Some people are blessed with the natural ability to fall asleep whenever and wherever they want. Unfortunately, these people count to the minority. As far as I remember, my insomnia first really started kicking in when I had my final exams in High School. At some point, I started documenting my insomnia so I could review whether or not the timing of my sleepless nights was random or not. And of course, it wasn’t. The more acute stress I feel because of uni, work or personal reasons, the harder it is for me to calm down. It only makes sense. But isn’t there anything that can help?
When it comes to insomnia remedies, I have tried a lot. Some things worked well for me, others at least calmed me down a little bit and again others made me feel miserable. So today I’m going to share with you my tips on how to sleep better and how to fall asleep faster. By the way, I’m saving my favorite tip for the end!
WAKE UP AND GO TO BED AT THE SAME TIME EACH NIGHT
Getting up about the same time each day can help your internal clock keep a regular schedule and therefore makes it easier to fall asleep at night. I know, this sounds unrealistic to many people, but it’s actually quite helpful if you’re trying to fix your sleeping schedule. If you need to wake up at 6am from Monday till Friday, it’s reasonable that you want to sleep longer during the weekend. However, waking up at 8am on Saturday and Sunday would still do you better than waking up at 10am in that case. I am lucky that I only need to wake up at about 6am once a week. The other six days I wake up between 7:50am (when I go to work) and 8:00am (when I go to the gym).
TURN YOUR PHONE ON NIGHT SHIFT
As you probably know, bright blue display light in the evening can make it harder for you to fall asleep, since it affects the brain a lot. With night shift turned on, however, the colors on your screen are taking on warmer and less bright tones. I turn on the night shift several hours before I go to bed and sometimes I even use it during the day when I feel like my eyes need a little break. This feature is also available for some newer Macbook versions, mine doesn’t have it though. Of course, it’s best to avoid using your phone and laptop completely an hour before you go to bed, but I consider night shift a big advantage and progress.
SET UP A COOL ENVIRONMENT
During the winter, many people tend to turn up the heater to full volume during the night, so that it’s going to be warm and cozy. According to science though, the best temperature to have a good night’s sleep is only 15-18 degrees. Therefore, it’s advisable to let in some fresh air before you go to bed or even sleep with a tilted window. During summertime, this tip is obviously hard to follow, but now that it’s winter, we actually have the choice to set up a cool environment.
MAKE YOUR ROOM AS DARK AS POSSIBLE
This is something I used to do anyway since I simply cannot sleep when it isn’t dark. Whenever I sleep somewhere else than at home, I take a sleep mask with me to ensure it’s going to be dark enough during the night.
GET INTO A ROUTINE
Whether that means doing 10 minutes of yoga or drinking a hot cup of tea, having a ritual that you follow before going to bed can make you fall asleep faster. I like to turn on my aroma diffuser with lavender oil about one hour before I go to bed.
AVOID TAKING SLEEPING PILLS
I never took anything that needed a prescription from a doctor, but I did take some lighter sleeping pills in the past. I vividly remember how weird it felt when I took one for the first time and how my pulse sunk in just a couple of minutes. The struggle with pills is though, that they are bad for you in the long rung. After I started taking sleeping pills more often, I frequently got really bad headaches the next day and felt hungover, even if I only took half a pill. Also, they just stopped working for me after a while, because I became so used to them. At some point, I decided to never take a sleeping pill again and kept this promise to myself.
USE A WEIGHTED BLANKET
This one is definitely my favorite tip and I honestly don’t know why it’s such a secret. Up until just a couple of months ago, I never heard about weighted blankets and their benefits. Weighted blankets are, as the name suggests, particularly heavy blankets that lower the heart rate and blood pressure. Thereby, they ease insomnia, reduce stress and anxiety and improve your overall sleep quality. I also read that they are beneficial for children with ADHS, too! If you consider buying a weighted blanket, you should choose one that is 10-15% of your body weight. Many webpages recommend going for the lighter one, but if you generally prefer heavier blankets, as I do, choose the heavier one. I’ve been using my weighted blanket for exactly one month now and I can honestly say that my sleeping quality drastically improved during these past 30 days! I feel much calmer and relaxed and also tend to fall asleep more easily.
I hope these tips were helpful to some of you! Remember though, that curing insomnia is a process that won’t happen overnight, so be patient with yourself!