What do you do when you can’t fall asleep easily? It’s very common, so let’s look at ways to fix this. Believe it or not, if you want to change the way you sleep, then you have to change the way you are when you’re awake. These two essential states of our consciousness are ultimately intertwined – literally speaking, we can’t have one without the other. So, the key to a good night’s sleep could be changing some things you do when you’re awake.
Trouble sleeping can be down to lifestyle factors
It makes sense that changing your lifestyle habits would play a role in helping you get better, more peaceful sleep at night. There’s a lot to factor in when deciding which habits to change, and which ones to pick up. Also, how taking sleep hygiene into consideration is also highly recommended.
For instance, how often do you wash your sheets and change the bedding? Do you know the best time to buy a new bed? How about pillows?
Those are questions for another day – so, for now, let’s focus on the lifestyle changes you can try out to get a more peaceful night’s sleep and to fall asleep easily.
Set a sleep routine
Sleeping irregular hours can throw your circadian rhythm off big time. When this happens, you confuse your body until it isn’t quite sure when it should rest and when it should stay active. This leads to sleepless nights and low energy days, both of which you hope would be over before they even start. When you want to fall asleep easily, this is one thing to try.
If you want to remedy sleeplessness, then it’s time to synchronise your internal clock. Give your body the much needed signal that there is a certain time of day that is officially designated as “bed time”.
“…Our bodies crave consistency,” Natalie Dautovich, Ph.D., a National Sleep Foundation’s Environmental Scholar, states. “With regular daily activities, our various body systems are able to prepare for and anticipate events. We naturally become more alert closer to our wake-up time. Our digestive systems become activated in advance of regular meal times in order to more efficiently process food. We start to relax and become sleepy prior to bedtimes. It turns out that these regular daily events serve to anchor our underlying daily rhythms.”
When building a routine to ensure a good night’s rest is fast approaching, it’s best to choose calming activities that don’t involve Netflix or any type of screen in general. If you can’t fall asleep easily, then setting a sleep routine could be one of the things to really help you.
A spiritual practice such as yoga, prayer, or meditation is known to be helpful. Others choose to read a book between the sheets. Others still choose to write down things to do the following day, or worries about the one they want to leave behind.
A hot cup of tea can be soothing, as can hot chocolate. Or, even better, some one-on-one time with your spouse or significant other. It’s all up to you – what’s going to make you want to pass out? Having trouble sleeping is really so common.
Exercise helps the body to get a good night’s rest
Every self-improvement article or health advice column you’ll find anywhere online will give you this piece of advice, whether you like it or not: start exercising. It’s true, exercising is important, in many ways than just one. Turns out it affects more than just your physical appearance, it affects your sleeping patterns, too. When you want to fall asleep easily, exercise can be a simple way to get your body in tune with your mind.
And here’s why: exercise boosts up the levels of BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor), a neurotransmitter that reduces your anxiety levels and help you get to sleep.
Some people recommend working out towards the beginning of the day to help stabilise your energy levels and end messages to your body about when your sleeping and waking periods begin and end, but apparently, working out at night technically doesn’t interfere with everyone’s circadian rhythms; as with most other things in life, it depends entirely on the individual.
So, do what’s best for you. If you can handle working out at night and still manage to get to sleep at a decent hour, go for it. If not, then maybe trying to squeeze in some time to sweat in the early hours of the morning. would be better for you.
Get better rest by cutting back on the caffeine and alcohol
Yep, you knew this one was coming, too! Alcohol, on the whole, might seem like it helps you get to sleep faster than if you were sober. But the truth is, it will keep you from reaching deeper, more nourishing levels of sleep that your body needs in order to get an adequate amount of rest.
In his 2013 review of collected results found from various studies that analysed alcohol’s effects on sleep quality, Chris Idzikowski, Director of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre, stated:
“…[A]lcohol on the whole is not useful for improving a whole night’s sleep. Sleep may be deeper to start with, but then becomes disrupted. Additionally, that deeper sleep will probably promote snoring and poorer breathing. So, one shouldn’t expect better sleep with alcohol.”
Which explains why it can be difficult to sleep off a hangover sometimes. Caffeine, on the other hand, has well-documented effects that impair your sleeping quality. For one, it helps produce more adrenaline, a hormone that’s intimately linked to your fight or flight response. For another, it also blocks adenosine, a chemical that helps you feel sleepy, amongst other things.
Drinking too much caffeine throughout that day can also lead to less time spent in the deep sleep phase. So, no rejuvenation for you. Suffering from sleeplessness is never fun, let’s face it.
Learn to fall asleep easily by tweaking your lifestyle just a bit
Learning to fall asleep easily can be done, you just need to “keep at it” and don’t expect things to happen (excuse the pun) overnight – proper changes take time. Most of us would like to fall asleep easily and get more peaceful sleep in the long run. The good news is, when you do things step by step, sleeplessness can be fixed.