When sleep problems and insomnia don’t let you sleep, a sleepless night can be beyond exhausting! While you’re watching the clock tick, tossing and turning, you might be asking yourself why you can’t sleep through the night.
There can be many causes for insomnia, ranging from too much caffeine to an overactive mind. Luckily, there’s plenty you can do to help with insomnia, including relaxation techniques, cutting back on sleep-hampering habits and more.
Read on for tips on how to deal with insomnia and get a better night’s sleep, naturally.
Some people swear by an afternoon snooze during a busy day, but napping can throw off your body’s internal clock. This is especially true if you’re going for anything deeper than 10 minutes - as that’s when your brain can go into a deep sleep and can cause feelings of grogginess, drowsiness, and disorientated feelings when you wake up.
So, if you want to train your body to deal with insomnia, you must resist the temptation of a midday nap. Even if you’re exhausted, you need to soldier on until your usual bedtime!
One of the best things to do when trying to sleep with insomnia is to practise simple relaxation techniques before bed. Take muscle relaxation, for example. This technique is about methodically tensing and relaxing different muscle groups in order to systematically work out and relax your entire body. The thinking behind muscle relaxation is that if you release all the tension in your body, it’s easier to drift off to sleep.
Start by lying down and getting as comfortable as possible. Then, starting from your forehead and working your way down, tense each muscle group for 10 seconds and then release for 20 seconds. Keep your breathing even throughout and you should feel the tension leaving your body.
Another way to treat insomnia is by practising controlled breathing, with 4-7-8 breathing being one of the simplest of those techniques.
Whether you’re trying to relax before going to bed, or while you’re lying in bed tossing and turning, this breathing technique can be done whenever you feel the need to relax. All you need to do is breathe in through your nose for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, and then exhale through your mouth for eight seconds.
Breathing techniques like this help decrease stress and anxiety, which can be some of the main causes of insomnia.
While it can be easy to depend on coffee to keep you awake or wake you up in the morning, it’s that same caffeine that can ultimately prevent you from sleeping well. Having caffeine in your system can prevent your brain from settling down, stopping you from being able to naturally get to sleep.
Caffeine has a half-life of four to six hours, which means it’ll stay in your system for much longer than you feel the beneficial effects. If you have a cup of coffee at noon, you’ll have half the caffeine still in your system at four in the afternoon, a quarter of it at eight at night, and an eighth by midnight.
Caffeine isn’t just in coffee or tea, it’s also found in some fizzy drinks and medications. Always read the ingredients of a product to ensure you aren’t consuming caffeine without realising it.
Whether it’s finding the perfect sized bed for your space, selecting a mattress to improve your sleep, or squeezing in hidden storage - we’re all about helping you create your perfect bedroom
Beyond simply tiring yourself out, exercise has been shown to help stop insomnia. Luckily, you don’t need to constantly go on long runs to feel the results, as even calming meditative exercises like yoga can help cure insomnia.
However, it’s best to avoid stimulation immediately before bed. Exercise can keep your body and mind racing hours after you finish, which can make it counterproductive to a good night’s sleep. That’s why it’s best to finish up any exercise two hours before going to bed, at the latest.
Even if sleep can appear to come easier after you’ve consumed alcohol, sleep needs to be about quality as much as quantity. Namely, you need to get plenty of deep sleep to actually gain the benefits of sleep and wake up feeling refreshed. Those trying to deal with insomnia by drinking alcohol won’t find any long-term relief, and alcohol is often considered a direct cause of insomnia.
Generally speaking, drinking any liquids close to bedtime will impact a good night’s sleep. This is because consuming too many liquids will disrupt the bladder throughout the night, leading to a wake-up call to go to the bathroom. Naturally, this will break up any sleep you’re getting, making a restless night’s sleep even more disruptive.
We know how tempting it can be to invest in new tech to monitor your sleep more closely. However, their very presence can cause sleep anxiety, leading you to question your own sleep patterns. This results in general anxiety, stress, and the negative feelings that cause insomnia.
Instead, it’s best to try and stick to naturally getting to sleep, without monitoring of any sort. Removing a source of potential stress and anxiety can help let your mind and body relax, making it easier to get to sleep when you’re ready to do so.
To fall asleep quicker, you need to establish your bedroom as a room solely for sleep. This helps your body naturally associate getting into bed with time to sleep.
If you want to create this sleep sanctuary, you need to remove all distractions from the room, such as a TV. You should also minimise your time in the bedroom doing things that aren’t sleeping - for example, reading or working in different parts of your home.
It’s also important to keep your bedroom nice and tidy. This will help you relax easier in bed, without the distractions of clutter or mess preventing you from falling asleep.
We have teamed up with Anne Marie Boyhan, sleep expert at The Sleep Care Co. to give us some tips on how spring cleaning your home can help you sleep better.
Here at DFS, we want to help you get the best night’s sleep possible. Whether you’re looking for great offers on a new bed or you’ve got your eye on a big, new super king mattress to stretch out on, we’ve got you covered.