5 Simple Habits to Beat Insomnia

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Getting a good night’s sleep is just as important for your health as eating right and staying hydrated, but if you’re struggling with insomnia, it can be really tough.
At GloFusion, we know how hard it is to function when you’re not sleeping well. If you’re ready to stop counting sheep and start sleeping better, here are five key habits that can help you overcome insomnia and get the restful sleep you need.

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1. Stick to a Regular Sleep Schedule

One of the best ways to fight insomnia is to have a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same times every day. This trains your body to expect sleep at certain times, which helps set your internal clock or circadian rhythm.
When your body knows it’s bedtime, it starts natural processes like cooling down and releasing melatonin, the sleep hormone. Try to keep the same schedule on weekends and days off, too, because sleeping in or staying up late can throw off your rhythm.
If it’s tough to change your bedtime all at once, try going to bed 15 minutes earlier each night until you hit your goal. Always wake up at the same time each morning, even if you had a rough night. This consistency helps reset your body clock and makes you tired at the right time.

2. Develop a Bedtime Routine

A bedtime routine tells your brain it’s time to relax and get ready for sleep. Choose calming activities you enjoy, like reading with a dim light, listening to soft music, or doing relaxation exercises.
Incorporate relaxing habits like a skincare routine or drinking a warm herbal tea, such as chamomile or peppermint, which are naturally calming. These small acts of self-care help you wind down and prepare for sleep.
Avoid activities that can keep you awake, like looking at screens. The blue light from phones and computers can stop your body from making melatonin, the hormone that helps you sleep. If you need to use devices at night, try wearing glasses that block blue light or use an app that reduces blue light exposure.
Make your routine the same every night to strengthen the link between these activities and sleep. Over time, just starting your routine will make you feel sleepy and ready for bed.

3. Optimize Your Sleep Environment

Optimizing your sleep environment is crucial in ensuring that your bedroom is a sanctuary that promotes restful sleep. Here’s how you can create an ideal setting that encourages your body to shut down and rest:
  • Control the Temperature: The ideal temperature for sleep is typically between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5-19.5 degrees Celsius). A cooler room helps lower your body temperature, a necessary step towards deep sleep. Experiment with your room’s thermostat to find the temperature that works best for you.
  • Reduce Noise: Minimize noise disruptions which can prevent you from falling asleep or wake you during the night. If you live in a noisy neighborhood or have loud housemates, consider using a white noise machine or app to drown out unwanted sounds. Earplugs can also be effective.
  • Manage Light: Light exposure can greatly impact your sleep quality. Use heavy curtains or blackout shades to block light from windows, and try to eliminate light from electronics, like clock faces and charging indicators. If it’s not possible to completely darken your room, a comfortable sleep mask may be helpful.
  • Invest in Quality Bedding: Your mattress and pillows play a significant role in your sleep quality. Choose a mattress and pillows that support your preferred sleeping position and personal comfort preferences. If your mattress is older than 7-10 years, it might be time to consider a replacement.
  • Keep It Clean and Allergen-Free: Regularly clean your bedroom to keep it free of dust and allergens, which can interfere with breathing and disrupt sleep. Use hypoallergenic covers for mattresses and pillows to keep dust mites at bay, and wash your sheets and pillowcases at least once a week.
  • Personalize Your Space: Make your bedroom a place that you look forward to retreating to each night. Decorate in calming colors, add personal touches like photos or artwork that make you happy, and ensure that your sleeping area is clutter-free to reduce stress and mental distraction.
By taking the time to optimize your sleep environment, you can transform your bedroom into a space that significantly enhances your ability to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep throughout the night.
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4. Mind What You Eat and Drink

