If you deal with insomnia, you may be surprised to learn that you may be the contributing factor to your sleep problem. Some of the behaviors and activities that you do on a day-to-day basis may actually be the root cause of your insomnia. Simple changes in your daily routine can mean the difference between tossing and turning and a peaceful night’s sleep.
A Damaging Sleep Schedule
If your sleep schedule is erratic, your biological clock will be out of sync. The cells in the human body work on a 24-hour clock. This clock is programmed by light/dark and day/night cycles. If you go to bed at different times and you do not have a regular sleep schedule, your body will not know if it is time to wake up or go to sleep.
Support your biological clock. Go to bed and get up at the same time each day, even on weekends. If you do this, your body’s sleep rhythm will get back in sync and sleeping will become easier over time.
Drinking Yourself to Sleep
It is true that alcohol has a sedative quality. This is why many people use alcohol as a sleep aid. It does make falling asleep easier. However, research has proven that drinking alcohol in the hours before bed actually leads to a more disruptive sleeping experience. While it reduces the time it may take you to fall asleep, the quality of sleep obtained is poor.
Under the influence of alcohol, the body does not go through the numerous REM (rapid eye movement) sleep stages it normally would during the night. It may only go through half as many as is typical and needed to feel rested. In addition, as the alcohol levels reduce in the blood, a stimulant effect takes place in the body. This can cause you to wake and be unable to go back to sleep.
Do you have a cup of hot cocoa before bed? Do you spend the hour or two before bedtime playing video games, watching television, or surfing the Internet? Maybe you do mental activities before bed – such as paying bills, doing office work, or engaging in intense conversations? All of these activities stimulate the brain, making it hard to turn off and go into sleep mode.
In the hour or two leading up to bedtime, turn off electronic devices, avoid caffeinated food and drinks, and do things which will help your body transition into sleep mode. Dim the lighting, listen to relaxing music, or take a warm bath.
These are just a few of the behaviors and activities that trigger insomnia. Finding out the root cause of your insomnia is the key to helping you overcome the issue. As you begin to explore the causes of your insomnia, you may find that there is more than one major factor prompting your lack of sleep. By making adjustments where they are needed, sleep can come.
Martin is the creator of Insomnia Land's free online sleep training course for insomnia. Over 2,500 insomniacs have completed his course and 98% of graduates say they would recommend it to a friend.
Sleep Schedule Photo Credit: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock.com; Alcohol Sleep Aid Photo Credit: Ollyy/Shutterstock.com; Lifestyle Issue Photo Credit: aslysun/Shutterstock.com