For many years, there was a culture in the work world that celebrated surviving on as little sleep as possible. However, over the last few years, more people than ever are realizing just how critical quality sleep is to both productivity and overall health.
There is a long list of problems that can arise from not getting enough sleep on a consistent basis. Those problems include weight gain, greater risk of heart disease, increased risk for Type 2 diabetes, higher likelihood of depression, increased inflammation and decreased immune function. Since those are just some of the problems that not getting enough sleep can create, it’s easy to understand why sleep needs to be a priority in everyone’s life.
However, for people who struggle with getting enough sleep, there is often a big gap between acknowledging the importance of sleep and being able to get enough. While improving your sleep habits is generally an ongoing process, we want to share five proven ways to reduce insomnia and start sleeping better:
1. Stay Out of Your Bedroom Until It’s Time to Sleep
Between the declining costs of TVs and the prevalence of laptops, many people use their bed as a secondary couch. Although people who don’t have trouble sleeping can get away with this bad habit, it’s a behavior that anyone with sleep problems needs to end.
2. Get Out of Bed If You Can’t Sleep
One of the most frustrating aspects of insomnia is getting in bed and then not being able to fall asleep. When this happens, you should actually get out of bed after approximately twenty minutes and go to a different room. However, that doesn’t mean you should turn on your TV or pull out your laptop. Instead, either read a book in paper form or listen to relaxing music until you feel tired.
3. Be Conscious of Caffeine and Alcohol Consumption
Caffeine has a long half-life, which means even one cup of coffee later in the day can stick with you late into the night. That’s why a common recommendation is to cut caffeine consumption after 2PM each day (some people go as early as noon). And contrary to popular belief, alcohol can lessen sleep quality instead of improving it, which is why you’ll want to monitor how it affects your sleep.
4. Limit Bright Light Exposure in the Evenings
Computer, phone and similar screens emit what’s known as blue light. This can signal the brain to wake up. Try to avoid these screens during the last couple of hours of the day. And if you are going to look at them, use a solution like Flux or Night Shift to reduce a screen’s blue light by warming its color temperature.
5. Be Active During the Day
Whether it’s going to the gym or simply getting out for a walk, engaging in at least thirty minutes of exercise each day can be a very effective way to improve your ability to fall asleep at night and stay that way.
If sleep is a major challenge in your life, we encourage you to look at oursleep medicine offerings that can help you understand clinical conditions that occur during sleep and find the best solutions for those issues.