Each year, an estimated 30 million North Americans battle with insomnia! It’s the most common sleep disorder, and it’s a problem that can affect everything from the way you work and play, to the way you function in life. So, before you toss and turn another night, let’s review some new fixes for insomnia, that DON’T involve taking sleeping pills. These come from sleep expert Dr. Claudia Toth, and ABC News:
- First: Improve your “sleep hygiene.” That means eliminate all lifestyle habits that could interfere with sleep. For example, studies have shown that drinking too much caffeine or alcohol, or smoking right before bed, can interfere with your ability to sleep. The reality is, your body needs at least two hours to “wind down” at night, before you even think about sleeping.
- Another way to fix insomnia: Practice sleep restriction. In other words, restrict your time in bed to when you’re actually going to be sleeping. So, anytime you find yourself tossing and turning for more than 10 minutes, Dr. Toth recommends leaving the bedroom. Go somewhere to else to listen to music, or solve a puzzle, until you’re drowsy enough to fall asleep. Research shows you may get less sleep at first, but sleep restriction will build up your body’s “hunger” for sleep, and your brain will begin to associate lying in bed with falling asleep.
- The next insomnia fix from Dr. Toth: Stay positive. Brain scans have shown that your brain’s more activated when you think negative thoughts, like: “I’m never going to fall asleep!” That causes stress, which makes it harder to go into “sleep” mode. So, try focusing on something positive instead – like something you’re looking forward to in the day ahead.
- Finally: Always follow the basic “sleep rules.” That means: Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day – even on weekends. Also, make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet by removing all electronics that give off light – including your digital alarm clock. Experts say a lot of people get insomnia because they keep looking at their clock to see what time it is. That only increases your adrenaline, and reminds you that you’re not asleep.