Published: 08/09/2013 - Updated: 08/13/2019
Author: Dra. Loredana Lunadei
A sleepless night is an experience that can lead to moments of anguish and frustration: Sleep problems are very common, especially when we go through stressful situations or we mishandle our schedules.
The reasons for these problems when sleeping are very varied and so the same solution cannot be applied to every person or problem. However, there are basic recommendations to help us sleep peacefully. This article will introduce some causes and solutions which might lessen or resolve the problem, helping you to finally sleep healthily.
Why can I not sleep?
Waking up in the middle of the night
This problem is very common, people who have it have no trouble falling asleep but wake up always in a specific time, e.g. 3 o'clock in the morning, and are unable to fall asleep again. Finally when they do manage to fall back asleep, usually it is time to get up again.
- Eat a light meal before bed: Avoid large dinners or eating at a time very close to your bedtime, as this can affect your sleep. If you drink alcohol with your dinner, try to do so at least 2 hours before going to bed to avoid any problems.
- Use books or music to relax: Quiet and pleasant music can make you relax enough to avoid waking during the night. Also a book can be a great ally. Another good idea is to use audiobooks.
- If you wake up, try to stay calm: Be relaxed and calm, as proper breathing can help you go back to sleep. Avoid feeling anxious and relax.
Having shallow dreams or being woken at any little thing
People who go through this problem usually are very light sleepers which does not allow them to rest properly, as even the smallest noises can wake them, or other factor such as a very hot or cold room, etc.
- Remove any negative stimulus: The light of appliances can be very annoying for those who are light sleepers, so try to eliminate any sources of light or noise that could affect your sleep.
- Use soothing extracts: There are currently a huge range of products that can help you to have a more relaxed and deep sleep. Lavender and chamomile are very effective, or you can use oils placed on your pillow to bring about a good rest.
- Do not allow pets on your bed: Animals have other sleep cycles; cats remain more active at night and dogs do not usually sleep constantly. Allowing them in your bed or bedroom may cause problems for you at bedtime, so try to send them away from your room at night.
Insomnia is a classic case where the person, rather than attempting to rest, fails to reach a state of deep sleep and can spend hours tossing in bed, unable to relax, often having stressful moments thinking about a problem or things they have to do for the next day or week which makes it even harder for them to sleep.
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- Create a schedule: Maintaining a schedule may be the most convenient thing to do for people who suffer from insomnia. Sleeping and waking at the same time thus creates a routine that makes our body adjust and adapt to changing light, which will progressively help you to sleep easier.
- Exercise regularly: Exercise helps us to stay healthy and releases a hormone called melatonin which causes us to feel sleepy, so incorparating physical activity into your daily routine, provided it is four hours before bedtime, is a great idea.
- Eat tryptophan-rich foods: This compound can help release serotonin which induces a state of relaxation. You can opt for bread and cheese, yogurt or banana with a little peanut butter an hour before sleep so they can be digested and the desired effect obtained in time for bed.
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