maintain in today’s busy world; with so many distractions and stress-increasing activities that many of us endure, it can be difficult to calm down and ‘detach’ naturally. Regular meditation, periods of rest and reflection, and deep breathing exercises are great ways to experience some peace; but for the majority of us, this isn’t regular enough to offer benefits that lead to deep and regular sleep schedules.

Sensible sleep strategies are habits that can be cultivated over time. Learning to wind down is just as easy as learning to wake up; it’s a matter of self-awareness to some extent, but also accommodating your environment, negative habits near sleep time, and even diet to become more conducive to natural sleep.

Sleep cycles ebb and flow throughout the night, with most of us falling into phases of deep and light sleep. Our deepest sleep that targets the ‘delta’ waves is essential for muscle, cell, and general health regeneration. Over-tiredness during the day can be a direct result of not getting enough ‘delta’ sleep into the sleep cycle. There are some simple and effective strategies to encourage deep repose and energy-boosting sleep for the daytime when you most need it:

1. Avoid eating large meals at least 2-3 hours before bed. This will help you wind down naturally by not giving your body and mind the task of digestion when it needs to focus on sleep.

2. Limit caffeine after 3 p.m. Although the idea of a second jolt of soda, caffeine, or tea may seem appealing during your afternoon crash, avoid excessive consumption by eating a piece of healthy fruit, a high-protein snack, or just drinking cold water to stay refreshed and recharged naturally.

3. Avoid naps throughout the day. A power nap may be good for you if you have a very demanding schedule that requires physical and mental exertion beyond your typical day or week. However, napping on a regular basis may be ruining your chances of a deeper night’s rest.

4. Create a healthy sleep environment. Do take time to prepare your sheets, pillows, and temperature of your bedroom conducive to rest and relaxation. You’ll likely fall asleep sooner and faster when you can make a mental connection between your bedding, lighting, and temperature on a frequent basis.

5. Embrace the sunrise! This is a great way to get into a natural cycle of daylight and night time by absorbing some fresh sunlight and daylight int eh morning. This is also a great technique to help you adjust to time zone changes and new environments as your body becomes more responsive to the natural rhythms of the day.

6. Create a bedtime ritual. Whether it’s some light reading, a hands-on craft, a journal, or finishing a puzzle, focus on some light and non-taxing mental activity that you can do on a regular basis.

7. Take a warm bath. This time-old strategy will help your muscles and mind relax with ease, especially if you incorporate some scents such as vanilla, lavender, and rosemary with oils, bath beads, or candles.

8. Plan to get up at the same time each morning. Simply sticking to a regular schedule can help you create better habits in the long run. Encouraging yourself to get up at the alarm (no sleeping in!) will help maintain an effective waking cycle.

When all else fails, and you just cannot sleep, take some time to relax and even begin a new project. Avoid television or other hyper-media distractions, as these will only encourage alertness. Staying slightly busy for even just fifteen minutes may cause you to to get tired naturally; you can easily lull yourself into dreamland without even trying

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