How to Deal with Insomnia (19 Best Techniques to Try Tonight)
How to Deal with Insomnia (19 Best Techniques to Try Tonight)
I think you’ll agree with me when I say:
It’s a HORRIBLE feeling waking up after a bad sleep. Your eyes feel sore, you constantly yawn, and your day ahead is going to drag.
Well, it turns out, you can dramatically improve your sleep, even with just 1 of the hacks I’m going to share with you today.
In today’s post, I’m going to give you 12 different techniques, all showing you how to deal with insomnia. They all work like a treat!
They work really well for me, and that’s with a full-time job, and a strong commitment to the gym in the mornings.
I used to have the same issue…
Insomnia has been a struggle for me since I was a child, It hasn’t been pleasant. I would often have sore looking eyes throughout the day.
I used to think this was normal…
It wasn’t until a couple of years ago, I realized it was a HUGE problem for me.
I was yawning all the time, permanently tired, had no motivation, and had very sore eyes from this lack of sleep.
This needed to end, I had to take ACTION!
Then I jumped straight on my laptop and did some heavy research – my life changed from there.
I discovered a good range of ideas such as supplements, foods and habits.
The best part?
Everything I’ve put together in this article is ACTIONABLE! You can literally take any idea, and apply it today. Trust me, you’ll see the benefits immediately.
So let’s get started.
1. Hitting ‘snooze’ could be more damaging than you thought…
We are in dangerous territory now! This is one of the worst things you could do for your sleep.
This is likely to be normal for you because 58% of under 35s in the UK hit snooze at least once every morning!
Now for the science behind it.
Being woken up by an alarm sound can rapidly raise your heart. This also spikes your blood pressure which is a bad sign for your long-term health!
Imagine what your body is thinking if it happens more than once! “Should I be waking up? Should I not be waking up? Maybe it’s a false alarm and I can go back to sleep… Another alarm, am I waking up or not?!”
The bottom line is, it’s going to confuse your body and brain in a big way.
Every time you are woken up artificially, your body and brain are taken by surprise. This leads to you feeling drained and fuzzy headed, which is called sleep inertia.
The more you snooze, the more you throw off your internal body clock and the more tired you will be.
Do yourself a favour, stop hitting that snooze button!!
2. Invest in a memory foam mattress (or foam topper)
One of the most important factors which help with a good nights sleep is ensuring you are as comfy as you can be.
Treating yourself to a new mattress may be the solution if you can afford it. It may seem like a big hit to your bank account, but you will thank yourself for it later down the line.
30% or more of your life is spent laying on your mattress, so why not buy a good one?
Think about it this way, if you slept for an average time of 7 hours and 20 minutes over the course of your life, that is 30% of your whole life!
If you can’t afford a decent mattress, why not look into mattress toppers? They are cheap and can really make a difference in your sleep.
3. Avoid annoying alarms (unless you really need to)
Picture this: You have taken a note of some of these effective techniques for a better sleep.
For example, you take some supplements, read and relax for an hour before bed, limit blue light exposure etc.
You drift off to sleep and you are having the best sleep of your life.
Suddenly you are interrupted by the horrible tone of your 6:00 AM alarm! Isn’t it just the worst feeling?
This is cutting your sleep short, the beauty sleep that you worked so hard for…
To combat this and make the most of your precious sleep, you should either remove your alarm and wake up later, or go to bed earlier so you naturally wake up in time for your busy day.
I have noticed that the more consistent your sleep schedule is, the more likely you will wake up at a very similar time every day.
I personally go to sleep at 9:30 PM, and naturally wake up at 05:30 AM so I am ready for my morning gym session. However, just in case I don’t wake up at my normal time, I will set a ‘last-minute’ alarm for 6:00 am which is very rarely needed.
4. Take 5HTP 30 minutes before bed
5HTP is an amino acid which will help you produce more serotonin.
Serotonin is a chemical which will make you feel more relaxed, happy, confident and also helps with loads of other good stuff.
It is known to cure depression too.
These are a few great benefits, but let’s get to the sleep bit.
