Holistic Living

6 Tips to Beat Insomnia

Written by Janita Falschlunger;

After graduating in Psychology and being accepted for a masters in clinical psychology, Janita sought out help from a sleep therapist due to the fact that her baby woke up every 40 minutes and she was struggling to achieve her full potential. After 2 short weeks of sleep therapy her life changed completely for the better and she was inspired to do the same for other parents. She studied to become a sleep therapist and is now a mummy of two gorgeous girls, is based in Malta and enjoys the balance of parenthood and sleep. She is currently qualified in assisting pregnant mums, newborns and children up to the age of about 7. Although she has been considering to broaden her horizons in the near future and to delve into adolescent, adult and geriatric sleep as well.

6 Tips to Beat Insomnia

Sleep is a basic human need, as important for good health as diet and exercise. When we sleep, our bodies rest but our brains are active. Sleep lays the groundwork for a productive day ahead. Getting the right amount of sleep is vital, but just as important is the quality of your sleep. Biological conditions unique to women, like the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause, can affect how well a woman sleeps. This is because of the changing levels of hormones that a woman experiences throughout the month and over her lifetime.

Women are more likely than men to have trouble falling and staying asleep

Effects of not getting enough shut eye…

In the short term, a lack of adequate sleep can affect judgment, mood, ability to learn and retain information, and may increase the risk of serious accidents and injury. In the long term, chronic sleep deprivation may lead to a host of health problems including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even early mortality.

Now that we know how important sleep is, let’s have look at some tips that can help to beat insomnia …

1. Get on a consistent sleeping schedule

Probably the most important. The circadian rhythms that control your sleep-wake cycle originate in a part of your brain called the hypothalamus. These neurons are sensitive to light and work to synchronize your biological clock to regular light-dark hours. The more consistent these are, the stronger your body will respond to natural circadian rhythms and the easier it will be to fall asleep when you’re supposed to.

2. Limit screen time before bed

Bright light can impact your circadian rhythms and staring into a computer screen late into the night can make it more difficult to fall asleep. Working and other mental activity can also keep your mind alert and prevent it from relaxing enough to fall asleep. Screens also shine a light that our eyes perceive as blue light that decreases Melatonin. Melatonin is of utmost importance for good sleep. Why not try to quiet your mind by taking a bath, reading an old-fashioned paper book, having some herbal tea or listening to calm music instead. Work in some winding down time before bed.

3. Exercise regularly

Regular exercise can improve sleep quality and duration. However, exercising immediately before bedtime can have a stimulant effect on the body and should be avoided. Try to finish exercising at least three hours before you plan to retire for the night.

4. Do not eat or drink right before going to bed

Eating a late dinner or snacking before going to bed can activate the digestive system and keep you up. If you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) or heartburn, it is even more important to avoid eating and drinking right before bed since this can make your symptoms worse. In addition, drinking a lot of fluids prior to bed can overwhelm the bladder, requiring frequent visits to the bathroom that disturb your sleep.

Also, very important, no caffeine after 2pm. The effects of caffeine can last for several hours, so the chances of it affecting sleep are significant. Caffeine may not only cause difficulty initiating sleep, but may also cause frequent awakenings.

5. Make your sleeping environment comfortable

Temperature, lighting and noise should be controlled to make the bedroom conducive to falling (and staying) asleep. Your bed should feel comfortable and if you have a pet that sleeps in the room with you, consider having the pet sleep somewhere else if it tends to make noise in the night.

6. Get all your worrying over with before you go to bed

If you find you lay in bed thinking about tomorrow, consider setting aside a period of time — perhaps after dinner — to review the day and to make plans for the next day. The goal is to avoid doing these things while trying to fall asleep. It is also useful to make a list of, say, work-related tasks for the next day before leaving work. That, at least, eliminates one set of concerns.

Did you find this article helpful? Should you require the assistance of a sleep therapist feel free to contact Janita via email on janita@goodnightbaby.co.za or give her a call on +356 7708 0443

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