With around one in three people suffering at least mild insomnia, it seems simply counting sheep isn’t helping us nod off any longer.
With a myriad of causes, insomnia (said to be present when you regularly find it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep, according to the Sleep Health Foundation Australia website) affects focus, memory, emotional stability and even puts you at greater risk of traffic incidents. To help you get the shut-eye you need we’ve compiled a list of the top five natural ways to help combat insomnia.
1. set your body clock
Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day (even weekends!). This puts your body clock into a good rhythm and makes you more alert and refreshed than if you slept for the same total amount of time at varying hours throughout the week.
2. Avoid caffeine after 2pm
Caffeine has a half-life of six hours, which means that six hours after your last coffee, half the caffeine is still in your system. This creates a nasty cycle since you’ll need more the next day to keep yourself alert after failing to sleep properly the night before.
3. Cool it down
Your deepest sleep is when body temperature is lowest (usually in the early hours of the morning). Keep your bedroom cool (too much warmth can induce nightmares) and have a hot bath or shower just before bed to trick your internal thermostat into lowering body temperature, which tells your brain it’s sleepy-time.
4. Set up a routine
Turn off electronics, keep the bedroom quiet and dark, read a book or practise light yoga or meditative techniques. Creating patterns signals to your mind that it’s time to switch off.
Avoid anything strenuous within three hours of going to bed (as it elevates core body temperature) but a morning run or cycle can help to wear you out which means sounder sleep. Any calming practices that soothe the body and mind such as yoga, pilates or Tai Chi are great before bed.
What do you do to help yourself fall asleep? Any bad habits you wish you could break? How long have you gone without sleep and how did it affect you? Let us know!