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Delivery time 2-3 days

Understand your insomnia > Read more

More than one third of adults in the Western world suffer from short term or long term insomnia. Basically, this means that more than one third of all adults have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep on a regular basis. You have probably had your share of long nights waiting for the alarm to go off, just to get up feeling worse off than when you went to bed the night before. So, let’s explore the beast of insomnia together and try to list some remedies for next time we’re staring up at the ceiling cursing our restless minds…

Understanding insomnia

Short-term insomnia happens only over a brief period, you might be feeling stressed, sleep in different or uncomfortable conditions (that lumpy hotel bed with the thin pillow) or have various hormone fluctuations or health concerns. Chronic insomnia is when this problem persists for three months or more. For some people, the main problem is winding down physical and mental activity and falling asleep (sleep onset). For others falling asleep is easy, while staying asleep is the heart of the problem (sleep maintenance). Most of us have experienced problems falling asleep as well as staying asleep and both variations of insomnia severely impact your mood and mental and physical capacity the following day. And, like us, you have probably stared up at the ceiling many times, while the minutes and hours ticked away, and whispered to yourself: Why? Why? Why can’t I just switch off and go to sleep? Well, there are actually a lot of very good reasons why switching off is not that easy…

Remedies for insomnia

Birgitte Rahbek Kornum is PhD in sleep biology at the University of Copenhagen. In her book; Understand your sleep (Forstå din søvn), she talks about our unrealistic expectations for sleep and people’s need to create more hours in the day, which cuts into sleep: ‘It’s more likely to be struck by lightning than to be a person, who is fine with less than six hours of sleep per night’ (Interview in the newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad 07.02.2019). And this might be the root of the matter of insomnia. We are under so much stress that we are desperate to get more time at our disposal, which means cutting into the only time, when nothing is scheduled – nighttime.

It is very possible that the best remedy you can use is to take a deep and critical look at your days and weeks. Try to decide if you are actually telling your body and mind to stay awake longer to be more productive for you. By doing that you are, more or less subconsciously, taking away the permission you should give yourself to relax and rest.

It’s no wonder really. From a young age, we are told that we need to be effective and productive; ‘you can sleep, when you are old’, ‘you snooze, you lose’, ‘early bird gets the worm’, etc. etc. Some people use it as a badge of honour and a sign of their own importance that they can live their lives on 4-5 hours of sleep per night. However, sleep researchers generally agree that adults need 7-9 hours per night to live healthy and productive lives, so that means putting that time aside for sleep every day.

Good sleep habits

Reorganizing your life to allow for more sleep can be a big job, which is definitely not done overnight (it really shouldn’t be done overnight). However, you can install good sleep habits from one day to the next and you probably know most of them already.

Prioritize your sleep cycle

Going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time every day (also on weekends) is probably one of the best things you can do to improve your sleep. The body is a creature of habit, which prefers to live on a regular schedule. In short, go to bed around the same time every night and wake up around the same time every day. It’s that simple. After a short time, your body and mind condition themselves to start winding down in tune with your sleep schedule, which makes falling asleep much easier. The temptation is to sleep in on weekends or after a night out, but it pays off to resist the temptation and get up at the same time every day, which again makes falling asleep that night easier. The main enemies of a regular sleep schedule are, not surprisingly, streaming services, social activities and late night exercise. Just one more 45-minute episode of that super exciting crime series is enough to throw off the schedule and potentially leave you awake much longer than you thought. Exercise late in the evening also gets your body pumped up and can make falling asleep much harder. Turn off the screens an hour before your bedtime and grab a book instead and get your exercise in earlier in the day – both really good tips for improving your sleep.

Create rituals around your bedtime and sleep space

You have decided on a sleep schedule that fits with your work and family. Now, you can work on getting your body and mind ready for bed by creating calming bedtime rituals and preparing a stress-free space for your sleep.

The bedtime ritual should actually start much earlier in the day, when you cut off your caffeine intake already around 1 or 2 pm. and plan your exercise for the afternoon rather than the evening. The last hour before bed is a time for winding down, reading a good book, breathing deep, writing in your diary or snuggle. Keep these activities for your bedroom, (and keep all the other activities, like work and movie watching, out), so you associate this space with winding down and relaxing. Ideally, your bedroom should be aired out, not too warm and not too cluttered. Invest in a bed and bed linens and pillows that you like and that make you feel comfortable and not too warm. For some people, keeping the feet warm – with socks or a foot bath before bed – is very sleep inducing. For others, a hot drink (herbal tea or warm milk) puts the body in the mood for sleep. Aromatherapy, breathing exercises, time spent under a weighted blanket or keeping a gratitude diary are also great remedies for calming your mind.

It is probably not one thing, but several changes which will help get your sleep back on track. Whatever keeps you up, taking a hard look at why you stay up late, sticking to a sleep schedule and creating rituals around sleep are all tried and tested remedies that are certain to bring you relief.

We hope you find some rest and wish you many good nights’ sleep.

Curious about weighted blankets and their influence on bedtime rituals, then skip over here.

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