Improve your sleeping habits now!

Whether you go to bed before or after midnight, each one of us has a different sleeping habit. We follow certain rituals and routines before we rest our heads on the pillow and close our eyes. Some of us have no trouble falling asleep while others might twist and turn for a while before they enter the valley of dreams with a relieved sigh.

A while back, one of my country’s health care insurances (Christelijke Mutualiteit) organized a free internet survey on our sleeping patterns (Dutch) and my result, unsurprisingly, was insomnia. I’ve known this for a while but knowing is one thing, dealing with it is a whole different matter.

I decided to combine this Monday’s question with a few tips and tricks to fall asleep quicker/easier.

What time do you go to bed?

Going to bed is the easiest part of my day. Maybe because I love my bed and actually like to spend time in it or maybe because it’s my ‘desk’, I don’t know but the moment I’m home and have had dinner, I can be found in bed around 8.30pm.

It’s the “switching off the light and falling asleep” bit that tends to be more difficult.

I have three to four activities that have to happen before I decide it’s time to fall asleep and although I’m aware that I shouldn’t put this kind of stress upon myself, I can’t help but feel anxious when I don’t tick off at least two of them:

  1. Catch up on social media
  2. Watch a few episodes of a series
  3. Reading a book
  4. Prepare blog posts for the upcoming month

By the time I call it a day night, it’s at least 1am and I’m so hyped up from all the activity that it takes another 2-3 hours to fall asleep but once I do, it’s bliss! Unfortunately, this doesn’t take too long.

At 5am, Louis wakes me up, wanting to leave my room and around  6 am the first person in the house is getting ready. Then, the following hour, a lot of door slamming follows, startling me from my sleep more than once and by 7 in the morning, my alarm goes off. That’s when my new day begins and like I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m not a morning person.

A quick calculation and the conclusion is: I have had about 2 to 3 hours of undisturbed sleep and the reason behind this is the fact that my sleeping routine and habits are far from being a-okay.

The consequences

If you have trouble falling asleep, it’s important to find help when this lasts for more than a month. Not only will you suffer emotionally (the grumpiness will stretch out through the day) and psychological (depression) but your medical health will suffer too.

Medical

Sleep insufficiency may be a factor contributing to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. There’s also a higher risk to get the common cold according to this research and although this makes a lot of sense (making you more vulnerable and all), personally, I don’t feel as if I’m getting the cold quicker or easier than my peers. But what do I know?

Tips to fall asleep

I don’t claim that these steps will heal you from your bad sleeping habits but many websites give these as advice to help you out. I collected the nine most reoccurring tips. If this doesn’t help, please contact your GP about your sleeping problem. Sleep is important!

  1. Exercise more during the day
  2. Avoid naps during the day
  3. Don’t drink alcohol or caffeine a couple of hours before you go to sleep
  4. Create a moment of relaxation before going to bed such as a hot bath and calm music
  5. Try to go to bed at the same time every night
  6. Switch off lights, television, computer, laptop, iPad (you get the drill) an hour or two before bed time
  7. Block the clock. Try to wake up naturally.
  8. Your bed is for sleeping & not for working (I should take this advice…), as is your bedroom in general.
  9. If you can’t sleep, don’t force yourself. Get up, leave the room and do something relaxing. When you feel tired, try again.

And if that doesn’t help, I have recently read that chamomile tea with a bit of honey can also help when you drink it before bed time. I tried it for a few days (and it felt like it worked) but I’m not keen on drinking tea…so I didn’t last long enough to agree with this statement. It’s possible that by the time I started drinking the tea I was so exhausted I fell asleep no matter what :p

What time do you go to bed and fall asleep? Do you have trouble falling asleep or do you usually fall asleep within 20 minutes of switching off the light? Do you have any tips to add to the list? What works or doesn’t work for you?

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Improve your sleeping habits now!”

  1. Great tips! I too have issues with sleep like you, in that I’ll go to bed but then want to do other things like read, play backgammon on my 3DS, listen to talk radio…you get the idea! I can fall asleep relatively quickly once I decide to but my problem is I often don’t give myself enough time for adequate sleep so I always wake up tired. I have to stop doing that but I too enjoy the nighttime ritual in the moment, so it’s a vicious cycle! One tip that helps when I do have trouble falling asleep occasionally is to take melatonin; it’s natural and not like a drowsy sleeping pill, yet it does induce falling asleep. Has worked for me but everyone’s different, and the effect is mild. Anyway, glad to be catching up on your blog after weeks of having limited time and online access; love your posts! 🙂

    1. I’m happy to see you around again! Melatonin sounded familiar but I quickly googled it anyway to make sure I knew what you’re talking about.

      I came across this website: http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/melatonin-and-sleep which is amazing! It explains how our body reacts naturally during the day and night and when melatonin is released by the SCN. And you know, a lot of this makes sense!! I definitely think there’s something off with my SCN and its melatonin release because I use a lot of artificial light (laptop/iPad until…whenever I decide to sleep) and it would explain why I have trouble falling asleep.

      I’m a bit skeptical when it comes down to using pills, natural or not. I’m a strong believer that, in this scenario at least, the bad habits should be considered and worked on first before going to pills. I’m working on the “going to bed around the same time each day” tip and want to add “shut down all electronic devices at/before midnight” to the list. It seems to be working.

      But then again, like you said, what works for me might not work for you and melatonin could be another way that’s not too drastic yet. The article mentions some research too. It says how it’s not entirely certain if it does have an effect but if it works for you then that’s all that matters 🙂

      I’m glad you like my posts! I needed something else that wasn’t as time consuming and kept my blog alive whenever I didn’t find time to read/finish (writing) a book (review). I like showing some pieces of myself to the world but I needed a more positive approach this year and I think with these innocent questions I can’t do much wrong :p

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s