Being mindful of what you eat and drink can have a significant impact on your sleep quality. Certain foods and beverages can disrupt your sleep patterns, while others can enhance your ability to fall and stay asleep. Here are some detailed tips to help you manage your diet in a way that supports good sleep:
  • Limit Caffeine and Nicotine: Both caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that can keep you awake. Since caffeine can linger in your body for about 6-8 hours, try to avoid coffee, tea, chocolate, and some pain relievers that contain caffeine several hours before bedtime. Similarly, smoking or tobacco use near bedtime can stimulate your body and disrupt sleep.
  • Avoid Heavy Meals and Big Fluid Intakes at Night: Eating a large or heavy meal right before bed can lead to discomfort and indigestion, making it hard to sleep. Try to have dinner earlier in the evening, and if you need a snack closer to bedtime, choose something light and easy to digest. Also, drinking too many fluids in the evening can lead to frequent trips to the bathroom throughout the night, disrupting your sleep cycle.
  • Choose Sleep-Promoting Snacks: Some foods can help promote sleep due to their content of specific sleep-inducing substances. For instance, almonds and walnuts contain melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep, and dairy products contain tryptophan, an amino acid that helps produce serotonin and melatonin. A small snack of cheese and crackers or a glass of milk before bed might help you drift off easier.
  • Reduce Alcohol Consumption: While alcohol might seem like it helps you relax, it actually interferes with your sleep cycle once you’re asleep. Alcohol can reduce REM sleep, the restorative part of the sleep cycle, which means you’re more likely to wake up feeling groggy and unrested. If you choose to drink, it is best to limit alcohol consumption to at least 3 hours before bedtime.
  • Pay Attention to Sugars and Refined Carbs: Eating foods high in sugar and refined carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice, and pasta during the day can trigger wakefulness at night and pull you out of the deep, restorative stages of sleep. Try to balance your intake of carbs with an adequate amount of protein and fats to stabilize your blood sugar levels throughout the night.
By carefully selecting your evening meals and being cautious about your overall diet, you can significantly improve your sleep quality. Eating and drinking the right things at the right times can reinforce your circadian rhythms, reduce nighttime wakefulness, and help you get the deep, restful sleep you need.

5. Exercise Regularly—But Not Before Bed

Regular exercise is a fantastic way to improve sleep quality and overall health. It helps reduce stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression, all of which can interfere with sleep. However, the timing of exercise can be just as important as the activity itself when it comes to its impact on your sleep.
  • Best Times to Exercise: Ideally, try to schedule your workouts in the morning or early afternoon. Morning exercise can invigorate your day and boost your metabolism from the start, leading to better energy levels throughout the day and naturally winding down at night. Afternoon workouts can also be beneficial, as they raise your body temperature a few hours before bed, allowing it to drop and trigger sleepiness as bedtime approaches.
  • Avoid Evening Workouts: Exercising too close to bedtime, especially high-intensity workouts, can have the opposite effect, increasing alertness and core body temperature at a time when they should be dropping. This can make it difficult to fall asleep. If the evening is the only time you can fit in a workout, try to keep it light with activities like gentle yoga or a leisurely walk that won’t increase your heart rate too much.
  • Type of Exercise: Aerobic activities such as jogging, cycling, or swimming are particularly good for promoting sleep. They help increase the amount of deep sleep you get, which is the restorative phase of sleep that helps boost immune function and support cardiac health. Resistance training and yoga can also improve sleep quality by reducing stress and anxiety levels.
  • Consistency Matters: Consistent exercise is more beneficial than sporadic activity. Establishing a routine not only helps with overall physical fitness but also aligns your body’s internal clock with your sleep-wake cycle, particularly if you work out at the same time every day.
  • Listen to Your Body: It’s important to balance exercise with adequate rest. Overtraining can increase fatigue and soreness, which might disrupt your sleep cycle. Ensure you have rest days scheduled to allow your body to recover and gain the full benefits of physical activity.
By incorporating regular, appropriately timed exercise into your lifestyle, you can enjoy better sleep quality and overall health. Just remember to give your body time to unwind and relax before jumping into bed.

Implementing These Habits

Incorporating these five habits into your routine might not cure insomnia overnight, but over time, they can provide significant relief and lead to more restful nights. It’s important to be patient and consistent with these changes. If your insomnia persists, it may be a good idea to consult a healthcare professional to explore further options. Remember, good sleep is achievable, and with the right practices, you can enjoy the benefits of a full night’s rest.

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