If you’re battling insomnia, you know it makes everything else in your life worse.
You can only sustain the lack of sleep for so long before it catches up with you, making everyone and everything around you pay the price. Your health suffers, your work suffers, your family and friends suffer, and your physical and mental health decline.
If you’re fighting insomnia and you find yourself longing for the nights when you slip into the cool sheets of your bed and drift easily off to sleep, there is hope. At Arlington Family Practice, we’ve helped many patients beat insomnia by practicing good sleep hygiene.
Here are a few tips on how to set yourself up for success when it comes to your sleep hygiene:
Build an environment conducive to sleeping
Let’s start with your environment. Your bedroom should be calm, inviting, and relaxing. Choose a high-quality mattress and pillow so you’re starting from a good foundation, and buy bedding that fits your preferences (skip the cheap sheets).
Keep the temperature cool (around 65-70 degrees), block out light with blackout shades, and use ear plugs or a white noise machine to drown out sounds that might otherwise bother you.
Develop a pre-sleep routine
Once you have a great place to sleep, develop a consistent routine that gets you to that spot without even thinking. Follow the same steps in the same order every night so your brain begins to realize that it’s almost time for bed once you start doing these things.
Your routine should include a fixed bedtime and wake-up time to get your body into the rhythm of sleeping each night. You should also build in 30-60 minutes of device-free time before bed.
Screens cause mental stimulation and also give off blue light that decreases your melatonin production, making it more difficult for you to go to sleep. Try reading a physical book instead.
Eat and exercise early
Exercise is a great way to fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly, as long as you finish at least three hours before bedtime.
Exercise signals your body to release cortisol, a stress hormone that keeps you on alert. This is great when you’re exercising, but not so great when you’re trying to fall asleep.
In the same way, don’t eat a large amount of food just before bedtime. This could cause indigestion, which in turn keeps you awake. If you do get hungry before bed, eat foods that help you sleep, such as carbohydrates.
You should also avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening so it won’t keep you up later in the night.
Building healthy sleep habits such as these go a long way toward beating insomnia. If you’re still struggling and are ready for some help confronting the problem, call the expert team at Arlington Family Practice in Arlington, Massachusetts, or book an appointment online.
We’ll have you sleeping all night long before you know it!