According to the Sleep Management Institute up to 50% of the population suffer from insomnia. So, if you don’t, the person in bed next to you probably does. Insomnia brings along with it a number of problems that can occur in your actual waking hours. These problems can include:
- Poor concentration and focus
- Difficulty with memory
- Impaired motor coordination (being uncoordinated)
- Irritability and impaired social interaction
- Motor vehicle accidents because of fatigued or sleep-deprived drivers
It is not uncommon for those with chronic sleep issues to seek out medication, but there are alternatives to medication. Here are some things that might help your occasional insomnia.
- Clear your head. Anxiety is a stimulant and an active “to-do” list on your mind can create sleeplessness. If possible, clear project deadlines or at least allow yourself to not worry about the deadline. Worrying will not make it go away. Keeping an accurate list of your current deadlines and projects allows you to prioritize them so they are not all “due at once.”
- Write it down. Keep a pen by your bed so you can write down potential solutions you may come up with while awake thinking about a problem. Writing the solution down will help get it from your mind to paper, so, less worry.
- Prepare before bed. Exercise. The harder you exercise, the more relaxed you may become. Remember the last time you really exercised hard? You were exhausted afterwards, huh? Exhaust yourself. Just be careful of excessive side effects such as sore muscles in the morning.
- Stop your nightly ritual. Many people watch the 10 o’clock news just before going to bed. Your mind becomes bombarded with negative thoughts…killings, robberies, car wrecks, and more. That negativity can go straight to your subconscious and create more anxiety, even when you are not involved.
- Don’t play dead. When you can’t sleep, don’t try to force it. Get up, take a nice warm bath. Read a book on the couch. Do some activity to get your mind off of not sleeping. The last thing you want to do is lay there hoping that sleep will come…because it won’t.
- Clear out the electronics. All of our electronic devices put off some sort of light and mostly undetectable hum. Move them to another room if you must, but eliminate unnecessary electronics from the bedroom. Not your alarm clock, of course.
- Eliminate drugs. Stimulants such as caffeine can chemically alter your ability to sleep. As evening gets closer, stop all coffee, sodas and other stimulants that may affect your ability to sleep properly.
- Try hypnosis. Clients who have undergone hypnosis for other reasons report having a great night’s sleep after a session. This is one of the best side effects to hypnosis. Your body learns how to relax while hypnotized. It remembers that feeling the next time you lay down to sleep.
These techniques can also be effective for the sufferer of chronic insomnia. However, if your insomnia problem persists, seek medical attention. Insomnia can cost you a lot if it is not taken seriously. You could lose much more than just sleep.