1. Strict sleep scheduleMaintaining a sleep schedule helps. Going to sleep at night and waking up early in the morning at the same time every day helps in adapting the routine and also in regulating the circadian rhythm of the body. To practice this schedule following things can be helpful.
Keep a diary Note down the time and duration of sleep which can help in understanding the sleep pattern, habits and keeping a track of it. Avoid the afternoon naps Naps break the sleep schedule and makes it hard to sleep in the evenings. A nap of 15 minutes can be recommended, anything more than that will make it harder.
2. No Coffee/ Tea/ Cola As these contain caffeine, a stimulant, which prevents the body to go into sleep, should be avoided. It takes long time to get eliminated from the body so do not take it after 4 or 5 pm at the latest.
3. Stay away from electronics Avoid using smart phones, television or the video games on your bed. Stop that last scroll of your Facebook feed or last episode or last game. Electronic devices are the major concern for insomnia lately.
4. Avoid smoking Nicotine is a stimulant and it interferes with the quality of sleep. So try to quit smoking or at least avoid it in the evenings.
5. Stop stressing out The main reason for not getting sleep is the stress. Try to avoid thinking when in bed or practice some relaxing techniques. Meditation Practice meditation every day before bed, as it frees your mind from thoughts and gives you a good night sleep Yoga is another way for relaxing your mind and body.
6. Read a book When you don’t get a sleep, get up and start reading a book. It is preferable to read books on spirituality. You should get sleep after some time.
7. Music Soft music or white noise helps in inducing sleep by relieving the mind from stress
8. Keep your room calm and cool Adjust your room to your comfort by maintaining the temperature according to your body needs or preferably between 68 to 72 degrees. Avoid loud noises and light into your room. Ear plugs, sleep masks, eye shades or curtains can be helpful in this regard. Change the mattress, pillow or room if necessary.
Breathing technique: Taking slow and deep breaths really helps you feel relaxed and make you sleepy, especially when you practice consistently while lying in the bed with your eyes closed.
Pranayama: In Sanskrit, ‘prana’ means oxygen. This simple but potent technique may be very helpful to make you fall asleep. Take a deep inhalation on a count of 4. Hold your breath on a count 4. Exhale slowly on a count of 6. 4-4-6 is the pattern to inhale, hold and exhale breath. This technique is immensely potent and provides sedation equivalent to a sleeping pill.
Please follow these instructions –
Relax your body first. You can probably take some slow deep breaths in and out. Or you can give self-instructions to relax yourself. Or you can imagine that you are on a beach with pleasant breeze gently touching your face.
Once you feel relaxed, you can start using 4-4-6 pattern of breathing. Initially, you can start with 3-3-4 pattern as you may not be able to sustain for 4 counts. Once you get used to the technique, you can stretch your breathing to 4-4-6 pattern.
Sometimes, it may be difficult to count at regular intervals. If you have a clock with ticking seconds, it may be helpful to count.
Be aware of your breath while it travels all the way from your nostrils, into your lungs and from your lungs back through your nostrils out. Self-awareness makes your mind more relaxed.
10. Warm shower before bed. Taking a warm shower before bed acts like a sedative. It makes your mind calm and relaxed. It helps with ‘shower mindfulness’.
11. Aromatherapy. Sleep inducing agents like Lavender, Chamomile can be used as a spray or an oil massage or during a bath.
12. Avoid excessive alcohol. Drinking excessive alcohol may make you sleepy that night but it interferes with your natural sleep over a long run. Drinking a glass of wine is probably fine but consuming a quart of hard liquor is not helpful.
13. Glass of milk before bed. Drink a glass of milk and you can also add a pinch of turmeric powder to it.
14. Talk to your doctor if you still have trouble sleeping. Long term insomnia can affect the normal functioning of the body so try to reach out to a doctor and discuss your problems.
Check on your medication: Beta blockers like Metoprolol and Coreg, anti-depressants like Prozac and other medications can interfere with sleep and cause insomnia. Please make sure to discuss with your doctor.