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How to Cope with Common Sleep Problems: Insomnia, Snoring, and Waking Up Groggy

How to Cope with Common Sleep Problems: Insomnia, Snoring, and Waking Up Groggy

Sleep problems can take many forms, from trouble falling asleep, to having your sleep disrupted in the middle of the night, to waking up fuzzy-headed. What these problems share in common is they really and truly stink. They impact your physical and mental health in countless negative ways and can make you feel more like a zombie than a real live human being.

Improve your sleep—and your life—with the following strategies for coping with the common sleep problems of insomnia, snoring, and waking up groggy.

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How to Cope with Insomnia

Insomnia manifests as difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping enough to feel rested. It plagues upwards of 40 percent of American adults. If you’re one of them, then you know how debilitating constant sleep deprivation can be. The good news is a variety of strategies can help you start sleeping better. Here are several proven ways to cope with insomnia:

  • Don’t do anything but sleep in your bed. Banish late-night work sessions, screens, mail sorting, and laundry folding from the bed. When you use your bed for nothing but sleeping, your body will start to associate the bed with sleep time. There’s also evidence that dimming the lights in the hours leading up to bed can help your body gravitate toward sleep.
  • Keep the bedroom cool and dark. Studies consistently find that people sleep best in rooms that are relatively cool—anywhere from 60 to 75 degrees—and dark. That means turning off the glow of screens, nightlights, and/or streetlights from your room (even if it means investing in blackout curtains).
  • Ditch alcohol before bed. That nightcap is doing more harm than good. Drinking alcohol (whether it’s a beer or a glass of wine or spirits) before bed can make it harder for your body to fall asleep and increase your risk of waking up in the middle of the night. Abstain after 6 pm whenever possible.
  • Reduce stress in your waking life. Chronic stress is a major contributor to insomnia, so you’ll sleep better if you can get your stress under control. Exercise regularly, practice meditation or breathing techniques, and pursue hobbies that help you release tension in your daily life. This will make it that much easier to drift off to dreamland when nighttime comes.

How to Cope with Snoring

Snoring might seem like little more than an annoyance for the snorer’s bed partner. But it’s actually more serious. Snoring disrupts sleep stages, which means it seriously reduces the quality of your sleep. Over the long haul, lack of good sleep can result in physical and mental health issues including memory loss, poor concentration, and a higher risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

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If that sounds terrifying, don’t panic. Instead, implement these strategies for coping with snoring:

  • Don’t drink before bed. Not only can nightcaps contribute to insomnia, they can also increase your risk of snoring during the night—thereby further degrading your sleep.
  • Quit smoking. There’s a strong link between smoking cigarettes and snoring. So if you need yet another reason to ditch the dirty habit, here it is: You’ll snore less and sleep better if you stop smoking.
  • Stay hydrated. There’s evidence dehydration can provoke snoring, because it makes nose and throat secretions more viscous and increases the potential for friction in these areas. (This is one of the sources of that “chainsaw” snoring sound.) In contrast, drinking plenty of water can reduce friction within and between your mucous membranes.
  • Perform throat exercises. It sounds weird, but a loose throat palate can increase your risk of snoring. Firming up these tissues can reduce the odds of them rattling while you breathe in your sleep. Practice these mouth exercises on a regular basis to help reduce snoring caused by loose throat tissue.

How to Cope with Waking Up Groggy

The fancy term for morning grogginess is sleep inertia. Whatever you call it, you know it by the feeling that your mind just isn’t quite “there” for the first 30 minutes (or more) after you wake up. Here’s how to beat back the fog as quickly as possible:

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  • Expose yourself to sunlight ASAP. Sunlight triggers our bodies and minds to wake up—so the sooner you get some sun, the sooner you’ll banish the morning fog. At a minimum, open the curtains throughout your apartment or house as soon as you wake up. Even better? Head outside for a short stroll. The combination of physical activity and sunlight is a one-two punch in the fight against morning grogginess.
  • Get a move on. Speaking of physical activity… When you’re feeling groggy in the morning, the thought of working out can seem like a mild form of torture, but it might be the best thing for you. Morning exercise helps boost circulation and increases energy levels, which can help you feel clear-headed faster. Even if you can’t muster up the energy for a high-intensity workout, consider doing a few jumping jacks or some dynamic stretching in the living room.
  • Don’t hit “snooze”. Look, I know how tempting it is to hit that snooze button and live in blissful denial of your eventual wake-up for just a few more minutes. But research says those last few minutes of rest are doing more harm than good. Because you’re likely to fall back into a deep sleep (rather than a lighter sleep stage), you’ll feel that much worse when the alarm goes off again.
  • Take a hot shower. The change in body temperature that’s elicited by a hot shower can help your body transition into alertness.

When you’re not sleeping well or you’re constantly waking up groggy, it can start to feel like you’ll never feel well-rested again. It’s important, however, not to lose hope. Instead, muster the energy to adopt these strategies. While it might take some time to turn them into habits, they’re all but guaranteed to help you feel more rested over the long haul.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Kenny Kline

Entrepreneur

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Last Updated on July 23, 2019

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut, only to get back into another one.

How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

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  • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
  • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
  • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
  • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
  • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
  • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnation, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help. Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

1. Realize You’re Not Alone

Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths. Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

2. Find What Inspires You

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Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation. What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem. If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

3. Give Yourself a Break

When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

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Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave. Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future. These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

4. Shake up Your Routines

Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’s 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

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When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

5. Start with a Small Step

Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward. Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years. On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

More to Help You Stay Motivated

Here are some resources that will help you break out of your current phase:

Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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