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) Warm Amber 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.
2) 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.
4) 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.
5) 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.
6) 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.
7) 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.
Bonus Tip: Grab yourself one of these sleep masks:
Zhu Zhu Sleep Mask
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.
Reference: Sleep deprivation article