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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 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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