Beating Insomnia: 9 Simple Strategies For Restful Sleep

Beating Insomnia: 9 Simple Strategies for Restful Sleep

Insomnia is a serious problem that affects millions of people. We can define it as an inability to fall or stay asleep, even when the opportunity exists for it. For example, you are in bed trying to sleep, with the conditions given to enter sleep, but you still cannot fall asleep. This is a very different scenario than sleep deprivation that results from not giving yourself enough opportunity to sleep. This inability to fall asleep is technically considered insomnia when it has occurred for at least half an hour, at least three times a week, for at least three months.

Strategies to beat insomnia

The purpose of this article is to present a wide variety of strategies to combat insomnia, based on the idea that the broader the variety of responses to attack a problem, the more likely it is that it can be resolved.

1. Control the light that enters your eyes

This is one of the most important measures, which in certain cases may be enough on its own to solve the problem. The first step to having a good sleep is to regulate the so-called circadian rhythm, which is a biological cycle that lasts approximately 24 hours and that influences a variety of physiological processes and behaviors in living organisms, including human beings. This internal rhythm acts as a biological clock (at the brain level it is the suprachiasmatic nucleus), which regulates the activity and function of our body throughout the day and night.

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This “biological clock” is sensitive to the amount of light, the type of light, and the time within the 24-hour cycle that this light is received. Consequently, it is very important to control your exposure to light, to keep your biological clock well adjusted, so that you feel sleepy at night and alert during the day. The general rule and habit that you should implement from now on is see natural light for at least 3 minutes, early in the morning (ideally within the first hour after sunrise, since that “yellow” light is perfect for stimulating the specialized light sensors that are in the retina). The ideal is to also do the same with evening light. Spending a few minutes outside during the early hours of the day, and also at sunset, will clearly indicate to your “biological clock” what the beginning and end of the day are, which will put the order in order. circadian cycle.

In consequence of the above, you shouldn’t see bright light after 10 p.m., until 4 am, because that light signal during the night confuses your biological clock, making it “believe” that it is daytime, the production of melatonin in the pineal gland is inhibited, and it can aggravate insomnia or make your sleep difficult. of inferior quality. At night use dim, warm lights, and if you need to watch screens, do so with minimal brightness or with sunglasses.

2. Set a regular time

Even on the weekends, keeping a regular wake-up and bedtime can help your circadian rhythm become established.

3. Avoid caffeine after 12 pm

The half-life of caffeine is approximately 7 hours. That is, half of the caffeine you drink is still circulating through your system after 7 hours. If you drink a cup of black coffee, with 200mg. of caffeine at 5pm, you will have around 100mg. of caffeine in your body at 12 at night. This aggravates insomnia, and even if you manage to sleep, that caffeine that is still in your body will make your sleep less deep, and therefore, less restorative.

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4. Be careful with naps

Naps are great, and can have many benefits, as long as you don’t suffer from insomnia. The ideal is to be quite sleepy when you go to bed, and take naps, especially if they are very long, or very late in the afternoon, can cause you to be less sleepy when it’s time to sleep. If you have to take a nap, make sure that it does not exceed 30 minutes and that it is not too late.

5. Reduces anxious thoughts

Worries, things you have pending, or personal problems of all kinds can make your mind race at a time when it should be quiet. A very effective way to achieve this is through writing. Write before going to bed about all the things that worry you, issues you have pending, tasks for the next day, events that affected you emotionally during the day, etc. The idea is empty your mind of what could be thoughts that prevent you from letting gorelease contact with the world and enter sleep.

6. Physical activity

It is known that regular physical activity can improve the overall quality of sleep by releasing endorphins, regulating the circadian rhythm and promoting a feeling of natural tiredness at the end of the day. It is important that physical activity is not done too late, so that it does not interfere with the circadian rhythm.

7. Never stay awake in bed for too long

Over time, a person with insomnia may develop increasing anxiety and stress associated with the very act of going to bed and “trying” to sleep. Stress and anxiety are states of activation of the sympathetic nervous system, related to alertness, which is exactly the opposite of sleep.

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In this way the idea of ​​wanting to sleep causes you stress and therefore you cannot sleep, and As you can’t sleep, the more you feel stress, and thus in a vicious circle that it is important to break. To do this, it is necessary to separate the emotional state of anxiety from the act of being in bed. One way to achieve this is to get out of bed if you can’t sleep for more than half an hour (approximately), and change space, for example sit on the couch quietly, without doing anything stimulating, just wait until you are quite sleepy, and at that point you can go back to bed.

8. Breathing 4-7-8

This breathing technique is a powerful way to slow down the mind and relax the body. It consists of inhaling for 4 counts, holding the air inside for 7 counts, and then exhaling for 8 counts.. You can repeat the cycle as many times as you want, and you will immediately notice the relaxing effect.

9. Yoga Nidra

This is also a very effective technique to relax the body and mind. It is a guided practice. One that I recommend is in this video:

I hope you find this package of measures useful if you suffer from insomnia, either to improve your rest or prevent insomnia at some point in the future.