I started having trouble sleeping when I was 14. My mom got me valerian root, melatonin, and other natural sleep aides to try and help me sleep, but I found myself lying awake for the majority of the night regardless, with an active mind that replayed every trivial moment of my teenage life.
I had trouble sleeping up until my 20’s, when I found a balance between exercise, food, and work, which helped me sleep. Still, I find myself lying awake at night more often than I’d like.
Usually when this happens recently, it’s because I have failed to do one of the things that helps me sleep at night. Sometimes, it’s because I get home late from babysitting and I disrupted my routine. Sometimes, I slip up and have some caffeine in the late afternoon.
There are a lot of things that can be helpful when trying to fall asleep or ensuring that you have a good night sleep.They are as follows:
Mammals love routine. We thrive on it. An upset in our routine can upset our body’s natural responses. I find that when my routine is upset, I have a harder time sleeping than if I follow the motions of my regular routine. For instance, the nights that I babysit and get home late are difficult on my sleep cycle.
I also have trouble sleeping in hotels and foreign places because of this. Any upset to your routine can make it hard for you to get to sleep, and can have lasting effects until even after your routine is back to normal.
Most people can’t sleep when they are too full or on an empty stomach. There are also many foods that can keep us up; anything with caffeine or excess sugar in it, for example.
Eat a meal that will keep you satisfied in the evening, long before you go to bed. If you can’t eat until later, make it a lighter meal. This will also prevent you from waking up too early because you are hungry; the later you eat, the earlier you get hungry in the morning.
There is a general consensus out there that exercising makes you sleep, which can be true. However, because of the adrenaline that working out provides, it can also keep you up if you engage in physical activity too soon before you head to bed. Work out either in the morning. This will energize you for the day, but the adrenaline will be long gone before bed.
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in your body that helps you sleep and regulates your circadian cycle. Sometimes, your body doesn’t produce enough of it, causing difficulty in falling asleep and staying asleep.
If I don’t feel drowsy before bed, I take a melatonin pill. You can find them in any drug store (they are over-the-counter) and they are safe to take for most people (but you should always consult your doctor prior to taking any supplement, vitamin, or medication). Paired with these other tips, melatonin can supply you with a really good, deep sleep.
I try to relax before going to bed; part of that relaxation is integrated in my routine, by reading prior to bed to get my mind off of the happenings of my day. If I’m feeling extra wound up, I find that taking some extra time to do things that relax me helps a lot.
Drinking tea, taking a relaxing bath, or just hanging out on the couch can help make you drowsy.
Heat is a natural source of drowsiness, so many sleep experts suggest drinking warm milk or caffeine free tea before bed.
Sometimes, falling asleep naturally is important, and taking medication to help you fall asleep can be bad for you.
What do you do to fall asleep when you are having a tough time doing so?