If you spend more time thinking of ways on how to sleep soundly than you actually do sleeping, then it’s high time for you to pay more attention to your sleeping habits. Also known as sleep hygiene, these activities can contribute to improving the quality of your sleep. By making simple changes to your daily routine, you can drastically reduce the amount of time you spend awake and wondering how do you get to sleep.
Here are four tips on how to improve your sleep patterns and catch more Zs at night:
Develop a healthy sleep pattern. Your body clock is largely dependent on your daily routines. Developing the habit of going to bed and getting up at the same time every day is one of the secrets on how to sleep better.
Avoid daytime naps. Sleeping during the day will lessen your need for rest later in the evening. Fight sleepiness by getting up and moving around. If you absolutely need a quick shut-eye, limit it to just 30 minutes before 3 p.m.
Use the bed only for sleep and sex. Associating the bed with anything other than rest can make it difficult for you to fall asleep when you finally crawl under the covers. Do not bring work to bed and go to sleep only when you are sleepy-tired.
Avoid heavy meals and strenuous exercise before bedtime. Both activities trigger your body to work and therefore keep you awake. If you are hungry stick to light snacks and when it comes to exercise, opt for relaxing stretches instead of rigorous workouts.
A good night’s sleep isn’t that hard to achieve when you’ve mastered the art of good sleep hygiene. Improving your sleep hygiene is a surefire way on discovering what you can do to ‘help me sleep well at night’.
SLEEP apnea is a common disorder in which you experience one or more pauses or reductions in breathing or shallow breaths during sleep. These breathing pauses usually last between 8 to 15 seconds, sometimes longer, and can happen more than a hundred times while you are sleeping. Health experts blame the disorder as the main culprit for insomnia.
In most instances, normal breathing resumes, sometimes in a choking sound or loud snort. When regular breathing is temporarily interrupted, you are derailed off your natural sleep tracks. As a result, you spend more hours in faint sleep and very little moment in restorative sleep that people need to be mentally alert and physically active the following day.
The disorder, if left untreated, keeps you from enjoying a healthy night’s sleep which is very important in your overall mental and physical well-being. Chronic deprivation of sleep results in poor concentration, sluggishness, slow reflex, heightened risk of accidents, and daytime drowsiness.
Sleep apnea can also cause health problems over a certain period of time, including weight gain, insomnia, stroke, heart disease, hypertension and even diabetes. But with early medical intervention, the symptoms can be controlled and allow you to get long normal sleeps and start to relish what it is like to feel reinvigorated and sharp every day.
Sleep apnea is normally a chronic malady that muddles your state of slumber. A person with the condition is often jolted out of deep sleep and into light sleep when their regular breathing pattern is disrupted or becomes superficial. The outcome is miserable sleep quality that makes the person feeling very feeble during his waking hours.
This form of sleep disturbance usually goes undiagnosed. Medical experts often can not detect the ailment during regular office visits. Also, sleep apnea does not require any blood testing.
Sleep apnea is very rare among children but common among grownups. Although a diagnosis of the disorder is often based on a person’s medical background, there are various types of tests that can be applied to validate the diagnosis. Treatment can be either non-surgical or surgical.
Majority of those who suffer from insomnia brought about by sleep apnea do not realize that they already have it simply because the disruption only takes place when they are sleeping. A member of the family or partner in bed is usually the first person who notices the symptoms of sleep apnea.
Stress has been considered as one of the most common emotional issues that causes Insomnia. A recent study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine investigated the factors that can affect our sleeping patterns. According to the study, it is not the stress that you experienced throughout the day that keeps you awake It is the way you cope with the stress and how you respond to your stressor.
The study sampled a community of 2,892 people with no history of insomnia. The participants were asked to report a number of stressful events that they encounter and their coping mechanisms with the corresponding stressful events.
The three coping mechanisms that were identified that are most likely to develop insomnia after a stressful event are:
According to the American Psychological Association’s Stress in America, they surveyed that almost 13 percent of Americans have turned to alcohol to ease down their stress level. But alcohol can cause sleep disturbance later at night, leaving you more exhausted and weak the next morning.
Those who opted to just watch TV or movies have a 4 percent risk of insomnia. They may forget their stressor momentarily while enjoying some entertainment, but the fact remains that their stressor is still unresolved and at the end of the day they have to come face to face with their problems.
