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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 May 15, 2019

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

As it appears, the human mind is not capable of not thinking, at least on the subconscious level. Our mind is always occupied by thoughts, whether we want to or not, and they influence our every action.

“Happiness cannot come from without, it comes from within.” – Helen Keller

When we are still children, our thoughts seem to be purely positive. Have you ever been around a 4-year old who doesn’t like a painting he or she drew? I haven’t. Instead, I see glee, exciting and pride in children’s eyes. But as the years go by, we clutter our mind with doubts, fears and self-deprecating thoughts.

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Just imagine then how much we limit ourselves in every aspect of our lives if we give negative thoughts too much power! We’ll never go after that job we’ve always wanted because our nay-saying thoughts make us doubt our abilities. We’ll never ask that person we like out on a date because we always think we’re not good enough.

We’ll never risk quitting our job in order to pursue the life and the work of our dreams because we can’t get over our mental barrier that insists we’re too weak, too unimportant and too dumb. We’ll never lose those pounds that risk our health because we believe we’re not capable of pushing our limits. We’ll never be able to fully see our inner potential because we simply don’t dare to question the voices in our head.

But enough is enough! It’s time to stop these limiting beliefs and come to a place of sanity, love and excitement about life, work and ourselves.

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So…how exactly are we to achieve that?

It’s not as hard as it may seem; you just have to practice, practice, practice. Here are a few ideas on how you can get started.

1. Learn to substitute every negative thought with a positive one.

Every time a negative thought crawls into your mind, replace it with a positive thought. It’s just like someone writes a phrase you don’t like on a blackboard and then you get up, erase it and write something much more to your liking.

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2. See the positive side of every situation, even when you are surrounded by pure negativity.

This one is a bit harder to put into practice, which does not mean it’s impossible.

You can find positivity in everything by mentally holding on to something positive, whether this be family, friends, your faith, nature, someone’s sparkling eyes or whatever other glimmer of beauty. If you seek it, you will find it.

3. At least once a day, take a moment and think of 5 things you are grateful for.

This will lighten your mood and give you some perspective of what is really important in life and how many blessings surround you already.

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4. Change the mental images you allow to enter your mind.

How you see yourself and your surroundings make a huge difference to your thinking. It is like watching a DVD that saddens and frustrates you, completely pulling you down. Eject that old DVD, throw it away and insert a new, better, more hopeful one instead.

So, instead of dwelling on dark, negative thoughts, consciously build and focus on positive, light and colorful images, thoughts and situations in your mind a few times a day.

If you are persistent and keep on working on yourself, your mind will automatically reject its negative thoughts and welcome the positive ones.

And remember: You are (or will become) what you think you are. This is reason enough to be proactive about whatever is going on in your head.

Featured photo credit: Kyaw Tun via unsplash.com

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