Insomnia can make you feel tempted to reach for prescription sleep medications. Those sleep aids can come with some dangerous side effects, though, and the health risks can be greater than the benefits for your sleep. So how can you find relief from insomnia without resorting to pills and sleep aids? You can start with these questions:
Do You Need a New Mattress?
If you’re struggling to fall asleep at night, your old bed may be to blame. While the debate rages on as to when to replace mattresses, most experts recommend investing in a new mattress if your current one is not providing proper support. Understanding support needs is critical when shopping for your new mattress as well, since certain mattress types are better suited for certain sleeping preferences and body types. For instance, back, stomach and combo sleepers may find that opting for a hybrid bed like the DreamCloud will provide the versatile support they need to improve their sleep hygiene. If your prefer to curl up on your side at night, then investing in a softer mattress like Saatva may provide enhanced alignment and support.
Is Your Bedroom Designed for Sleep?
This may seem like a silly question, since bedrooms are traditionally where we sleep at night, but how your bedroom is set up can determine how well you sleep through the night. For example, certain bedroom colors are more soothing than others. Soft shades of purple, green, and blue can help you drift off to dreamland faster, but you can also go with a bold black for better sleep. To maintain that sense of calm throughout your bedroom, stick with soft colors for decor and bedding as well, but feel free to add a pop of color with a random throw pillow. For even better sleep, you can also adjust the light and temperature in your bedroom at night.
Do You Watch TV Right Before Bed?
Falling asleep with the TV on is a common relaxation technique for many people. As it turns out, though, watching TV before bed is actually one of the worst ways to soothe yourself to sleep at night. While you may fall asleep with the TV on, you are less likely to stay asleep and your are less likely to experience the deep sleep needed to feel refreshed in the morning. Your best bet for improved sleep is to turn your TV off and keep it out of your bedroom. If you find yourself unable to sleep without a TV, you can also try dimming the screen and turning off autoplay.
Are You Getting Adequate Exercise?
When you just can’t seem to switch your body and brain off at night, you may need to reevaluate your exercise habits. You see, your body needs sleep to restore and replace energy, so the more energy you burn during the day, the more rest you need to feel recovered in the morning. To maximize this effect, try upping your workout routine to include at least 30 minutes of intense cardio a few times each week. You can always work out a little harder, if good sleep still feels elusive, but limit exercise to the morning hours to minimize negative impacts on your sleep.
Do You Eat Dinner Late at Night?
Having a little protein before bed can help you stay asleep longer, but heavy meals have the potential to ruin your sleep. In fact, many of your diet choices can have an impact on the quality of your sleep. Avoiding those heavy meals a few hours before bedtime can help, but you can also cut back on processed foods to prepare your body for sleep. Another sneaky culprit that could be affecting your sleep is caffeine. You know that drinking coffee before bedtime can make it harder to sleep, but there are some hidden caffeine sources to be aware of, too.
When you can’t sleep, you can’t fully function. With the tips above, hopefully you can restore your sleep hygiene without reaching for potentially dangerous sleep aids. If these tips don’t work and you are still struggling with insomnia, it may be time to consult your doctor.
Guest Blogger Gabriel Patel | Photo Credit: Rawpixel