The people who are in Denial and chose not to cope with their stress have the highest percentage of risk to develop insomnia, with a 9 percent increased of risk to develop insomnia for every sign of resignation.
Relieve stress to reduce insomnia
Thankfully, there are certain stress reliever strategies that can help you drift off at night. Dr. Vivek Pillai of the Research Center at Henry Ford Hospital suggested that mindfulness based meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia are two of the most effective methods that can treat insomnia.
I personally treat my chronic insomnia with breathing exercise and some cardio during the morning. A long steam shower an hour before my bedtime can also make a difference.
Insomnia and wondering how to get to sleep at night blights the lives of millions. If you aren’t getting the recommended eight hours of sleep a night then you can feel lethargic, irritable and unable to perform at your best. Prolonged sleep deprivation can also be very damaging to your health, as your body hasn’t had time to rejuvenate.
Thankfully, wondering how to get to sleep need not be a long-term problem. Through taking the right steps to improve your ‘sleep hygiene’ and making healthy lifestyle changes, you can find ways to help you to get to sleep at night and enjoy more lucid dreams.
Why does insomnia occur?
There are a wide range of reasons why you might be thinking of visiting your doctor and asking them to ‘help me sleep.’ In fact, a reaction to medication could be the root cause, so it’s a good idea to check whether your insomnia started at a particular time.
More common reasons for insomnia are psychological, notably stress, anxiety and/or depression. There can prevent your mind from reaching the relaxed state you need to be able to drift off to sleep. So if you think your sleep deprivation might be due to a mental cause then the best advice is to try and resolve the issue that is making you anxious. Although this may be easier said than done, it’s far healthier than reaching for the sleeping pills.
Other causes of that can stop you from sleeping can include taking stimulants, such as tobacco, alcohol or caffeine, a couple of hours before you want to get some shut eye and descend into lucid dreaming. These put your mind into a heightened state of alertness which makes it difficult to firstly get to sleep and secondly to reach the level of deep sleep needed so your mind and body can rejuvenate itself during the night.
Sleep Hygiene Tips
Sleep hygiene is the process of creating the right conditions and patterns of behaviour for making how to get to sleep easier. Along with cutting out stimulants from your diet, good sleep hygiene tactics on how to go to sleep include going to bed at the same time every night, not watching TV in bed and not eating a large meal too late at night.
While sleeping pills can help for brief periods of insomnia, they can be addictive as you can start to think that the only way to sleep is to pop a few pills every night. Sleeping pills can also make you drowsy the next day, which can be dangerous if you work in a hazardous environment, such as a building site.
An alternative is to try natural remedies. This includes a warm glass of milk, bananas and camomile tea, which releases relaxing chemicals in the brain that can help you drift off to the land of nod.
So if you find yourself lying awake at night thinking ‘what can help me sleep’, try some of the tips in this article so you can stop counting sheep and spend more time enjoying lucid dreams catching zzzs.
Picture this: the clock reads 3 a.m. and you are still thinking, “How can I sleep?” You have a major presentation and you desperately need to sleep. But your mind is running at 100 miles per minute and you are still wide awake. Sounds familiar?
One of the most ironic things about insomnia is that it is a stressful experience that is often caused by stress. Something stresses you out and keeps you up. You end up even more stressed out because you can’t sleep. So what can you do to get the sleep you need? Relax.
There are different relaxation techniques you can try to calm your nerves and still your mind. Relaxing is one of the secrets of how to sleep better, so give these relaxation techniques a try:
Deep breathing – The goal of deep breathing is to get as much fresh air into your lungs as possible. You can do this by taking deep breaths from the abdomen. Breathe in from your mouth, inhaling deeply and feeling your abdomen expand. Exhale through your mouth and feel your abdominal muscles contract. Repeat until you feel relaxed. Do this regularly and you will surely be a step closer to mastering the art of how to sleep well.
Visualization meditation – Use your imagination to transport you to a place where you feel truly relaxed. Use your senses to imagine the things you will see, hear, smell, taste, and feel when you are in that place. Concentrate on the details and be fully present in that imagined place. Visualization techniques can help you relax and help you can learn how to sleep better.
