14 Ways to Battle Insomnia

While most of us think that it’s natural to get a good night sleep and to sleep straight through the night, for many people this is not the cause. Insomnia can be a once-in-awhile situation or it can turn into a truly terrible recurring situation. Whether you are battling with these issues all the time, or just once in a while, there really is help out there. Here are 14 suggestions for battling your insomnia and getting yourself back to bed.

  1. Identify the Cause: Understand the root of your insomnia, whether it’s stress, life changes, or a medical condition.
  2. Stick to a Routine: Even if not sleepy, get into bed at your usual time to maintain a consistent sleep schedule.
  3. Engage in Relaxing Activities: Listen to classical music or read under soft lighting to encourage sleepiness.
  4. Practice Good Sleep Hygiene: Ensure your bedroom is conducive to sleep and your pre-bedtime activities are calming.
  5. Limit Bed Activities: Keep your bed for sleep only, avoiding activities like watching TV or browsing your phone.
  6. Use Medication Wisely: Consult a doctor about using over-the-counter or prescription medications for tough nights.
  7. Avoid Staying in Bed: If sleep evades you, leave your bed to prevent associating it with stress.
  8. Seek Professional Help: If sleep issues persist, consider cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia.
  9. Exercise Regularly: Incorporate physical activity into your routine to promote better sleep.
  10. Evaluate Your Diet: Avoid heavy meals close to bedtime and limit caffeine and alcohol intake.
  11. Address Restless Leg Syndrome: If symptoms appear, get up and stretch or walk to alleviate discomfort.
  12. Monitor Daytime Naps: Limit or avoid naps to ensure you’re tired at bedtime.
  13. Consider Environmental Factors: Adjust your bedroom environment to be dark, quiet, and cool.
  14. Limit Clock-Watching: Avoid looking at the clock if you wake up in the middle of the night to reduce anxiety.

Sleeping in on Weekends – Yes or No?

The usual advice that your parents, guidance counselor, friends – or I – would give you is: don’t use the weekend to make up for a week’s worth of staying up all night. The trick to creating a sleep schedule that will help you do your best in your classes and studies (and socializing) is to try and maintain a similar schedule for all seven days of the week. Staying up all Saturday night and then sleeping in on Sunday will likely set you up for a less-than-productive Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday…

At least that’s what I always thought. A new study, however, may give us college students the green light to do what we want to be doing anyway. A study in the journal Sleep, scientists analyzed the sleep habis of 159 adults with an average age of 30. Their results suggested that, in the words of the scientist who led the study, “The additional hour or two of sleep in the morning after a period of chronic partial sleep loss has genuine benefits for continued recovery of behavioural alertness.”

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What this translates into for us: Catching up on your sleep by putting in an extra hour or two on a weekend night can help make up for a week when sleeping just didn’t make it on to your high-priority agenda!

Sleeping Well

Insomnia is a common problem among students.  This is even more so, at the beginning of your college career since you have no doubt undergone a huge change of pace and environment.  Still, there is no need to panic since there are many ways of dealing with this.  More importantly, there are many very healthy ways of dealing with this that should sort out the problem in no time at all.  First of all, never resort to drugs.  That is always a bad idea.  Sleeping pills are only meant to be used in very specific short-term temporary emergency situations such as when one is grieving and even then one need to consult a medical expert.  So what else can be done with regular insomnia?  Here are some basic tips:
a)    Get into a relaxing pre-bedtime routine
b)    Stop drinking caffeine at least 5 hours before you want to fall asleep
c)    If you are likely to be buzzing all night with worries, make sure you take a pen and paper and write a list of all the things you want to deal with TOMORROW and then put it away
d)    Take a bath
e)    Have a warm milky drink
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f)    Turn off the phone
g)    Turn off the TV
h)    Make peace with loved ones.
All of these small tips are very easy to implement and can really make a difference to your entire sleep pattern.  It might seem like a hassle at first, but within no time at all you will come to look forward to your bedtime routine as you see how much it benefits the quality of your overall sleep.