Many of us experience the occasional night of sleeplessness without any consequences. It is when the occasional night here and there becomes a pattern of several nights in a row that you are faced with a sleeping problem.
Repeated loss of sleep affects all areas of your life: The physical, the mental, and the emotional. Sleep deprivation can affect your overall daily performance and may even influence your personality.
If your insomnia continues for a long period it can cause problems in your relationships, compromise your productivity, and perhaps lead to other health problems.
It can become a relentless cycle of worry and anxiety as night after night you toss and turn, wondering when sleep will come, wondering what is wrong with you.
Insomnia and sleeplessness generally fall into three categories:
“Initial” insomnia: where you have difficulty in falling asleep, generally taking 30 minutes or longer to fall into a sleep state.
“Middle” insomnia: where after falling asleep you have problems maintaining a sleep state, often remaining awake until the early morning hours.
“Late” or “Terminal” insomnia: where you awake early in the morning after less than 6 hours of sleep.
Insomnia can be the symptom of some medical conditions that may require your doctor’s advice and medical care. In those cases, the cause will be treated, not the insomnia.
If, however, your sleeplessness is due to a pattern of not sleeping, or because your body and mind find it difficult to settle into a state of relaxation necessary for sleep, this book offers you alternative choices for achieving healthy sleep without the use of prescription drugs.
It is essential that you establish a bedtime routine that works for you and stick with it. Your body and mind need to have consistency now so that you can learn to fall asleep naturally.
Decide on a course of action and stick with it for at least a week or two before making changes to your routine.
Write down your plan of action, including bedtime and waking time. Keep a list of the herbs and vitamins that you have tried as well as what teas you prefer.
Stick to your routine and after a week or two has passed and you are still having trouble sleeping make appropriate adjustments. The key here is to be consistent and determined.
Your goal should be to establish a regular sleep schedule. Wake up each morning at the same time and try not to oversleep. Sleeping longer in the morning will only make you feel groggy and disoriented.
Sleep experts believe that you should get an average of seven to eight hours of sleep each night. You can’t make up for sleep that you lose during the night by sleeping in later in the morning.
Simply do your best during the day and try to get back to your sleep schedule that night.
Try to get ready for bed at the same time each night. Once you have established what hours work best for you then try to be consistent.
It is important to realize that a regular bedtime routine is imperative to your goal of achieving natural sleep. Create a routine that will prepare you for sleep.
The routine can include many of the suggestions found in this book or they can be as simple as brushing your teeth or reading a book. Whatever routine you decide on it will be a way of telling your unconscious that it is time to fall asleep.
Try to make sure that your routine is relaxing and not stimulating so that your mind can rest.
Make sure that daytime naps are not part of your daily routine!
If you allow yourself to sleep during the day, even if it just for a few minutes, you will confuse your body’s ability to differentiate between day and night sleeping.
Try staying active when you are feeling tired during the day and eat a small piece of fruit to increase your energy level.
- Remember that natural remedies work differently for everyone.
- Think positive thoughts as you design a sleep routine that is right for you.
- Don’t become discouraged if you change and alter your nighttime routine after a couple of weeks.
With perseverance and determination, you will achieve natural sleep.
After establishing a consistent bedtime routine, it is important to create a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere in your bedroom. The cozier and harmonic your bedroom is the more relaxed you will feel.
Your goal is to promote a calming and restive atmosphere. This can be achieved by creating a bedroom environment that is not only appealing to you but also functions without interruptions or annoying irritations.
Ensure that the room temperature is set according your preference.
Ideally your room should be on the cooler side; however, you should experiment with your own comfort level.
You don’t want to wake during the night either too hot or too cold and then find yourself wide awake once again. Sleep experts say that the ideal room temperature is 65 to 70 degrees F.
If possible try to sleep with the window open, however slightly. This will allow for proper room ventilation. Adequate air current is necessary for you to breathe in circulating air. This will aid your body in breathing deeply and correctly.
You may be sensitive to noises around you and outside of the bedroom. If this is the case and you find that noise is disturbing or interrupting your sleep you may want to consider purchasing ear plugs.
Ear plugs may take a little getting used to, however there are plugs on the market that are specifically designed to be comfortable and unobtrusive to your sleep. Take time to try what works best for you.
If you find ear plugs to be too uncomfortable you may want to use a “white noise” machine, such as a fan. “White noise” from the fan is used to over-ride or mask other sounds that may be disturbing to your sleep, such as traffic and voices.
Ideally your bedroom should be as dark as possible so that you experience the daytime/nighttime cycle. Light may disrupt your normal circadian rhythm and signal your body that it is time to wake up.
If you find it difficult to fall asleep in a room that is infused with too much light, try purchasing an eye mask. There are eye masks on the market that will be comfortable to wear as well as effectively block out any interfering light.
If you find an eye mask to be too uncomfortable try hanging thick curtains or install blinds.
If you find yourself listening to the sound of a ticking clock you may want to remove the clock from your bedroom and replace it with a digital clock.
If you find yourself constantly looking at the time to see how many hours you have left to sleep you may want to turn the digital clock to the wall. Knowing that time is passing will only increase your anxiety and stress about not sleeping.
Make sure that your room has no stimulation to lure you from sleep. This includes the television, computer, stereo equipment. You want to ensure that your bedroom is only used for sleeping and sex.
If you have a CD player in the bedroom make sure that you only use if for playing relaxing music or sleep inducing CDs.
If you find that your room is too dry you may want to purchase a humidifier, especially in the winter months.
Wear comfortable, loose clothing. The more constrained or uncomfortable you are the more likely you are to wake up during the night.
The goal is to encourage to you find the ideal sleep conditions for your personal preferences. You may have to experiment and try a variety of techniques to find what works best for you.