There are effective ways to manage your sleeplessness. The key is to take control of your sleep habits. Rather than adding sleep troubles to your list of daily concerns, realize that periods of disrupted sleep can be perfectly normal. Your sleep habits could also be trying to tell you something about your health.
“The first thing you have to understand is that one night of lost sleep isn’t going to be a catastrophe. What ends up happening is that you start to think, ‘If I don’t get to sleep now, I won’t be able to function during the day.’ And it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
Here’s what you can do to break the cycle of sleeplessness and reclaim your rest.
1. Stick to a bedtime routine
The key to maintaining good sleep hygiene is to adhere to a schedule. “Try to make sure that your regular bedtime is 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. and stick to that schedule on the weekdays and on the weekends as well.”
And make sure to save some time to relax and wind down before you turn in for the night. “You can’t be working on your laptop then switch off the light and expect to go to sleep right away”. Try reading or journaling for a half hour before you go to sleep.
2. Restrict your time in bed
Though catching a midday nap might seem like a good idea, irregular sleeping will do nothing to help you establish good sleeping habits. “If you’re awake during a solid period during the day with no naps, your sleepiness drive is quite strong. If you have a nap or an extended period of sleep in the morning, it’s harder to get to sleep at night as your sleep drive has had less time to build up”. Also, if you find that you’re not falling asleep right away, get up out of bed and do a quiet activity until you feel ready to turn in. Your bedroom should be for sleeping and sex. And if you’re this age, you’re actually at your prime for sex.
3. Exercise outside
Setting the body’s circadian rhythm, the 24-hour clock that tells us when to sleep and wake up, is an important part of establishing good sleep hygiene. “Sunlight is the strongest time cue that we have, so getting out for an early-morning walk would be beneficial” . Try incorporating an outdoor activity, such as a brisk walk to work, into your daily routine and stick to it, even in the winter. You could also try these soothing bedtime yoga poses.
4. Ask your partner for help
A study also showed that the average people sleep time decreases when children are in the home. No surprise there. But as women traditionally wake to care for kids during the night, their sleep may be more disturbed than their male partners. Though researchers have found that women’s bodies tend to bounce back more easily from sleeplessness in their childbearing years, this disrupted sleep can be especially problematic for those with a history of depression. “That’s where a partner might need to get more involved in getting up at night to allow [his female partner] to have sufficient time to sleep and then to cope better during the day”.
5. Talk to your doctor
If your sleeplessness is starting to affect how you function during the day, it’s time to seek professional help. There could be an underlying problem, such as depression or anxiety, that’s keeping you from getting your beauty rest. To ensure that your doctor fully understands your symptoms, write down a description of what you’re experiencing and note if there are any patterns to your sleeplessness. “Family physicians often don’t have the time to go through the whole gamut of questions, so it’s important for men to fully describe what they’re feeling,”.