In today’s competitive world, sleep is seen as more of a luxury than a necessity. However, sleep is important for the well being, both emotionally and physically for an individual. Insufficient sleep or no sleep has long lasting health and psychological disorders. If you have been experiencing insomnia, it may be due to a number of factors, including stress, anxiety or depression. In order to address your sleep problem, it is best to consult an experienced practitioner who can help you change your behaviour, manage feelings and emotions that may interfere with your sleep.
Here are some of the common steps that psychologists will need you to take so that you can change your habits and in the process improve your sleep:
- Create a relaxed environment for sleeping – Your bedroom should be dark, cool and quiet. Turn off all your electronics such as computer, phone and television.
- Avoid being in stressful situations or having anxiety – inducing discussions right before bedtime. Discussing any difficult topics will increase the heart beat and increase tension, thus, interfering with your sleep. If any such matters are to be discussed, do it way before your bedtime.
- Set a sleep schedule and stick to it – Go to bed and get up at a scheduled time every day, even on holidays. Avoid going to bed too early as you might not fall asleep and will only make you anxious. Also, it is best to avoid any late afternoon naps.
- Exercise regularly – Exercising regularly will increase your total sleep time. But, avoid exercising late in the day as it will boost your energy and you will have a hard time falling sleep.
- Avoid late night meals and consumption of alcohols – Have your meals at least 2-3 hours before your bedtime. Limit alcohol to evenings as it will interfere with the quality of sleep.
- Limit the use of nicotine and caffeine – These have heavy stimulants that make it harder to fall asleep and also does not allow a person to have good quality sleep.
- Calm yourself down with quiet activities before bedtime – Do not just try to go off to sleep after watching your favourite programs on TV or after completing your day’s work. Keep some time aside to quiet your mind after a stressful day. You may indulge in activities like meditating, take a hot bath or listening to music to calm yourself down before you go to sleep.
Studies show that people who recognize their disorder and seek help with it rather than taking sleeping pills are able to fight insomnia better. No matter the cause, it is best to get professional help to improve the quality of your life.