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Many things can interrupt your sleeping habits. For example, stress, health problems, and family or work responsibilities can all affect how you sleep. As a result, most of us will experience trouble sleeping, or even insomnia, at one time or another. Therefore, learning about what you can do to support a healthy sleeping routine can be paramount.
What Is Insomnia?
Sometimes trouble sleeping can develop into insomnia. Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by consistent trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting good, quality sleep. These disruptions to sleep can lead to worsening symptoms during the day, such as fatigue and trouble concentrating.
Insomnia can be short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic). Acute insomnia can be caused by many different factors and usually lasts a few days or weeks before resolving on its own. Chronic insomnia, on the other hand, lasts for a month or longer and is most commonly a symptom or side effect of another problem.
If you are experiencing a lack of sleep that isn’t resolving on its own, you may want to talk to your primary care physician about your symptoms. Seeking help can be especially valuable if you feel that you are struggling to manage day-to-day activities because of insomnia. Moreover, your primary care physician can help determine if there are any other factors that may be contributing to your insomnia.
Sometimes insomnia can be treated through lifestyle changes. Psychotherapy or talk therapy can also be useful in helping you manage any anxiety that may be keeping you awake. Quality sleep patterns can also be re-established through the temporary use of medications, if necessary.
Healthy Living Supports Good Sleep
Keeping yourself physically healthy is one of the best ways to support good sleep. Make sure you are eating healthy, regular meals during the day with nothing too heavy close to bedtime. Additionally, drinking plenty of water is essential to many of your bodily functions. Getting regular physical exercise during the day can also help your body regulate its sleep/wake cycles. Try to limit any substance use, like caffeine and alcohol, especially before bed to help improve sleep quality.
Six Bedtime Habits for Managing Insomnia
If you are experiencing trouble sleeping or insomnia, there are some changes you can make to your nightly routine that may help. The goal is to give your brain cues that it is time for sleep.
#1. Create a Timely Sleep Routine
Stick to the same bedtime and wake-up time every day. If your brain is confused about when to sleep and when to be awake, having an inconsistent sleep schedule will likely make the problem worse. Going to bed and getting up at a consistent time might help you train your brain for good sleep.
#2. Foster a Peaceful Sleeping Environment
You can help support good sleep by making sure that your sleep space is uncluttered and free of stimulation, like technology. Additionally, make sure the temperature and brightness of the room are comfortable for you to promote healthy sleep.
#3. Avoid Screentime Before Bed
Give your brain a chance to settle down by staying off of your phone, tablet, and other electronic devices. Try replacing screen time with another activity that you only do before bed, like reading a book. This will further cue your brain that it is time for sleep.
#4. Limit Frequency of Naps
When trying to get good sleep, avoid taking naps or hitting that snooze button until your brain is back on a regular schedule. Consistency is key when trying to re-establish healthy sleep patterns.
#5. Add Relaxation Practices to Your Nightly Routine
Try meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, or relaxing breathing exercises. These techniques can help you relieve any tension you are holding in your body, reduce anxiety and help you get in the mood for sleep.
#6. Take a Time Out
If you find yourself lying in bed unable to sleep, take a small time out. Get up and leave your bedroom. Lying awake thinking about how you can’t sleep can cause you to feel anxiety. This might perpetuate the cycle of not being able to sleep. If you distract yourself with a short break, it can disrupt that cycle and you can try again.
What to Do if You Have Concerns
If at any time you begin to feel that your struggles with sleep are becoming unmanageable, it is a good idea to seek support from a professional. We all need adequate sleep to feel happy and function well. It can provide a lot of peace of mind to talk to someone about your concerns.
At Alter Wellness Care, we can answer any questions you may have about sleep disturbances and how they relate to mental health. We can help you deal with any underlying anxieties that you may be experiencing. Our compassionate team is committed to helping you with any and all of your mental healthcare needs.
If you are experiencing trouble sleeping, it can affect everything from your physical abilities to your mental health. We all need plenty of good quality sleep to feel our best. Sometimes mental health can be greatly affected by problems like insomnia. At Alter Wellness Care, we are committed to helping our clients navigate any mental health issues they might be dealing with. We offer the best evidence-based therapies and resources to provide the best mental health care possible. Our team is committed to making sure that every person in our care feels heard, respected, and well taken care of. Call us today at (866) 311-3510 for more information on how we can meet your mental health needs.