Sleep Series Part 2: Tips for Insomnia


If you suffer from insomnia, then hopefully this second part of our blog series on sleep will help you.  Last week we talked about why we need sleep and what is a good night’s sleep.  This week we are going to talk about some tips to have a restful sleep.

How to Have a Restful Sleep

Insomnia is characterized by having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.  The reasons for insomnia may vary such as stress, work, or poor sleep habits.  Below are some tips you can try for you insomnia to help you have a good night’s sleep.

  1. To the best of your ability, maintain a set sleep schedule each night.  Choose a time to be in bed by and stick to that time each night, weekdays and weekends.
  2. An hour before you want to sleep, turn down the lights and turn off any electronic devices such as a tv, ipad, computer, etc.  The screens emit a lot of blue light which blocks the release of melatonin.  A dark environment is what encourages your body to release melatonin which will help you have a restful sleep.  If you can’t make your bedroom completely dark, the quickest and easiest fix is to use a sleep mask.
  3. Keep your bedroom a bit cooler – studies have shown that the temperature of your room can affect your melatonin production.  A cooler environment will help increase your melatonin production.
  4. Avoid eating heavy meals at night as this can affect your body’s ability to stay asleep.  If your body needs to focus on digestion, then it will be less efficient at its restorative process during sleep which means you’ll experience more fatigue the next day.
  5. Try some relaxation techniques – this is great not only for insomnia to help your body get into sleep mode, but also to de-stress from your day.  The hormones produced by stress (adrenaline, cortisol) will directly impact your ability to fall asleep, so relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation or deep breathing will help you get out of stress mode.
  6. Avoid drinking anything (including water or alcohol) before bed.  While some people find alcohol can help them fall asleep, it can also cause you to wake up in the night once your blood alcohol level drops.  Also, filling your bladder before bed is more than likely going to disrupt your sleep too.
  7. Daily exercise for about 20-30 minutes will help you sleep more deeply.  Avoid a strenuous workout before sleep as it will have a more energizing effect, rather than getting you ready for sound sleep.
  8. Lastly, if you’ve tried some of these tips already and you are still suffering from insomnia, speak to one of our Toronto naturopaths for some natural ideas to help you have a restorative, restful sleep.
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