We all have trouble falling asleep sometimes. Stress at work, sick children, a fight with the partner or the full moon keep us awake. Insomnia can damage the body in the long run and that’s why it’s important to know how you can sleep better and what are the causes of sleep problems.
After doing the same job for several years, I was burnt out. I didn’t enjoy work anymore, the pressure was high and I didn’t really like my colleagues. Soon I noticed that I had problems falling asleep in the evening. My doctor prescribed pills, but they didn’t help address the cause. I wanted to know how I could sleep better without having to take medication.
In my case, of course, it was stress that was affecting me psychologically. You may also know this when your body is tired, but your brain keeps replaying situations from your work day that have annoyed you. Work stress and frustrations are just two reasons why we have trouble sleeping. There are countless studies why sleep is so important and why it troubles us.
Two main causes of sleep problems
Besides a serious illness, there are actually two causes of insomnia: external factors and internal factors. External factors include things like your bed, the temperature in your bedroom, and your evening routine. Internal factors include your mental state. If you have significant sleep problems over a long period of time, it’s a good idea to see a doctor or sleep specialist. This way you can rule out the possibility that a serious illness is behind your sleep problems.
External factors in insomnia
Sometimes simple things can help you sleep better if you know where the problem is coming from. As you make your bed, so you sleep, is an old saying. And that includes what routines you have. Reasons why you sleep poorly can be:
You have a pillow that’s too hard or too soft
If you have the wrong pillow, your neck can tense up, and you’ll get a headache that won’t let you sleep. My tip to sleep better: try other pillows with different fillings
Your mattress is too hard or too soft
Even if your mattress has served you well for many years, it may eventually become too soft. Then you’ll toss and turn in your sleep.
My tip: if your mattress is hard, try using a topper. If it is too soft, you can put a board under the mattress
It is too warm or too cold to sleep better
The right room temperature is important. If possible, you should sleep with the window open to get plenty of oxygen. If you need air conditioning or heating, set the temperature between 15 and 18 degrees Celsius (60-68 Fahrenheit). My tip: You can use a smart device to program the temperature, and it can adjust it to the outside temperatures.
Watch TV and check social media
A real killer as far as hitting is concerned are screens. The bright light, which usually also has high levels of blue, messes with your biorhythms and tells your body it’s morning.
My tip: No TV in the bedroom, switch your phone to night display and best of all, don’t check social media at all to fall asleep. Better read a book!
Psychological reasons for sleep problems
As my example shows, the causes can also lie in our mental state. You will have to be aware of this and then learn to deal with it. This is not rocket science, it just requires a little patience and training. One thing in advance: alcohol will not help you sleep better. In fact, it has the opposite effect. And pills don’t fight the cause either.
In most cases, the cause of insomnia is that you can’t close the day and still think about past events and problems when you fall asleep.
Here are my tips on how to sleep better and feel better
Those tips are selected from chats with friends and my own experience. We all want to have a good sleep, and if there is a way to keep the sorrows away, why not giving it a try?
Meditation helps with sleep problems
Meditation is super effective in helping you find peace and relaxation. But it doesn’t work as an instant fix with a guaranteed effect. So how can meditation help you fall asleep if you can’t use it as a direct path to the land of dreams?
Meditation strengthens your mindfulness and your connection to yourself. You gain a better understanding of what your stress triggers are. You also develop the ability to look at your thoughts and feelings from a distance. This puts many things into perspective. In this way, over time, you become more aware in your everyday life as well. This awareness is a very powerful stress buster.
A lot of the stress we put on ourselves is quite unfounded. It only arises because our thoughts are forever revolving around past or future things. Taking time to consciously look at this thought mill is the first step to take the wind out of its wings.
For meditation to work its magic, it needs time and consistency. So if you are having trouble falling asleep, I would recommend that you try meditation and stick with it for at least a month. You can learn how to meditate best on Youtube or take courses.
Review the day in a positive way
This is a simple exercise but it is very effective. It helped me a lot and I still use it every night before I go to sleep. It consists of a few questions that you have to answer. You can write down the answers, preferably in a small notebook. That way you’ll have a journal, too. Here are my questions:
- What did you enjoy doing today?
- What did you learn today?
- Which person helped you today?
- Which person did you help today?
- What did you achieve today?
- What are you looking forward to tomorrow?
- Fill in the blank: I value in myself that ….
Create your dreams
We always think that we only dream in deep sleep. In fact, we also dream at the beginning of the sleep phase, and you can help with that a little. So you can sleep better with your own dreams:
Try to imagine a non-real world you like to be in. By not real is meant that it is not a memory. It can be a beach, an island, an abstract city or a space station.
Now explore this world walk around, observe what you see. It will take some time to really see these worlds in your mind’s eye, but in time you will be able to immerse yourself in them and sleep very quickly. By the way, this technique is derived from hypnosis. What is a legend and does not work is counting sheep. Experiments have shown that focusing on sheep tends to keep you awake.
Summary how to sleep better
So, to sum everything up, if you want to have a better sleep, check first:
Is my sleep environment perfect? Do I have a comfortable bed and pillow and is my room temperature well adjusted? Is the room quiet (earplugs may help if not)? Did I turn the TV off?
Have you started addressing personal problems that keep you awake at night? Have you tried Yoga or Meditation, or just walking or running in the evening?
I hope you will get a better sleep soon. I a am happy to discuss any issues regarding sleep with you here!
Disclaimer: The information contained herein is for information purposes only and is not to be construed as a diagnosis, treatment, preventive, or cure for any disease, disorder, or abnormal physical state, nor should it be considered a substitute for medical care from your doctor. On any matter relating to your health or well-being—and prior to undertaking any health-related activity—consult an appropriate health professional.