While some of us are lucky enough to fall asleep within minutes after their heads hit the pillow, quite a significant amount of people suffer from insomnia. The problem is there are a number of common advice and habits that at known to boost sleep but which in actual fact, makes your insomnia worse.
If you’ve ever struggled to get to sleep, here are some of the things you’re doing that is preventing you from falling asleep easily.
Checking The Time
Constantly checking the time to know if it’s time for you to get up not only affects your sleeping routine but may actually be causing you insomnia. Glancing at the clock may make you feel like you’re tracking the situation and you’re on top of it, but it’s actually a bad habit. This is because it helps to decrease the time you have for sleep and increase your worry about your inability to fall asleep.
It also causes a spike in your cortisol and adrenaline levels, causing stress. It is best to set an alarm and place it away from the bed, where you can’t see the clock. This is particularly good, if you use your phone as your alarm, as even a small flash of blue light from the screen can wake you up more than you want, talk more of all the notifications that might be scrolling by.
Ensure your bedroom is free of distractions as much as possible. This includes having no television, phones and any other thing that beeps or flashes in the room.
Taking Sleeping Pills
Ironical isn’t it? The drugs that are supposed to help you sleep better man actually be preventing you from sleeping. The reason for this is that sleeping pills have not been proven to increase quality of sleep to any large degree.
Quality of sleep is vital to helping you wake up feeling refreshed and if your quality of sleep is poor (waking up often or failing to reach truly deep sleep), you won’t fully tap into the restorative processes that your brain and body need.
Moreover, some studies have found that sleeping medications such as Ambien help you fall asleep only a few minutes earlier than you would without using them and those extra minutes may not equate to much relief, especially when you consider the side effects such as morning grogginess or sleepwalking.
Getting Out Of Bed when You Can’t Fall Asleep
It’s common advice to give yourself 15 minutes to fall asleep, and then get up to read or listen to music if you can’t. This shouldn’t be the case however, as lying down in bed, even if you’re not sleeping—can be hugely beneficial to the body.
Provided you’re not angry at the fact that you’re not sleeping, then you should see that time in bed as rest. Resting helps your body even if you’re not actually asleep, by lowering t levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
Furthermore, people tend to get up and do something that wakes them up even more such as going through their social media feeds or doing work tasks. These things actually makes it harder to fall asleep later on.
Sleeping Only When You’re Tired
While it seems pretty logical to only want to sleep when you’re tired, varying your bedtime can cause sleep disruption over time. This is a problem for people within the age of 20 to 40, simply because their bodies seem to be able to handle lack of routine.
The truth however is that the human body craves structure. Setting a regular bedtime, waking up at the same time each day can actually make it easier to fall asleep. This is because your body powers down on cue, reducing adrenaline and cortisol and increasing sleep-inducing melatonin around the time it expects you to start winding down.