Night after night, you find yourself tossing and turning from side to side, changing position, trying to push your thoughts away from you and devote yourself to deep sleep. But that doesn't happen. You stay awake. Every now and then you glance at the clock, time moves, but you're in the same situation.
The next morning you will wake up sleepwalking, you may have trouble functioning, you may also suffer from decreased concentration, irritability, sleepiness and more. You don't have to accept your sleep disruptions as fate. There are many proven ways to speed up your nighttime sleep and ensure you get better, better quality sleep.
Get ready for bed
In order to fall asleep in a short time and enjoy quality sleep, it is important to create conditions that allow it. For example, make sure to darken the house, gradually; Seal windows with curtains or blinds so there is no light from outside. Remove devices from the bedroom that make a monotonous noise like a wall clock. Make sure the room is airy and clean.
Adjust the temperature in your room so you're cool and cozy
According to sleep research experts, the ideal temperature in the bedroom should range between 15-19 degrees Celsius. A higher temperature (above 23 degrees Celsius) or lower (below 12 degrees) can slow down falling asleep and impair sleep continuity.
Follow the "25-minute rule"
If it's been 25 minutes since you went to bed and you haven't been able to fall asleep, get up and do a quiet activity that distracts you. You can organize your house a bit, practice yoga or stretching, or even devote yourself to one of your hobbies, like knitting or painting. If you stay awake in bed for long periods of time, your brain will associate waking with the bedroom, which can exacerbate the phenomenon.
Disconnect from screens
About two to three hours before bedtime, electronic devices, especially smartphones and tablets, were disconnected. Many studies have shown that exposure to blue light, mainly from smartphone and tablet screens, can damage the retina and inhibit the production of melatonin, a hormone involved in scheduling sleep.
If you are waiting for WhatsApp, it is important to use the following recommendation.
Download a mobile app that filters blue light
In recent years, various applications have been developed designed to filter the blue light at night that disrupts sleep. The technology adjusts the screen for soft lighting, which calms the eyes and helps you sleep better. If you have to call WhatsApp urgently late at night, the damage with the dedicated filter will be significantly reduced.
Sleep deprivation can endanger health, Photo: GettyImages
There's a time for sleep—and there's a time for worry
Worries and annoyances keep people awake. You don't have to be preoccupied with negative things to get your sleep disrupted. Even if you are planning a vacation abroad, you may find yourself contemplating in bed for hours. A 2020 study showed that people who made a to-do list fell asleep significantly faster than a control group. If you're compiling a list of things that bother you, also list ways to fix them. This way, you can return to a more restful sleep faster.
Keep a sleep diary
Write down in your journal when you went to bed, how long after showering, how long it took you to fall asleep, how many caffeinated drinks you drank per day, when you woke up, how you rate sleep quality from 1 to 10. Tracking sleep patterns can give you a lot of information about yourself, so you can notice behaviors that promote continuous sleep or sleep disturbances.
Check yourself to see if you are sensitive to caffeine
Contrary to popular belief, studies conducted in recent years have shown that only people who have a genetic sensitivity to caffeine are those whose sleep will be affected by its consumption. How do you know if you are sensitive to coffee? A "sleep diary" may provide you with an answer to this, provided you also track your caffeine intake.
Sensitive to caffeine? Finish with your last coffee about six hours before bed
Caffeine consumption in people who are genetically sensitive to caffeine blocks pro-sleep receptors in the brain, called adenosine receptors. To measure how long a substance like caffeine lasts in your body, scientists use a term called "half-life." This is the time it takes for the initial amount of material to be reduced by half. According to the FDA, caffeine's half-life is between four and six hours. That is, by the end of this time, half of the caffeine you have consumed is still in your body – keeps you alert.
Try: Hot shower about two hours before bed
Body temperature plays an important role in the sleep-wake cycle. Studies have shown that a hot shower or bath helps the circadian rhythm regulate body temperature to prepare it for sleep. To enjoy the benefit of a good sleep shower, it is important to do it between an hour and an hour and a half before you go to bed. During this time, the body cools down and reaches an optimal state for falling asleep. In addition, showering, especially when done as a regular ritual at night, signals to the brain that it is time for sleep.
Try listening to podcasts
Don't have the energy and patience to read a book? Podcasts or audiobooks can be a great alternative that will give you a distraction, without turning on a light or straining your tired eyes.
Exercise up to four hours before bedtime
Exercise releases adrenaline and warms up your body, so during the first three hours after a workout, you may feel alert. After that, there is a phase of lowering body temperature and relaxation that actually helps to fall asleep. So, if you want to fall asleep better, do the activity about four hours before lights out.
Medication help for relief
Sleep deprivation can endanger health. Therefore, in case the natural actions do not help, a temporary sleep disorder relief drug that is sold without a prescription and is not addictive can be used. If insomnia is chronic, it is highly recommended to see a sleep specialist and perform a thorough investigation in order to receive effective treatment.
Dr. Keren Or Chen is a psychologist and researcher in the field of sleep
Wrong? We'll fix it! If you find a mistake in the article, please share with us