Dealing with insomnia is no joke. According to the Sleep Health Foundation, about 1 in 3 people have some form of insomnia, which can range from mild to severe. No one is exempt from being at risk for it, since it can be caused by anything from anxiety to chronic pain. For those living with insomnia, a lack of energy, forgetfulness, extreme fatigue, and irritability might be common daily symptoms. Talking to your doctor about what you’re experiencing is the first step you should take if you have trouble getting to, or staying, asleep. Then, try some of these tips to get yourself back on a healthy sleep schedule:
Act Like a Kid
That’s right – put yourself on a bedtime and waking schedule! There’s a reason parents do this, after all. A schedule helps train your body to get on a healthy sleeping and waking pattern. If you have to wake up at 5 AM every day for work, get into your bed at 8 PM to give yourself a full hour of winding down before it’s time to sleep. It could take several weeks for your body to adjust to your schedule. But, then you’ll find it easier to fall asleep and you’ll feel more rested waking up.
Don’t Obsess About the Time
It’s so easy to wake up in the middle of the night and feel tempted to immediately look at the clock. But, what happens when you see that you only have two hours left until you get up? You probably start feeling anxious and pressured to get back to sleep quickly. Of course, the more pressure you feel, the less likely you are to fall asleep. If possible, avoid looking at your clock when you wake up! If it’s too tempting, then take the clock out of your room. You can still set an alarm on your phone but keep it away from your bed so you aren’t tempted to look at it, either.
Get Plenty of Sun
To sleep better at night, you need plenty of sunlight during the day. Sun is a natural provider of alertness, which can help you feel more energized throughout the day. It basically signals to your body, “Hey, it’s time to stay awake now!” Natural light also enhances your body’s circadian rhythm, giving you a more regular pattern of energy during the day and sleepiness at night. Use your lunch break to get outside and breathe in the fresh air. Open your office curtains to let the light shine in. And, soak up as much sun as you can before and after work so you’ll have an easier time getting to sleep later.