Having difficulties with sleep can be frighteningly distressing, especially when it becomes an ongoing issue. With compromised sleep, it is not just one’s mood that may be affected but also their capability to function during the daytime. Inadequate sleep may also lead to serious health conditions such as poor mental health and high blood pressure. Therefore, having a good night’s sleep, anywhere between 6 and 8 hours, is important for health and general wellbeing.
Fortunately, there are therapies to help manage sleep issues. In this article, we will be discussing some nonmedicinal strategies that help resolve insomnia.
1) Stimulus control therapy
Stimulus control therapy is based on the idea that sleep is a conditioned response to certain environmental cues. For example, associating the bedroom with sleep acts as a stimulus for our brain to induce sleep when we go to our bedroom. Following strategies are likely to help establish such an association.
- Use the bedroom only for intimacy and sleeping.
- Go to the bed only when you are sleepy, and avoid doing any stressful work in the bedroom.
- If unable to fall asleep for more than 15-25 minutes, leave the bed and go to a dimly lit room. Doing something relaxing may help. Return to bed when you start feeling tired.
2) Sleep restriction
This method involves controlling the time spent in bed but increasing the percentage of time spent asleep. This is accomplished by going to bed later than usual but waking up at the same time every day. This helps achieve a mild state of sleep deprivation, which results in more rapid sleep onset and efficient sleep. Once sleep time and quality are improved, a regular sleep-wake routine should be maintained.
3) Maintaining sleep hygiene
Sleep hygiene measures help enhance the quality of sleep. Some of these measures are listed here:
- Go to the bed and wake up at the same time every day.
- Use comfortable bedding and make the bedroom atmosphere comfortable too.
- Don’t take your worries to bed.
- If you wake up at night, try not to look at the clock’s face as it may trigger anxiety. Keeping the clock face down may help.
- Avoid large meals before bedtime to prevent stomach discomfort.
4) Relaxation techniques
Techniques that help you relax have a calming effect on the brain and can help induce sleep.
- Plan a quiet period before going to bed to help yourself prepare for sleep.
- Avoid any arousing activities before bedtime such as watching tv or using a cellphone.
- Doing something relaxing such as meditating, reading a book, or taking a warm bath may help reduce the time to fall asleep.
- Imagining calming imagery is also helpful in initiating sleep