Tired of being tired? Insomnia (and other sleep-related disorders) can take a serious toll on both your mental and physical health.
Insomnia can lead to fatigue or sleepiness during the day, forgetfulness, poor concentration, irritability, anxiety, depression, reduced motivation and generally low energy. These symptoms can be annoying at best, and at worst can interfere with personal relationships, job performance and other daily functions.
Before pursuing medication or other treatment, try these simple strategies to help you sleep better:
1 – Exercise
Many scientific studies have shown that exercising for at least 30 minutes, three times per week, can help improve your sleep. But beware: exercising less than two hours before bedtime can actually interfere with sleep.
2 – Set a routine
Establish regular waking and bedtime routines, including consistent times. Your routine will become your body’s cue that it’s time to sleep, and a consistent bedtime will help you develop a regular sleep rhythm.
3 – Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and smoking
Avoid consuming caffeine at least four hours before bedtime. This includes coffee, some teas, soft drinks and even chocolate. As for alcohol, although you may think it helps you fall asleep, it can actually interfere with your sleep cycle later in the evening. Smoking can also negatively affect your sleep routine and increase your risk of developing sleep apnea.
4 – Avoid taking naps
Naps can interfere with normal sleep cycles.
5 – Avoid prolonged use of electronic devices before bed
Power down your electronic devices! Anything that gives off light, such as cell phones or electronic reading devices (e-books), makes it harder to fall asleep. Avoid these devices for at least one hour before bedtime.
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