Yoga and Tai Chi – Yoga combines moving and stationary poses with deep breathing while tai chi uses slow, flowing movements. Both physical activities promote stress relief and increase your body’s relaxation response.
When you’re battling insomnia, you lie there for hours on end, getting agitated and worrying about being tired and crabby the next day. You may dread, yet again, missing the eight hours of sleep you need to be getting every night.
There’s a wide range of reasons why you might be suffering from the nighttime blues. It could be a reaction to medication, too many cups of coffee, troubling thoughts or a wide range of other reasons.
So the first step in battling insomnia is to try and identify what is stopping you from going to sleep at night. Introducing good sleep hygiene habits, such as going to sleep at the same time every night and avoiding stimulants late at night, is a also a wise step.
But if you’ve cut out the caffeine, haven’t been sat in bed working on your laptop and cant identify any psychological reason why you are still awake, it might be worth listening to some music a try.
How can music help me sleep?
To get to sleep, your mind and body has to be able to relax. If your mind is too active, worrying about things or being distracted, then it wont be able to go through the stages of relaxation needed to drift off to sleep.
There are a number of reasons why music can help you get to sleep at night:
1. Helps your body to relax
Along with your mind, your body has to be able to relax in order to get to sleep. This means your heart has to be able to beat at a slow, steady pace so that your muscles and body can relax.
Music can help if it is slow and matches the rhythm of a calm heart because it can subconsciously slow your breathing so that you reach a semi-meditative state and your muscles stop being tense and relax.
2. Calms down an overactive mind
Have you ever noticed how your thoughts seem to become abstract and random just as your drifting off to sleep? This is your mind becoming relaxed. It stops focusing on the here and now, but instead delves into the chaos of the subconscious mind. To help your mind get there, it needs to be able to relax.
Adopting the practices used by meditators to relax their mind and body can be an effective way of overcoming insomnia. Soft, relaxing music can enable you to calm the mind and to think in a less ‘present’ active state.
3. Blanket out background noise
If you live in a busy street, with noisy flatmates or family members watching the TV until late at night, background noise can be a real problem. Music can be helpful in providing a blanket of soft noise to replace the background sounds that might be keeping you awake.
Another option is to listen to ‘white noise’ that provides a continuous stream of sound. This can mask distracting background noise that’s disturbing you.
What sort of music can help me sleep?
Some of the music that helps people get to sleep includes Coldplay, Loreena McKennitt or even some downbeat ‘Dream’ trance music.
The best advice is to try calm instrumental music without any vocals. If there’s a singer in the song then it can distract your mind and stop it from relaxing. This could be because your brain has to subconsciously make sense of the words.
Soft, soothing music without vocals is probably the best for helping your mind and body to relax. You could try listening to panpipes, something ambient (like the sound of crashing waves or rainfall) or maybe even classical music.
A study by the University of Toronto found that music with slow rhythmic patterns created a meditative mood and slower brainwaves. It also found that classical music with this pattern helped people to get to sleep faster and for longer.
So if you’re wondering ‘what music can help me sleep? try some Bach or Beethoven to see if the scientists are right and that calming classical is great for sleep.
Almost everyone snores, even my 23 months old toddler snores occasionally. In fact, almost 90 million people in the United States alone snore.
While common, frequent snoring can disturb other people, particularly if they are in the same bed as you. So if you get complaints from other people that they cant sleep because of your snoring, it’s sensible to find a way to stop. While there’s no miracle cure, it is possible to find ways to stop snoring by identifying the cause of why you snore. Common causes of snoring include nasal and sinus problems, being overweight, alcohol, smoking and medications, oor sleep posture and the way you are genetically born.
Here are 5 ways to stop snoring depending on the root cause:
1. Keep your nasal passages clear
This will help you to easily breathe in through your nose rather than your mouth, and help you stop snoring.
I thought at first that my snoring sound comes from my throat, but I wake up from my loud snoring one night and the sound definitely came from my nostrils. I have a sinus problem and it happens to block my airways which makes my inhalation difficult, it then creates a vacuum in my throat which leads to my snoring. An effective home remedy I tried was steam inhalation. The hot steam moistens the nasal passages and effectively clears out my blocked nose which allows me to breathe more easily and sleep peacefully.
