More than 30% of adults in the United States suffer from some kind of sleeping disorder. That’s around 70 million people! This is a real travesty. Yet we don’t hear political elites raising the issue on their policy agendas, or in political debates. The fact remains that getting a good night’s sleep is essential for maintaining body functions, for promoting long-term health, and for your general well-being. If you are the sleepless type, you should know that your fate is not all doom and gloom. There’s quite a lot you can do to improve the quality of your sleep. The goal is to regenerate the body in a manner through which it has your back throughout the day, regardless of the mental and emotional challenges you may be going through.
CHANGE YOUR DIET
Eating well has lots of benefits. For example, a rich and balanced diet may help you strengthen your immune system. But, more importantly, a well-balanced diet can have a positive effect on your sleeping habits.
Science has proven that people who eat healthily also sleep healthily, but it’s not just about what you eat; it’s also about when you eat. That’s right, one of the most common causes of insomnia is eating a big chunk of food right before going to bed.
So, if your eating habits leave a lot to be desired, it might be the hidden reason behind your sleeping issues. Consider eating more healthy stuff and adjusting the schedule of your meals.
Diet is also a very subjective topic. Gone are the days of the “one brush fits all” approach to diet and nutrition. Use your brain, and experiment. Some foods may suit your body well, others not so well. Not everybody is sensitive or allergic to gluten. Not everyone is lactose intolerant. Nor does every person get the same identical insulin spike from traditionally insulin-spiking foods. If your body is allergic to all sorts of things, do an allergy test! It might be on the expensive side of things, but might help you reduce all that bloating, nausea and indigestion. Fart!
Leave Your Phone Aside for a Moment
Nobody’s being shamed here, we’re all guilty. Even at night, when the birds stop chirping, and you blow out the candle lights, your phone still lights the room. I mean, there’s just so much stuff to scroll through on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, etc., right? Unfortunately, if you want to have a good night’s sleep, it’s time to put away your electronic companion. Don’t worry, I’m not saying you have to get rid of your phone forever. All you have to do is resist the temptation to use it when you’re already in bed and ready to go to sleep.
Why are phones so venomous in this regard? Well, they emit blue light, which not only harms your eyes but also makes it more difficult for your body to produce melatonin (a hormone that makes you naturally sleepy).
Also, scrolling through Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, etc.. can be extremely addictive. You might go to bed at 11 p.m. and before you know it, you’re watching your 27th cat-related video of the night at 3:00 a.m. Cats are cute, but I’d pick good night sleep on any day.
BE PHYSICALLY ACTIVE
Just like improving your diet, being physically active is a fix for many of life’s woes. This, of course, includes all kinds of sleeping difficulties.
But how does physical activity lead to better sleep? Well, it helps accustom your body to a cycle of activity on the one hand and rest on the other. If you are constantly in “rest mode,” (that is, if you’re not physically active) then your body will have no idea when it’s supposed to put itself to sleep. But if you incorporate some basic level of physical activity into your daily routine, you will sleep like a baby.
Now, I’m not necessarily suggesting that you participate in a marathon right before you go to bed. Just go for a short jog in the local park a few hours before you plan to go to bed, and you’ll be golden.
Excessive stress is probably the biggest reason behind sleepless nights. That’s because when we feel stressed, our brains are tricked into thinking there’s imminent danger, and they don’t let us fall asleep.
Now, avoiding stress isn’t necessarily so straightforward. It all depends on what kind of lifestyle you lead. Still, there are some universal ways of alleviating stress and anxiety.
For example, you can try meditation. It’s a great way to calm your mind and get rid of any self-imposed worries. If that’s not your cup of tea, you can try reorganizing your responsibilities and commitments. After all, stress is often caused by having too much on our plates at once.
Whatever the cause, it’s a given that chronic stress leads to sub-optimal sleeping habits. If you’re serious about wanting to sleep well, you have to address it. Be in control of your life, face your fears, confront your problems, do something about it.
AVOID OVERWORKING YOURSELF
Workaholism is a serious disease, especially nowadays. Not only can it disrupt your relationships or impact your mental health, but it can also prevent you from sleeping well.
Even though I just told you that activity is supposed to be good for your sleep, too much of it can also cause problems. This is not just because too much work leads to stress either (though that is also true). “Over-tiredness” can lead to disrupted sleep on its own.
This is an issue that has traditionally affected kids, but in our ever-so-workaholic society, more and more adults are succumbing to this fast-paced lifestyle. So, if you are experiencing sleeping issues, consider taking a break from whatever it is you’re doing (school, work, etc.). Go to nature, read a book about the French bourgeoisie and their progressive impact on social, philosophical and political life in the nineteenth century. Or take salsa classes. It might just be what you need (I’m talking about the walk in nature, not the book about the French bourgeoisie).
TAKE FEWER NAPS
Naps can be very useful; they serve a purpose. They restore you some energy quickly and efficiently.. or do they? Unfortunately, taking too many naps during the day may disrupt your biological clock, which might inevitably impact the quality of your sleep.
In this case, if you feel really sleepy during the day, try to hang on for a while longer, and go to bed early (without drinking 10 cups of coffee in the process!). You’re having “one of those days”? Brew yourself an evening chamomile, and be in bed by 9 pm rather than 10 pm.
SEE A SPECIALIST
If traditional methods don’t manage to address your sleeping issues, it might be time to seek professional help. No taboos here, there’s no point in fighting insomnia- or any other sleeping disorder- on your own.
A somnologist (that is, a sleep doctor) will be able to find solutions that are catered to your individual needs and circumstances. Sometimes it helps too to be heard! And if your sleeping issues are severe, you might need appropriate medication, and you’ll definitely need to see a specialist for that.