Most people have difficulty sleeping at some point in their lives. There can be many reasons for this. These hacks tackle some of the main causes along with their solutions.
One. Stress. Whether you have had a stressful day, week or month you may have difficulty sleeping. This can be because your mind and body have been over-activated during the day, making it difficult to wind down at night. Stress can also lead to over-tiredness which can affect the quality of sleep also.
It may be that you are stressed because you have too much to do. This can lead to difficulty resting in general as the brain wants to complete the tasks it has left unfinished. It may not be possible to take the stress out of a job but there are several things you can do to help yourself cope with it better. Exercise can definitely help. Take a brisk walk at some point during the day, or even better go for a jog, cycle or to the gym.
A great way of dealing with the 'unfinished business' reason for lack of sleep is as follows. At some point during the day ask yourself what you need to have accomplished by this evening in order for you to be able to allow yourself to unwind. There may be a phone call that you have been putting off or a report which is half finished which could do with some attention before the end of the day. Prioritising some of your work schedule for peace of mind will help you to tackle the jobs which you put off. After a while you get in the habit of this and your general mental well-being will be better.
Two. Back-lit screens. Recently evidence has emerged that the use of back-lit screens in the evening can result in poor quality sleep and insomnia. The theory is that some of the wavelengths in light from backlit e-readers, phones and computers matches those of sunlight. This stimulates the pineal gland into thinking that it is still daytime. The brain stays awake for some time after turning the device off.
There are a couple of things you can do to counteract this.
- Avoid backlit screens in the evening. You could simply do something else, read a book, or play Monopoly. Otherwise reduce their usage to a minimum and make it as early in the evening as possible.
- Turn the screen brightness down. When it is dark in the evening you can get away with a much dimmer screen. This will reduce the strength of the effect on your sleep. Some devices will automatically dim their screen in dark conditions.
- Switch to a non-backlit ereader. Instead of using a tablet or Kindle Fire switch to one of the old-fashioned Kindles and read it by candlelight. Only joking! Just use a normal light.
Three. Noise. Noise at night is one of the commonest reasons for lack of sleep. Snoring is probably the commonest noise which wakes people up. Working as an ear plug developer I have heard of people being woken by the neighbour's boiler firing, pipes rattling and air-con units. Traffic and noisy neighbours are also common causes. The solution is simple; ear plugs. Molded ear plugs from http://zenplugs.com/sleeping-earplugs/ are the best for sleeping because they are comfortable and very effective at keeping noise out. They last for years so make a great choice for people planning to use them for some time.
Summary. If you want a good night's sleep learn to deal with stress, don't use backlit screens in the evening and get yourself a pair of ear plugs. Zzzzzz.
Dr Toby Bateson http://zenplugs.com/molded-earplugs/