Serotonin can be converted to Melatonin after it is released, which is great for us as it helps to induce sleep
5. Take ZMA 30 minutes before bed
Taking two ZMA capsules before bed is one of my favourite ways to guarantee a deeper sleep. The best thing is, I always notice the difference between taking them and not taking them.
My favourite benefit is the extra energy I have in the mornings. This is great for me because I head straight to the gym before work, and having this boost of energy really sets me up for the day.
I also notice that I don’t feel as tired and I hardly yawn, it can sometimes feel like I have just taken a pre-workout!
On the contrary, ZMA’s don’t often make you fall asleep quicker, they seem to kick in after you fall asleep. This increases your REM sleep (The deepest stage of sleep), and often causing all kinds of amazing and crazy dreams! Great for lucid dreaming too.
MyProtein is probably the cheapest place you will find these, they usually offer heavy discounts so look out for those here:
6. Keep a consistent wake-up time and bed-time
Believe it or not, keeping a consistent sleep schedule is a huge factor when it comes to improving your sleep.
A study published in BMC Public Health suggests that going to bed at different times results in bad sleep quality and tiredness. Doing this can also result in a weaker immune system.
All of the factors above aren’t ideal, and can easily be avoided by creating a consistent sleep schedule.
I personally go to bed at 10 pm and naturally wake up at precisely 6 am (give or take a few minutes). This is great and always makes me feel fresh in the morning!
Side Note: Waking up early is a personal choice which I consider to be very beneficial. It is not for everyone, but I go into more detail in this article if you want to find out more.
7. Do calm and relaxing things before sleeping
It is crucial that you are calm and relaxed before sleeping.
There are a handful of effective ways to achieve this. If done correctly, they can really make a difference and send you to sleep much quicker!
My personal favourite method is to spend an hour reading something interesting. Towards the end of this hour, my eyes would always feel narrow and sleepy, perfect for nodding off to sleep extra quick!
You can also learn quite a few things if you read non-fiction which is always a bonus.
Reading is great, but it isn’t for everybody. However, I would strongly recommend getting into it.
If it doesn’t interest you, then you can relax whilst listening to some quiet music instead, or maybe even an audio-book. This is usually what I switch to once I am too tired to read any more words and it works like a charm.
8. Postpone working right before bed, save it for the morning
The last thing you want before your best sleep ever is to be stressed or too focused.
This will sabotage your sleep in a big way. Work can be quite stressful at times which can make your sleep even worse!
Ideally, you should be relaxed before bed. Use this downtime to have a break from work, and try to keep it out of your mind!
9. Avoid taking naps during the day
We all feel like taking a nap from time to time. However, this could be a big part of the cause of insomnia and sleep apnea.
Siestas can potentially restore your energy during the day, however, this increased energy will most probably keep you wide awake in the evening when you get under the covers. This will affect the quality of your nighttime sleep.
The worst part?
This poor quality of sleep will make you fatigued and drained during the day…
…which leads to more naps!
This vicious cycle will soon spiral out of control.
Therefore, I would suggest skipping naps and making the most of a long deep sleep overnight.
You will soon feel better about it!
If you feel wide awake whilst trying to get to sleep, go to another room and listen to quiet music, read or meditate.
10. Drink a glass of warm milk before bed
Having a glass of warm milk in the evening is a great way to have a better night’s sleep.
It contains an amino acid called tryptophan which helps induce sleep.
Milk also contains a hormone called melatonin which regulates the sleep-wake cycle.
I like to microwave or boil about 500ml of semi-skimmed milk around 1-2 hours before going to bed.
I have written a more in-depth article about how milk benefits you here.
11. Meditate for 20 minutes before sleeping
To a lot of people, meditation will sound lame and pointless. However, it is surprising how good and beneficial it can be.
The general idea of meditation is to focus your mind and reduce out of control thoughts & anxiety (which are just some of the things which tend to keep you up all night).
Neurologists have proven that meditating on a regular basis can improve your life in so many ways.
It can enhance your concentration, reduce stress levels, and most importantly force you to live in the present moment.
So how does meditation help with insomnia?
