If you find that you occasionally have trouble sleeping, you are far from alone. As many as 70 million Americans suffer from sleep difficulties of some kind. Everyone knows how important it is to get calm, restful sleep in order to recharge our minds and bodies for the next day. A string of not sleeping well for a few nights in a row will kill productivity, hamper our moods, and can create anxiety when it is time to sleep again, causing another restless night of sleep.
There are some basic tools used in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia that can help anyone struggling to sleep get on the path to a more restful, relaxing sleep. The kind our bodies need.
1. Manage your stress and anxiety.
Stress and anxiety are two of the biggest culprits in causing difficulty sleeping. Managing them will help you sleep.
One way to help manage stress and anxiety is by using breathing exercises and muscle relaxation exercises such as Yoga. Both of these help to reduce stress and promote relaxation.
It might sound a little silly at first, but another tool you can use to schedule a “worry time”. Pick a specific time each day to write your worries down. If you think of something at another point in the day, tell yourself that you will worry about that during your “worry time”. If it is really pressing, take a minute to write down your worry at that time.
This simple trick can help you go from worrying and stressing yourself out throughout the day, to being more calm, knowing that you have a specific time to dwell on and resolve your worries.
2. Do not look at the clock while trying to go to sleep.
This goes along with the above tip of managing stress and anxiety. Looking at the clock can cause you to start to worry about sleeping and stress over it. With each ticking minute, the anxiety over not being able to fall asleep can build.
Some people will go as far as to put their clock in another part of their bedroom or to at least turn it facing a different direction.
And whatever you do, try to stay off your cellphone. The time is right there at the top staring you in the face.
3. Train your body and mind to sleep.
When you lie in bed sleeplessly, an unconscious change begins to take place in our mind. The brain starts to associate lying in bed with sleeplessness. There are a few things you can do to retrain your brain for sleep:
· Avoid using you bed for anything other than sleep.
· If you are in bed and awake for more than 20 minutes, get up. Sit in a chair in your bedroom or move to another room. Do something “non-activating” in a low light area. For example, reading or relaxation exercises. Avoid reading on an electronic device. Looking at video screens such as television or the screen on your phone only makes sleep more difficult.
· Have a routine. Doing things like stretching, taking a warm shower, or having a cup of tea (decaffeinated of course) can all help to send messages to your brain that it is time to sleep.
4. Daily activities.
There is an enormous amount of evidence suggesting that exercising during the day can help you to sleep better at night. A tired body and mind is easier to turn off at night.
If rigorous exercise is not your thing, that is okay. Just a 20-minute walk a few times a week can greatly help your sleep patterns.
Although many of us enjoy a nice relaxing nap, try to avoid napping. Napping regularly can really make sleeping at night challenging.
These simple tips used by insomniacs can help anyone finding it difficult to sleep to improve their sleep patterns immediately.