But if you are suffering from severe sinusitis or allergy, it is better to ask your GP or pharmacist for nasal spray or antihistamine prescriptions.
2. Quit or cut down on smoking
Smoke causes swelling and catarrh that if your nasal passages become congested it will be difficult to breathe through your nose because the airflow is decreased. This blockage then causes the vibrations in your throat and nose that cause snoring.
I occasionally tried smoking in college to keep me awake when I cram on examination week. It did help me stay awake but I guess I can’t tolerate the smoke, it irritates my throat so much that I end up having a cold the next day.
3. Avoid stimulants late at night
Avoid alcohol, sleeping pills and sedatives before going to bed. They contain the same substance that relax the muscles in your throat and interfere with breathing. If you are taking a prescription medicine at the moment, it is better to talk to your doctor and see if he can give you an alternative medication that doesn’t obstruct you getting to sleep.
4. Change your sleep position
It is advisable to sleep on your side, because lying on your back makes the base of your tongue and soft palate collapse to the back wall of your throat which causes a vibrating sound when you are asleep. You can also position a pillow beneath your head to open up nasal airways passages and might help you to prevent snoring.
5. Maintain a healthy lifestyle and balanced diet
Aside from my sinusitis, your snoring problems might be due to being overweight. The fatty tissue around your neck squeezes the airway and prevents the air from flowing freely in and out of our nose and mouth, causing you to start snoring at night.
As you can see, there are many reasons why you might snore at night. To find a solution, it’s a good idea to tick off all the possible causes on the list. You might be able to stop snoring by improving your diet, giving up smoking or changing your sleeping position. But if these don’t help, and you think your snoring problem might require surgery, then it’s recommended that you speak to a doctor for their expert advice on how to stop snoring for good.
Many people with insomnia rely on sleeping aids and pills just to sleep better. But another experiment that has surfaced that can make you sleep soundly at night is a more natural form of treatment – hypnotherapy. This medicinal form of hypnotism is a process which leads you into a deep sleep state, just like a fish swimming deeper into the ocean.
Recent research on its benefits for insomnia gathered objective data by using high-density electroencephalograph to document the high and low of the slow-wave sleep activity. It found that, patients that cant sleep and are suffering from insomnia because of difficulty turning off their thoughts can use hypnosis as a method in helping them focus their attention and sway off those deliberate thoughts.
Medication free, yes. But is hypnosis a risk free treatment when you cant sleep?
I have known hypnosis as a technique used by psychotherapist to treat a wide number of ailments and provide therapeutic benefits. I’d never known before that insomnia can be one of them. But what guarantee does it provide that it is safe? Knowing the vast history of hypnosis, how does it affect the patient’s brain? After all, as the patient only responds to the suggestions of the hypnotist, being in a defenseless state is what makes it a bit scary. I’ve got a friend who tried hypnotism before and woke up an hour afterwards terrified. She thought she detached from her own body and just wandered around the room.
How does hypnotherapy cure insomnia? Considering the high cost of having insomnia and the health risks it comes with, I think it would be worth taking the risks to try it out for once. As it claims to have permanent result. The procedure is very simple; a hypnotist will coaxed you to breathe deeply and told to relax your body. Until you reach a euphoric stage where every part of your body is free from tension and at ease. And the hypnotist would count down from three. They then provide suggestive thoughts to lead your brain into certain ways of thinking.
Hypnotherapy may work for some cases of insomnia, but it doesn’t guarantee to work for patients who have low hypnotic suggestibility compared to those who have higher suggestibility. But the relaxing effect of hypnotherapy may help every patient with insomnia to feel more relaxed and ready for sleep.
Every night, millions of people all over the world find themselves lying awake desperate for that miracle cure that can help to relax their mind so they can drift off to sleep naturally and healthily.
There are all sorts of bold claims made about light boxes, sleep clocks and hypnosis tapes that can help you get to sleep. It’s always wise to be cynical. But when the claims can be backed up by scientific research it’s worth checking out whether they might be the insomnia cure you’ve been looking for.
One of the latest treatments getting a lot of insomniacs excited (or ideally, more relaxed) is the phenomena of brainwaves entrainment and how it can help you to get to sleep.
What is brainwaves entrainment?
