The best defense for insomnia may be preventing a sleepless night from occurring in the first place. Performing mentally or physically stressful tasks or partaking in harmful stimuli during evening hours can greatly impact your quality of sleep later. If you're having trouble sleeping, there is no better time to ward-off insomnia-inducing bad habits than in the minutes and hours before bedtime. Chronic, mild or occasional sleeping difficulty can be minimized by following some of these simple rules during the evening hours:
1) When having bouts of sleeping difficulty, insomniacs should abstain from drinking caffeinated beverages as much as possible, especially during the last half of the day or evening. Caffeine is a drug and its side effects make a person feel jittery & nervous, thusly contributing to another sleepless night -- even many hours after its usage. Caffeine just feeds into the endless cycle of lack of sleep/trying to stay awake/lack of sleep etc ...
2) Much the same can be said about soda or other sugared products. If you're having trouble sleeping, taking sweets within several hours of bedtime can make you feel too hyper and keyed-up to fall asleep.
3) Try to eat your last meal (or snack) at least 2 hours before bed, and avoid overeating. Eating too soon before bedtime may induce a state of temporary drowsiness, but soon thereafter may be followed by abnormal digestion, rapid heartbeat, acid reflux, or make you feel just plain miserable as you toss and turn with sleeping difficulty for hours.
4) Excessive alcohol intake to combat insomnia has many side effects. Too much alcohol prior to bedtime may initially induce sleep easily, but may also result in the following:
If you "must" drink, limit it to just one drink which may be enough to induce sleep yet help you dodge its side effects.
5) Smokers are usually very light sleepers -- waking up at the slightest noise, sometimes unable to fall back asleep. Though telling a smoker to quit is unrealistic for this article, those who smoke should use some common sense and try to avoid nicotine at least a few hours before bedtime.
6) If you've been having trouble sleeping -- take care of any important business or errands early, at least 3 hours before bedtime. If you have bills to pay, important obligations to fulfill, errands to run, or important phone calls to make, try to tackle these tasks late afternoon or early evening before dinner. This may help prevent repetitive stressful thoughts as you try to avoid another sleepless night.
7) Your lack of sleep may make you feel the need to doze off during the day. Though short afternoon naps can be beneficial, napping too late in the day can upset your body clock, contributing to sleeping difficulty as you try to fall asleep later. Be sure not to take a nap, even for a few minutes, during the evening hours.
8) Improve your sleep chances by participating in a relaxing activity before bedtime such as a taking a warm bath or long hot shower, lying in a hot tub, going in a sauna, or reading a book. For better results, combine these experiences by listening to some quiet music and/or lighting some candles or incense.
9) Here's one good way to avoid a sleepless night if you live away from city noises and the weather cooperates -- open your window and let nature's sound in. You'd be surprised how peaceful and beneficial outdoor sounds can be towards your goal of obtaining better quality sleep.
10) Finally, pay attention to your room climate if you're having trouble sleeping. Is it too cold or too warm? Often, without realizing it, sleeping difficulty may be a result of uncomfortable room temperatures. If there are reasons preventing you from heating the whole home (such as if you're renting a room), invest in a quiet fan or space heater. It may take some time before your room heats or cools to your desired temperature, so make any necessary adjustments at least a few hours before bedtime.
With a little discipline and common sense, sleeping difficulty and insomnia can be avoided. Rather than opting for sugared or caffeinated soda, coffee, or excessive alcohol, get into the habit of drinking purified or spring water, fruit juices or milk. Don't super-size your dinner or have it too late, and keep any late night snack small. Finally, be sure to keep stress low, relaxation high, and your room/house climate comfortable. There's no reason to endure another sleepless night.