I’ve never been a good sleeper. I toss and turn for hours on end, even on nights when I feel exhausted. For some reason my brain just never wants to turn off. I’ll lie in my bed all night, just hoping I’ll fall asleep. What usually ends up happening is that I’ll just stay awake until I literally pass out from exhaustion, because that seems to be the only way my brain will shut down for a while. Then I wake up the next day feeling exhausted.
Throughout my entire childhood, I was ALWAYS the first person to fall asleep. I never really gave it much thought, but looking back, I’ve realized that I’ve had this sleeping issue for longer than I thought.
I think a lot of this stems from my anxiety. I am constantly worrying about everything from school, the future, work and even just life in general. My mom has always said that I never fail to find something to stress about. Right when one thing is over, something even more stressful will pop up in its place.
Teengers and young adults are also know for having more sleep debt than any other age group. What is sleep debt, you ask? Well I am super knowledgable about this because I’m actually taking an online psychology class right now that is focused on sleep. Lol. Anyway, sleep debt is when you don’t sleep the number of hours that your bodies needs, and it can accumulate over time. Our age group needs about 9.5 hours of sleep per night, which is way more than I thought. If your’e only sleeping about 7.5 hours a night, that means you’re accumulating 2 hours of sleep debt every day. And, you’re going to have to make it up at some point. Sleep debt causes us to be drowsy and irritable, and you won’t perform as well on tasks. So, it’s in your best interest to make sure you are SLEEPING!
Anyway, my point is that sleep is important, and I have been dealing with sleeping issues for basically my entire life, and I have picked up lots of tips to help you fall asleep faster. I’m not perfect, and this is definitely one of those situations where I need to learn to take my own advice. But, I can say that I do make an effort (most of the time) to follow at least a majority of these tips, and they really do help me. I wanted to share them with you today in the hopes that it can help some of my fellow insomniacs out there (:
For all you light sleepers
Did I mention that I’m also an extremely light sleeper? Yep. Literally I will wake up to the sound of someone walking past my door, or a car driving by outside. This makes my sleep even worse, because I end up waking up multiple times, some days up to 10 times a night. This just messes up the entire sleep cycle and leaves you feeling so so tired. Bleh.
If you’re a light sleeper, I definitely recommend buying some good quality ear plugs, and an eye mask as well if your sleep is being impaired by light. It might seem annoying, but trust me, it is worth it. It will block out any noise and allow you to get an uninterrupted, good night’s sleep.
Also, get a noise machine. This can be a white noise machine, or one that has sounds like rain or storms. I find the sound of rain really soothing, and it helps me to fall asleep. On top of that, it helps to block out other noises, which helps me stay asleep as well.
To do before bedtime
OK, now I am going to talk to everyone out there who struggles getting to sleep and not just staying asleep. These are things you need to do before It’s time to go to bed. Sleeping might be something you think about once you crawl under your comforter each night, but you actually need to start thinking about it way earlier in the day.
First, don’t drink coffee past mid-morning. I know so many people who have a second cup of coffee in the afternoon to give themselves a boost in the middle of the work day. DON’T DO THIS!! Caffeine can stay in your body for up to twelve hours. That means that if you have a cup of coffee at 3 p.m., it could still be in your body at 3 a.m. This will not help your sleeping situation.
I would also stay away from sugar starting at about 3-4 hours before bed time. Sugar boosts your blood sugar and can make you feel more awake, which is not good when you’re trying to fall asleep. I used to be so guilty of this – late night snacking is my most favorite past time. But, if you want to fall asleep, stay away.
Don’t look at any electronics starting about an hour before you want to go to bed. I don’t really know the science behind technology and sleep, but I do know that putting my phone and laptop away really helps me to unwind and feel calm before it’s time to sleep. I like to read a book, or maybe even take a nice bath.
Make sure you have everything ready for the next day. I don’t know about you, but if I go to bed with things still on my mind, they will keep swirling around in my brain all night and I won’t get any sleep. I always make sure to have everything in place so I have nothing to worry about in bed, like any leftover homework or a messy room. And, if I do have tasks that I just couldn’t get to the night before, I will write out a list for the next day. That way I know I have it written down and I won’t forget, which helps to calm my nerves.
Other tips for falling asleep
Have a routine. I like to have a certain time every day where I turn off the electronics, get in comfy pajamas, brush my teeth and face and read a book with my fairy lights on. If you do the same routine every day, your brain will learn that these actions mean it is time for bed, which will help get you in sleep mode much faster.
Fun fact, next semester I am taking a producing class that requires me to produce three news shows per week. One of those shows starts at 4:30 a.m., which means I have to be at the station working form 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. Bye bye, sleep routine! It was nice while it lasted.
This is only for special occasions, but Melatonin pills really help me on those days when I just know I’m not going to fall asleep. Maybe I slept in too much that morning, or I’m stressed about the next day, or I have to go to sleep earlier than usual. It’s not good to use these all the time, but on those days where you really need a good night’s sleep, they work great.
Alright guys, that’s everything I could think of! If you have any tips of your own, for SURE let me know, because I’m not perfect and I still don’t have a great sleep schedule. Hope you enjoyed!