According to a survey done in 2016, around 43% of British women are not getting enough sleep. Insomnia is described as having difficulty falling and staying asleep and as insomnia is a disorder within itself, it can be presented as either chronic insomnia or short term insomnia. People who suffer with insomnia suffer with symptoms such as fatigue and irritability which can contribute to more severe disorders such as anxiety disorders.
However, it can work exactly in the opposite manner as well, and people with anxiety disorders may develop insomnia due to their anxiety. So the two coexist and can cause one another.
We are all well aware of remedies such as lavender and meditation to help with sleep, but these 7 tips below are probably less well known.
So whether you suffer from chronic insomnia or whether your sleep disturbances have been brought on by anxiety disorder, the 7 tips below should help you on the road to a more restful night.
1) Establish a Sleep Inducing Routine
Establishing an evening routine is about the most important thing you can do!
Without it, you are going to struggle!
Having a routine is going to help your mind and body get into a habit of preparing for sleep at a certain time.
Your evening routine should be sleep inducing, and many of the next tips that I am going to mention below can be incorporated into your routine!
2) Choose Warm Lighting
Melatonin is the sleep hormone and it is stimulated by darkness and warm shades such as amber or red. Installing a red light bulb in your bedroom will help stimulate the melatonin that helps you get sleepy.
Something like these lights which can be purchased here will help you do this.
3) Switch Electronic Devices onto Night Mode
If you can avoid using any electronic devices before bedtime, that would be first prize, but if you read or work on a computer, I-pad or phone at night, set it onto night mode before you go to sleep. The night mode function changes the lighting setting enabling you to sleep better.
If you have a thermostat, set your bedroom on anything between 16-20 degrees Celsius. This is the ideal temperature to aid in sleep. Also make sure that you get enough air circulating through the day, so that you not breathing in stale air. Open your bedroom window during the day to ensure this.
5) Valerian Tea
I have always been a fan of chamomile tea to help with sleep, but recently I have gone mad over valerian root tea. You can get this tea from health shops. many of them including the one I use is mixed into a blend for helping with insomnia, so the choice is yours. You can either use the pure blend or a mixture of valerian and other sleep aiding herbs. Either way, they are going to relax you and prepare you for night time.
I use the Dr Stuart Brand.
6) Isochronic Tones and Binaural Beats
I am still in awe at how few people know about these, and I talk further and about more of these tones, beats and noises in my book 'My Anxiety Companion' but in a nutshell, these are very specific types of 'tones' that can be played to target ailments such as insomnia, anxiety and study stress. Isochronic tones are regular beats of a single tone that is played to induce calmness in a person. They can also be used with Binaural Beats. This is all known as Brainwave entrainment. Noises include Pink, white and brown, which mimic sounds such a gushing rivers but pay more attention to the level of frequency depending on the noise played.
Two of my favourite apps are: Relax M.S.P and then AmbiScience 100
7) Eat starch at Night
I know for a lot of people that starch is considered an enemy to eat at night, but if you suffer from anxiety and/or insomnia, it might actually help you. Starchy foods raise serotonin levels which are our feel good hormones, helping us to relax. Eating something like a baked potato with your dinner will aid in this being able to happen.
8) Do not sleep during the day
This is pretty self explanatory, however it is not so easy to do. Many of us, if given the chance cannot resist a short cat nap during the day, but if you suffer from insomnia, it is not a good idea. Taking naps during the day will throw your natural circadian rhythm out of balance, causing your body clock to want to sleep during the day and stay awake at night. A trick to try and not sleep during the day is to get up and do something or go for a walk, even do a workout! It's not always easy, and with so many people struggling with ailments such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, sometimes you do need to take a Siesta.
However, if you do need to, just be mindful of time, and do not nap for more than 30 minutes, and do it before 4pm in the afternoon.
9) Use Natural Sleep Aids
There are many natural and herbal remedies on the market that can be used to aid better sleep. A natural sleep aid like Kalms is something that I like to use, and is fine to be taken alongside other medication. Please always discuss medication, even herbal alternatives with a doctor or health practitioner beforehand!
10) Get a Diffuser
I love my diffuser more for it's very soft but calming noise that it makes while I sleep, but in theory, the real reason to have a diffuser is because not only do they clean the air in the room they are in, but you can add essential oils to them and the scent will be released very subtly into the air.
The one I have has a colour changing light, which I love, and I often set it to red.
Purchase one like mine here.
11) Read a Book, not a Kindle!
Even though you can set your electronic device to night mode, I would still recommend rather reading a good old fashioned book or magazine before bed!
There is just nothing better than curling up into bed with a nice book!
Bonus Tip!!! I use the Zhu Zhu lavender scented sleep mask. It's great and the scent has really lasted a long time. Unfortunately the one that I use is only available in the UK, but don't worry as I found a really similar one that is available in the US over here.
It's infused with lavender which helps with sleep and relaxation, whilst a good old sleep mask will help stimulate melatonin by creating the complete dark effect on your eyes.
Extra Bonus Tip!!! Just take your phone out of your room altogether!
This will help to curb temptation to sit on social media and youtube, and it's really handy in the morning when your alarm goes off, as you need to actually get out of bed to turn it off!
Reference: Sleep deprivation article
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor! This article is to provide information only, and any advice followed is to be done at your own risk.
Any links provided are there to help insomnia.
Some of them I have personally used myself, and some are just there to give you some ideas as to what is out there.
None of these suggestions are guaranteed to cure insomnia.
I do earn a small commission on some of the products that are linked in this article.