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10 Strategies to Beat Insomnia and Sleep Better

10 Strategies to Beat Insomnia and Sleep Better

It has been estimated that almost 40% of people get less than the recommended amount of sleep per night, thanks to a busy schedule and a culture that never slows down. Insomnia actually affects one-third to one-half of adults in the United States, and about 15% of those people will experience severe distress because of lack of sleep.

Insomnia can have both internal and external factors, and once these factors have been identified, it becomes easier to control the problem. Here are 10 strategies to help you break the vicious cycle of sleeplessness, and start getting your best sleep without turning to medication.

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1. Stop Worrying About It

Those who struggle with sleep generally dread night time, as they stare at the clock which induces anxiety, fear, and anger. Approach bedtime with the thought that if you have a terrible night’s sleep , tomorrow night you may sleep better—rather than the thought that you’ll have a bad day because of your lack of sleep.

2. Practice Your Relaxation

When you’re stressed or feeling anxious, your body will release hormones which will make falling asleep more difficult. Instead, try to take part in relaxation techniques such as meditation or progressive muscle relaxation to help you release the tension of the day and fall asleep.

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3. Find Your Perfect Pillow

When your pillow supports your neck in the proper way, your sleepless nights can turn into meaningful rest. Those who sleep on their back will need a thinner pillow with more neck support. Side sleepers will need a firm pillow to fill the void between the ear and shoulder. Lastly, stomach sleepers will need a thin, soft pillow that won’t strain the neck. If you think you have the right pillow but aren’t sleeping well, pay attention to how you wake up and adjust your pillow accordingly.

4. Learn to Recognize Your Stress

Know when you’re starting to feel stressed out about not sleeping with indicators like rapid breathing, an elevated heart rate, and muscle tension. Once identified, aim to control these symptoms to bring your stress level down to something that is normal. You can do this by meditating, soaking in a warm bath, or reading a book right before bed.

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5. Establish Your Routine

Try to go to bed at the same time every night, and get up at the same time every morning, for the entire week. When you stick to a schedule, you’ll feel more alert than if you sleep on a varying schedule throughout the week.

6. Get Out of Bed if You Can’t Sleep

If you’re lying in bed, restless, for more than 20 minutes, go and do something else, except using electronics. This will help to break the association of the bed with negative emotions. Try to read or journal, but be mindful that you still should be relaxing.

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7. No Electronics

This includes watching television or playing on your computer, smartphone, and iPad. Though many people see these things as aids in relaxing, they actually secretly remind us of everything that you should be doing. Additionally, the blue light that is emitted from the device tells the body that it should be awake.

8. Aim to Exercise Between 5:00 and 7:00 PM

You should not be taking part in any strenuous activity before 3 hours of going to bed. The exercise will elevate your body’s core temperature for 5 to 6 hours, disallowing you to feel sleepy. A low body temperature helps to bring on the drowsy feeling.

9. Avoid Caffeine After 2:00 PM

Caffeine can affect a person for up to 6 hours after their last sip. Consuming caffeine too late in the day can wreak havoc on a person’s sleep cycle. After a sleepless night, one may feel dependent upon caffeine to survive the day, but indulging too late in the day will give you another sleepless night.

10. Keep the Room Cool

Ideally, keep your sleeping area at 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Beware, though, a room that is too cool will keep the body from relaxing as it will go into protective mode trying to defend the core temperature. If the temperature is too high, it may induce nightmares!

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Sasha Brown

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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