I'm not saying that sleeping disorders are a figment of the imagination, but they shouldn't be the first suspect when it comes to troubled sleep. Things that you do (or don't do) to prepare for bed can be just as big of a factor when it comes to high quality rest at night.
Trouble Sleeping at Night Might Be Your Own Fault
Do you continue to struggle getting to sleep at night? Don't just automatically blame a sleeping disorder, you should definitely take a long hard look at your own habits first.
Are You Having Trouble Sleeping through the Night?
For years I had problems sleeping, but I didn't really do anything about it. I can relate to what it's like waking up tired every morning and simply dreading the day ahead. This also comes with a certain amount of fear an anxiety that hits you right before bed the day before. You wonder "will I be able to get the sleep I need to function well tomorrow?".
Unfortunately this downward spiral is often one that we create in our own minds. Anxiety isn't going to help you sleep, no matter what other conditions or environmental factors you might be dealing with. I want to focus on a few things though that you can control to reduce these feelings of anxiety and really make a proactive step towards getting better and healthier sleep for yourself at night.
Why Sleep Aids Aren't the Answer: Environmental Factors that You Can Control
There is an overwhelming demand for sleep aids of all sorts. The simple truth is that while these may work for some people, they are a quick fix that just aren't a blanket cure for the wide range of varied problems that troubled sleepers are having.
Before trying a sleep aid you should always focus on your on habits of sleep and take care of environmental factors that could be causing your insomnia and other troubles of getting to sleep.
- Light - Make sure that you're in a room that is sufficiently dark. Avoid annoying glowing night lights and windows facing the street (headlights are terrible and can disrupt your sleep even if you don't know it).
- Temperature - This one is extremely important for me. If the environment is too warm forget it, I'm never going to be able to sleep well. Make sure that you are cool enough to get to (and stay) asleep, but that you are still comfortable as well.
- Sound - Loud noises (or any noises for that matter) can really disturb your rest. Try to either eliminate any possible sources, or invest in some good ear plugs that can just block this sound out.
These things may seem obvious, but I guarantee you that the average troubled sleeper says "yeah I know..." and then doesn't actively do anything to improve their sleeping environment. Make sure you aren't one of these people and take some action and responsibility for creating a good room to sleep in.
Sleep Schedules: Consistency Is Key
One of the easiest ways to immediately improve your success rate for sleep is to be consistent. Stop going to bed at random times because you want to do other things or find out that there is some late party going on. Sleep is so important that it just has to take precedence over such things.
If you do enforce a sleep schedule and stick to it consistently, your body will adjust and adapt more efficiently. You'll know when it's time for sleep and your body will make the physiological changes that it needs to at the right time. This means that you can actually devote possibly less time to sleep and most likely see even better results from it.
When I stopped going to bed at very late hours of the night I saw an instant improvement in how quickly I was able to get to sleep. There is no doubt in my mind that discipline and a strong sleep schedule is essential to good consistent sleep each and every night.
A Word about Sleeping Disorders
If you've tried all of the above suggestions and still struggle with anxiety, insomnia, and just general feelings of tiredness, you very well might have a serious sleeping disorder or some other underlying problem.
In this type of case you should certainly visit a specialist and see what it is that they recommend for you. The problem with having trouble sleeping is that there are so many different causes that can ultimately be the root of the problem. Your individual case may in fact be extremely different from any other individual, so it's very important to see that specialist and have them point you in the right direction.