Our brainwaves fluctuate at different frequencies depending on the activity they are engaged in. During the daytime, when we are awake, they are typically between 12 and 30 Hertz, known as the Beta frequency. But when we are asleep the frequency slows dramatically to between 0.1 and 4 hertz, known as the Delta frequency.
In order to get to sleep, our brainwaves have to reduce from Beta to Delta. Normally this happens naturally, as our bodies and mind relax, our breathing slows and our minds drift off to the land of nod. But when you are feeling stress, depressed or anxious, you can find it difficult to relax enough mentally for your brainwaves to slow so you can get to sleep.
This is where brainwaves entrainment comes in. Brainwaves entrainment is the process of using special sounds and pulses to induce slower brain frequencies. When sounds are played at between 0.1 and 4 Hertz our brains naturally adjust themselves to replicate the slower frequency. Much like how fast dance music can make us feel more alert and active, slow sounds can help our minds to relax and feel calm and lulled into the Delta state needed for us to get to sleep.
A method of relaxation used for 100s of years
Brainwave entrainment isn’t a new concept. It’s been used for hundreds of years in spiritual and religious ceremonies to induce people into certain states of mind. Over the last hundred years brainwave entrainment has been developed and refined, and is now used widely for meditation, hypnosis and for curing insomnia.
Brainwave entrainment has been scientifically proven to be effective in reducing brainwave patterns and helping people to relax. This was done using a brainwave scanner to record feedback and images on the slowing brainwaves as a result of listening to brainwave entrainment music. What’s more, brainwave entrainment has been used successfully by the Monroe Institute since the 1980s, and many hypnosis experts swear by its power to help you feel relaxed and calm.
Where can I find brainwaves entrainment music?
There are many different types of MP3s you can buy that use brainwaves entrainment for inducing more relaxed states of mind. Many people use them as a form of therapy relaxation to reduce anxiety, stress or depression.
If you’re looking for an MP3 series focused on battling insomnia then you might want to check out the MP3 series produced by the Sleep Salon. Comprising of 12 different sessions, the set includes different types of brainwave entrainment for treating different levels of insomnia.
So if you’re suffering from bouts of insomnia then brainwave entrainment MP3s are worth trying to see if they can help you relax your mind and gain more hours of healthy, rejuvenating sleep each night. The entire Sleep Salon MP3 set is available on a 60 day money back guarantee, so if it doesn’t help to reduce your insomnia then you can get your purchase fully refunded.
A new study has found that insomnia could contribute to back pain. The survey was conducted in Tel Aviv Medical Center Inflammation Survey (TAMCIS) and was written by Maayan Agmon, PhD and Galit Armon, PhD of the School of Nursing at the University of Haifa in Israel. The assessment of the study was based on the medical records of the patients and their interviews during the TAMCIS. The study also revealed that more women who can’t sleep had reported to experience back pain problems than men. But the research’s authors failed to provide additional evidence on whether back pain can increase insomnia symptoms.
Does insomnia causes back pain? Or is it the other way around? I know most people who suffer with back pains have difficulty sleeping. Among those are mostly senior citizens, our grandparents and old folks who are experiencing the price of old age. But for those of us who are still on our prime and already experiencing back pains every now and then.
Well, I most certainly think that back pain precedes insomnia. I did not feel the effects of so many sleepless nights 10 or 15 years ago. But now, I know for sure that all those of years wondering ‘why can’t I sleep?’ has had an effect. I can feel my body is aching and my muscles are twitching whenever I wake up following a sleepless night. There were even times that I caught myself a few winks of sleep whenever I’m seating in front of my computer or even when I’m driving, which scares me sometimes.
Sleep is a requirement for life, an indispensable necessity that has no medical substitute. Sleep rejuvenates and repairs every cells and tissues in our body. Although some people considered sleep as their number one enemy. Like Yennis Cheung an actress from the James Bond movie Skyfall. She suffered from insomnia at a very young age. She had such a bad relationship with sleep that makes her anxious and nervous before going to bed.
But eventually she found a supplement that aid her sleepless nights – a chemical-free powdered food supplement made from fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds. She mixes them with soya milk and sprinkles them on her meals. Yennis is now back on our screens with BBC drama Panic, she said she felt much better that she conquered her sleep demons.