7 top tips to beat insomnia
What to do when you can’t sleep
Are you one of the one in ten Australians who experience insomnia? According to research, around 34% of people will have difficulty sleeping at some stage of their life. Often, it’s because of a stressful event in your life. Or it might be ongoing anxiety which makes it difficult to relax at bedtime.
What are the symptoms of insomnia?
- You have trouble falling asleep
- You fall asleep, but wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep
- You wake up too early or feel unrefreshed upon waking
- You feel tired during the day
- You have difficulty remembering things and focusing on tasks
- You constantly worry that you’re not getting enough sleep
So, what can you do when you can’t sleep?
Trying these 7 tips should help you beat insomnia
1. Make sure you are sleeping on the right mattress
Having a mattress that doesn’t provide you with the right support and level of comfort can stop you from enjoying a good night’s sleep. Your mattress needs replacing at least every 10 years, so check that you’re not due for a new one.
2. Set the scene
The first step to a better night’s sleep is to make sure your bedroom is set-up to nurture slumber.
- Make sure the temperature of the room is just right – ideally not too hot or cold.
- Make the room as dark as possible and remove any distractions. If you have to have a light on, make sure it’s very dim.
- Check your room for noise. You might need to resort to earplugs if necessary.
- Ensure your mattress and pillow is comfortable. If either one is getting a bit old, it’s time to replace them. A good quality mattress lasts around 10 years. For comfort and hygiene reasons, you should replace your pillow more often. A quality pillow can last up to 5 years. A cheaper, synthetic pillow should be replaced every 6 months.
3. Develop good pre-sleep habits
- Stick to a sleep schedule. This helps regulate your body clock to switch off at a certain time each day. If you can help it, avoid sleeping in your bedroom during the day.
- The blue wavelength light emitted from your favourite screen (tablet, eBook reader or smartphone) can affect your ability to fall asleep easily. Experts recommend you shut down your screen one to two hours before you go to bed. Try reading a book instead.
- Don’t eat too much before going to bed.
- Avoid stimulants such as coffee and black tea. Try a hot cup of liquorice, valerian or camomile tea instead.
- Exercise during the daytime can help you sleep better, but avoid strenuous exercise just before bedtime.
- Take a nice relaxing bath.
4. Use simple relaxation exercises for sleep
Getting into a regular habit of doing a few simple relaxation exercises can help quieten the ‘chatter’ in your head. These exercises can take between 20 seconds and 3 minutes. Done two or three times a day, they can make a real difference to your sleep patterns. These might include:
- Guide visualisation or guide imagery – this technique requires an experienced guide. The process involves imagining alternative perspectives, thoughts and behaviours that help increase a person’s ability to relax and sleep well.
- Mindfulness – this approach is often used in yoga or meditation sessions. It helps counter feelings of stress that can lead to insomnia. Mindfulness meditation can improve the quality of sleep in people with moderate sleep disturbance.
5. Talk to your Doctor
It’s often a good idea to speak to your doctor. They can assess your overall health and check if your sleeping difficulties might relate to any other health conditions.
- As a first step, they’ll often recommend you keep a sleep diary to record your sleep patterns.
- They may prescribe sleep medication, but this is usually only recommended for the short-term.
- Your doctor may refer you to a sleep specialist for more investigation.
6. Try Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT, face-to-face or online)
If you’ve had trouble sleeping for a long time, it’s often best to seek professional help. An insomnia psychologist specialises in helping people sleep better. Once they assess your individual needs and history, they can design a program to help you.
CBT is considered a safe and effective treatment for insomnia. In practice, it’s been shown to help “identify thoughts and feelings that can trigger or worsen sleep difficulties and replace them with habits that promote a good night’s sleep”. For more information, contact the Australasian Sleep Foundation.
7. Invest in an Ergonomic Pillow
Many people complain of having a sore neck or not feeling refreshed in the morning. Having the right pillow can make a real difference if you suffer from insomnia. An ergonomic pillow supports your head and neck and keeps your spine in alignment as you sleep. You should replace your pillow every five years.
Insomnia is a complex and often chronic condition experienced by many Australians. When trying to beat insomnia, it’s best to use a smorgasbord of approaches. That way, you’re more likely to find the ones that work for you.
If you’d like to improve the quality of your sleep today, order your new mattress or ergonomic pillow online from SleepX. You can conveniently order from your digital device. With SleepX, you get value, comfort and quality. Not to mention delivery convenience – if you order by 2pm in a major metropolitan area, you’ll have your mattress delivered within 4 hours – in time for bed.