Some people glorify sleeping just four hours per day and spend the rest of their hours working and learning. There is no glory in attracting mental and physical illnesses because of depriving yourself of sleep. Insomnia can lead to long-term psychological and physical health problems.
Other times, you could struggle to fall asleep, not out of your willpower but because of stress and anxiety. Whatever the case, this article will share some pointers on how to fight insomnia and fall asleep faster and for longer.
How to Fight Insomnia and Fall Asleep Faster and For Longer
1. Read a Physical Book
If you’re struggling to fall asleep, reading a book has proven effective in getting your mind off things, the anxiety, and the stress in your life. However, don’t be tempted to reach out for the e-book on your Kindle, tablet, or smartphone. These electronic devices with LED displays are notorious for emitting blue lights, which is unhealthy for your eyes and further exacerbates insomnia.
Johns Hopkins Medicine recommends getting a physical book whenever you get into bed. If you are not asleep within the first 20 minutes of reading the book, you should get out of bed and read from somewhere else until your body starts feeling sleepy. You should refrain from picking up a book that is too exciting or upsetting.
2. Play some Podcast
Listening to podcasts can be a great alternative if you are in bed and don’t want to turn on the light or start looking at texts in physical books. Like reading books, your choice of the podcast should not be too exciting or upsetting. That means staying away from political debates or other highly-emotive podcasts.
However, if you fail to fall asleep within 30 minutes, you should get out of bed and continue listening to the podcast somewhere else.
3. Play White Noise in the Background
Your attention can be quite aroused if you’re not careful in your podcast selection. Leading to you focusing more on the podcast than your sleep. Experts say you’re better off playing white noise in the background instead of risking your sleep trying to play exciting podcasts.
A white noise plays soothing sounds, such as the sound of waves on the beach soothingly hitting the beach, or waterfalls, rainfall, and crickets, among others. You can find such sound on popular streaming platforms like YouTube and Spotify.
4. Write your To-Do List
According to a 2017 Journal of Experimental Psychology, writing a to-do list has been found to help people fall asleep faster. The reasoning behind it is that people tend to lose sleep while they’re anxious about their future. So writing a to-do list gives them a plan for their future and how likely their future will pan out.
Thus leading them to relax and stop worrying much about their future. The end effect is they become relaxed enough to fall asleep.
5. Eat a Small Carbohydrate Snack
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, protein-rich food should be avoided when you are about to go to bed. These foods slow digestion and interfere with your sleep. Avoid drinks such as coffee, which make the brain hyperactive. Also, food that stimulates the release of norepinephrine hormones, such as processed cheese, pepperoni, and salami, should be avoided as evening food.
Eating a light carbohydrate snack has been seen to help when you feel you’re struggling to sleep. That includes a small serving of popcorn or whole-grain crackers. The small carbohydrate intake helps release serotonin, a hormone that helps the brain calm down, and thus falling asleep becomes easier.
6. Getting out of Bed
We have mentioned this early: if you’re trying to fall asleep and fail to do so within 30 minutes, get out of bed. All the while, you continue reading your book, listening to podcasts, or playing white sound.
According to Cormac O’Donovan, MD, an associate professor of neurology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, forcing yourself to sleep by just staying in bed might be counterintuitive because you will be training your brain to associate your bed with being awake.
“If you’re trying to sleep and your brain’s not letting you, it could just be that you’re going to bed too early.”
There’s nothing worse than wallowing in bed, tossing and turning through the night, and when morning comes, you ‘wake up’ exhausted. The bed should be for sleeping, among other relaxing things. If you still struggle to fall asleep after all the above pointers, it is best to seek out the service of a doctor or a psychiatrist. You might be facing serious medical or psychological issues.