If done right, meditation will eliminate stress, out of control thoughts and anxiety. It will generally calm you down, allowing your body to naturally fall asleep without distractions.
12. Avoid taking anything with caffeine at least 6 hours before bed
Caffeine is known as the most popular drug in the world and can be found in a variety of things such as coffee, tea, cocoa, and chocolate.
It is a powerful stimulant, making it ideal to help kick-start your day!
Unfortunately, this super cool benefit can easily sabotage your sleep.
If you are consuming caffeine in the late afternoon or evening, then this is likely to be the cause of your insomnia.
To overcome this, it is best to allow at least 6 hours of caffeine-free time before hitting the pillows.
Try this for a couple of days, you will be surprised how much better your sleep gets!
13. Make sure your bedroom is dark
If you have natural light sneaking through your curtains, it’s time to upgrade.
You can find a nice pair of blackout curtains from £15 here.
If new curtains are not an option, you could try wearing eye masks. They’re cheap, and you’ll notice the benefits in no time!
14. Invest in a comfy pillow
A small investment in a super comfy pillow could be your best move yet.
Making sure your head is comfortable is CRUCIAL for your best sleep ever.
It’s worth testing different pillows out until you find the perfect one.
In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with a traditional fluffy goose feather pillow with a thread count of at least 300 for durability.
15. Reduce blue light exposure
We are all guilty of scrolling on our phones moments before going to sleep! Screen displays produce a lot of blue light, and this can be very damaging.
Not only is it unhealthy for your eyes, it tricks our brain into thinking it is daylight. Therefore, it keeps us wide awake when we want to sleep.
Luckily, there are a few ways to resolve this!
16. Use a digital blue light filter
This feature is one of my favourite ways to reduce exposure to blue light.
It basically changes the lighting on your phone, making the screen appear slightly yellow.
This may sound silly, but this small change reduces the harmful blue light coming from the screen and will save your eyes from damage & strain.
Most modern phones and computers have a built-in blue light filter which makes it even easier to set up! If your phone doesn’t have one of these, there are loads of apps you can download.
Give this feature a go at least an hour before bed for good results.
17. The 4-7-8 Breathing Routine
Breathing exercises have the same benefits as meditation and is a very similar practice. Note that I said practice as this should be done as often as possible, most days.
The best part?
You can literally do these anywhere at any time!
I like to do these exercises as soon as I wake up, maybe once around lunch, and most importantly, before going to bed.
My favourite type of breathing exercise is the 4-7-8 routine and I strongly suggest starting with this as it is very simple but effective.
Try this technique today! Here’s how
To start with, you need to release your air by blowing out through your mouth.
Next, take a deep breath in through your nose. This breath should last 4 seconds. Make sure that you really fill your lungs with air for the best effect.
Hold this breath for 7 seconds.
Finally, blow out through your mouth for 8 seconds. If you make an annoying “woosh” noise whilst doing it, then you are doing it right.
Repeat this 3 or 4 times for the best effect.
18. Associate your bed with sleeping
To achieve this, try to avoid doing any awake tasks or activities in bed.
For example, if you spend a few hours on your laptop in bed, this is going to trick your brain into thinking that bed is for being awake. You will naturally find it harder to get to sleep at night because of this.
Get out of bed when you can’t sleep – If you can’t sleep, associate that thought with a different room by moving somewhere else. Don’t let the anxiety of sleeplessly tossing and turning get to you.
19. Put bedroom clocks out of sight
Tiredly staring at a clock whilst trying to nod off is a constant reminder of how long it’s taking to get to sleep.
This can spike a bit of anxiety, which sabotages sleep even more! It’s basically a vicious cycle which can simply be put to bed by hiding your clocks. (See what I did there?)
We have been through a lot of techniques to help improve sleep. If you took just 1 thing from here and made it work for you, then I have been successful.
If you have struggled with Insomnia for a long time, then I cannot guarantee that these will fix it overnight.
However, if you implement some of these techniques, you will soon be on the road to your best sleep ever!
Feel free to share this post with anyone who struggles to sleep.
Which method are you going to try tonight? – Let me know in the comments!
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