It is already 2 A.M. You have been tossing and turning in bed for almost three hours, desperately trying to fall asleep. You are longing for a refreshing and relaxing good night’s rest, but the muscles in your body are tight like a string on a violin and worrisome thoughts are buzzing around your head like a swarm of bees.
If this scenario sounds familiar, have comfort in the fact that you are just one in over 70 million Americans who suffer from different kinds of sleep disorders. Insomnia is a common term that describes the inability to sleep long and well enough to feel rejuvenated and rested in the morning.
What can cause insomnia?
There are some more profound causes of insomnia like deep psychological problems and mental distress, some physical illnesses, as well as sleep-interfering medications. These causes need to be treated with the help of a medical specialist. Sleep apnea, or breathing cessation in the course of sleep, restless legs syndrome and other more serious sleep disorders also require a visit to the physician’ s office. There are some other factors, however, that we can easily change in order for us to improve the quality of our sleep.
What common habits can interfere with good night’s sleep?
We all have certain unhealthy daily routines and habits that we have grown accustomed to. It would be unthinkable for some people to change them, but some of these habits greatly disturb good quality sleep that enables us to function properly during the following day. Here are the most common mistakes people make:
- Using alcohol as an aid for falling asleep
- Exercising vigorously and eating late in the day
- Drinking bigger amounts of coffee, tea and soda during the day and before bedtime
- Having an irregular sleep routine
- Playing video games, watching TV, and using a phone and computer before going to bed
- Having a noisy, bright and uncomfortable sleep environment
Which habits should be adopted or avoided in order to ensure a good quality sleep?
- Restrict your alcohol, caffeine and nicotine intake. Caffeine and nicotine stimulate the brain and make you alert instead of relaxing you. Alcohol, on the other hand, negatively affects the quality of sleep even though it makes you drowsy. All these should be avoided eight hours prior to bedtime.
- Establish a regular sleep routine. We all have an innate biological clock that works impeccably. If we get up and go to bed at different times during the week, our body will receive mixed signals and our biological clock will be confused, resulting in disrupted sleep. It is therefore recommended to go to bed and get up at the same time during all days of the week.
- Make certain that your sleep environment is cool, dark and quiet. If the outside environment is noisy, using earplugs or a sound machine can help hide it. You should also make sure that the room temperature is not too hot and that the room is dark enough.
- Focus on some soothing activities before going to bed. Reading a favorite book or doing some handiwork, accompanied by relaxing music in the background will help your body and mind relax.
- Try not to nap after 3 P.M. If you nap later in the afternoon, you will be less likely to fall soundly asleep at your regular bedtime at night.
- Avoid having meals at least two hours before bedtime. How can your system rest if your stomach has to work hard to digest heavy, fatty and/or spicy food? In addition, this can cause very unpleasant heartburn.
- Exercise regularly during the day, but not too close to bedtime. Exercise promotes quality sleep since it supplies the body with oxygen and stimulates the production of certain hormones that promote relaxation and the feeling of happiness.
This 2-minute stretch before bed might be the solution to your sleep problem
If you have established the proper bedtime routines and you still have problems falling asleep, we recommend that you try this thing.
Who would have thought that hips have anything to do with a good night’s sleep? They most definitely have, according to Jill Miller, a yoga instructor and a fitness expert. She claims that people who spend long hours sitting at their desks are particularly susceptible to sleep problems. Accumulated tension in the muscles greatly interferes with the quality of your sleep.
She believes that this simple exercise that enables your hips to stretch thoroughly can significantly promote relaxation and enable you to sleep soundly through the night.
You will need two simple aids for this exercise: the wall and a hard block-like thing.
Miller instructs: “Lay on your back and then plant your left foot against the wall while your pelvis is supported on the block. Then, fold your right knee and draw it in towards your chest.”
A great goal is accomplished through this simple procedure. It enables the long hip muscle, called flexor, to stretch properly. This muscle goes from the hip to the bones in the lower part of our back and affects the diaphragm, which is the main muscle in control of breathing.
When we spend long hours sitting in a chair, our flexor shortens and becomes tight. Jill Miller further explains: “If your hip flexors get short and tight, guess what that impacts? Your ability to breathe deeply. If you can’t breathe deeply, you can’t relax.”
This stretch will only take TWO minutes of your time- one minute on each side. It may just be the right thing to help you fall soundly asleep and wake up feeling refreshed and perfectly rested for another day’s requirements.