YOU CHECK YOUR ALARM clock, and you realize that it is 3:00 am.
You have been awake for the last thirty minutes, and this is the second time you are waking up tonight.
Before you know, it another 30 minutes pass and you start panicking, wondering how you will manage the day. How you wish you would stay asleep from the moment, you lie down until your alarm wakes you up.
According to experts, mid-sleep awakening (sleep maintenance insomnia) is the most common form of sleep complaint in many people. It is estimated that sleep maintenance insomnia affects 40% of the adult population.
With sleep maintenance insomnia, you will not have any trouble drifting off to sleep when your head hits the pillow. However, night after night, you will find yourself awake and staring at your alarm at some point in the night.
Sleep maintenance insomnia takes various forms. You:
The most significant cause of insomnia is stress and anxiety. Experts indicate that many people often stay awake thinking about their problems.
They ruminate over their worries, and they then experience anxiety attacks in the middle of the night. Other possible causes of insomnia include:
Eating too close to your bedtime will interfere with your sleep. Experts say that eating just before bed increases the chances of gastro esophageal reflux disease, in which the stomach acid flows back into the aesophagus.
Also, instead of your body resting during sleep, it has to digest the food that you ate just before bedtime. Experts recommended eating 3 – 4 hours before bedtime.
While blue light may not be very harmful during the day, it keeps your brain alert during the night and makes it unable to shut down and relax for sleep.
Alcohol is another major cause of insomnia. Initially, alcohol will put you to sleep pretty quickly.
However, as it wears off, your consciousness will drift to the surface. You will wake up with discomforts such as headaches, and you will find it hard to go back to sleep.
To break the vicious cycle of sleep maintenance insomnia, we will give you several actionable steps.
Getting to sleep and staying asleep are two different things. What you do or do not do before bedtime has a significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Here are a few things you can do to ensure that you set yourself up for a good, uninterrupted night’s sleep.
Make going to bed a soothing experience. It is essential to set a pre-sleep routine for yourself that you follow every night.
This routine signals to your brain and body that it is time to quiet down. This may include some form of relaxation, like a warm bath or reading a book, feel-good music, or meditation.
It is important to wait until your body is ready to power down for the night before you get into bed. This will relieve sleep maintenance insomnia.
It is also advisable that you invest in a warm light that you can use in your bedroom before bedtime.
Wake up at the same time every day. You may not have control over what time you fall asleep, but you can certainly have a fixed wake-up time. Waking up at the same time each day will help to improve the quality of your sleep.
Getting adequate sleep is about what you do, as well as what you do not do. Therefore, there are some things that you should reduce (and ideally eliminate) for a sound, restful sleep.
If you hope to beat sleep maintenance insomnia, make your bedroom conducive for sleep. This involves keeping noise and light at levels that are comfortable so as not disturb your rest.
Keep electronics outside the room. One of the most damaging things to your sleep is the notifications you keep getting from your gadgets.
According to Sleep. Org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60 – 67 Fahrenheit.
This may be cooler than what you are used to but bear in mind that your body temperature changes once you fall asleep.
For people who have poor circulation, the feet could still be suffering from the chill even when the temperatures are ideal.
If you are one of those people whose soles may need consoling for bedtime, a warm pair of socks might just do the trick.
Did you know: Sleeping in a cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.
If you are experiencing sleep maintenance insomnia, your bed could be the culprit. How old is your mattress? When was the last time you replaced your pillow? What is the quality of your bedspread and sheets?
Giving your body a makeover may be the solution to your restless nights.
What you eat contributes greatly to the quality of your sleep. Some of the foods that have been found to aid in sound sleep include:
A homemade solution:
Banana tea: Aside from being rich in potassium, bananas are swarming with magnesium, which is believed to lower cortisol, the stress hormone, hence soothing your body to sleep.
Sometimes you may need a little extra help, and there is where supplements come in. Supplements like valerian, melatonin, chamomile, 5-HTP, L-Theanine and magnesium, among others are excellent choices for people who need the help of natural sleep aids.
If you cannot sleep within 20 minutes of being in bed, or you wake up and cannot fall back to sleep, get out of bed and stay out of bed until you feel sleepy.
By staying in bed, the chances are that you will get frustrated and you will find it even harder to fall asleep.
There are exercises and things you can do to help you nod off when your ready to sleep.
Do not do anything stimulating when you get out of bed. Distract yourself with a calming activity until you start to feel sleepy again. And whatever you do, avoid the temptation to keep on checking the time.
If you are having serious trouble sleeping, it is advisable that you keep track of your sleep patterns for a week or two.
If you realize that you are spending less than 80% of your time in bed sleeping, it could either mean:
It is advisable that you then see a sleep specialist, who will determine the cause of your insomnia and prescribe the best treatment.