Finding Relief from Insomnia
The inability to fall asleep, insomnia, can affect every aspect of your daily life. Long nights of tossing and turning, staring at the clock, longing for sleep, leave you unable to focus, tired and unproductive.
Identifying the cause of your insomnia can be difficult. Depression and anxiety are two of the most common reasons you may not be able to sleep. Often, after we’ve silenced all the household distractions and settled in to bed, we find that all our worries start to creep in.
It can be difficult to get our minds to shut down and allow us to rest. Keeping a journal nearby, where you can list everything on your mind before bed, helps to free you from the worries that may be keeping you awake.
If your anxiety is so great that you aren’t able to get a good night’s sleep, a doctor’s visit may be in order. Being unable to rest properly can worsen both anxiety and depression, creating a vicious cycle.
Allergies can also hinder your ability to get enough rest. Itchy, watery eyes, sneezing and coughing will definitely make it difficult to sleep. Making a warm shower a part of your evening routine will not only help to clear nasal passages, easing seasonal allergy symptoms, but will also aid in relaxation.
Try adding some eucalyptus, either dried or in oil form, to the shower to help relieve the inflammation of the nasal passages.
Aches and pains that may go nearly unnoticed during the day, seem to be magnified when you settle in to bed. They can interrupt sleep all through the night, leading to sleep deprivation, which can lower your tolerance to pain. It’s a double edged sword. If you are taking over the counter pain medications and still can’t drift off, please seek medical assistance.
Our food choices will affect our ability to rest properly. Eating a big meal close to bedtime can lead to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) with acid indigestion and heartburn.
Limit food intake in the hours prior to sleep to light snacks and avoid liquids completely. A glass of water at bedtime can lead to bathroom visits later. Avoid food and drink containing caffeine and don’t use nicotine. Caffeine and nicotine are both stimulants, which keep you alert.
Lifestyle changes may be needed to ensure a good night’s rest. Adding 20 minutes of vigorous exercise to your daily routine can help, and while an afternoon nap may seem like a good idea at the time, it can hinder your ability to fall asleep that evening.
Create a calming bedtime ritual including meditation, quiet reflection and soft music. Keep a fan running to drown out traffic sounds and to lower the temperature of the room to a few degrees cooler than it’s kept during the day.
Insomnia shouldn’t be taken lightly. Without proper rest, driving to work or on errands becomes dangerous. Response times are affected and the ability to stay alert is hindered. It’s important to identify the cause before creating a plan to find relief from insomnia.