Few things are as disruptive as a failure to sleep well. However, what to do if you’re suffering from insomnia isn’t always a mystery. Instead, sleep is an essential function, and often a lack of sleep is traced to factors under our control. While it’s not always the case, making healthier choices can vastly improve sleep habits.
Create and Stick to a Sleep Schedule
The first step to getting to sleep is to create a schedule. While it may seem annoying to have a strict bedtime as an adult, everyone should have one. Like any other creature, we have internal clocks that determine our daily time cycle.
Despite lifestyle choices, humans aren’t nocturnal. Staying up late often or several nights a week can severely throw off your body’s need for a routine. Instead, train your body to sleep simultaneously by always going to bed—and turning everything off—at the same time.
Talk to Your Doctor About Medication
For many, what to do if you’re suffering from insomnia is to go straight to professional help. Several effective medications exist to help build a sleep habit when going to bed on time isn’t enough.
It’s crucial to understand that taking these medicines doesn’t equate to a cure, and many doctors prescribe insomnia medications for only a brief period due to their addictive properties. Ambien, for example, is highly addictive, so you may find yourself having to treat this addiction on top of your insomnia. It’s important to respect the nature of the drug and follow your doctor’s instructions with great care.
Reduce or Eliminate Unhealthy Chemical Use
Finally, several everyday habits impact sleep more than we may realize. The reason for this is that common chemicals like caffeine are effective stimulants, even in small doses. Others are concoctions of chemicals with a wide array of subtle effects, such as cigarettes. Lastly, many directly impact how we sleep, yet few people realize it. For instance, alcohol interrupts the body’s ability to enter REM sleep and tends to result in the sense of exhaustion the following day. As such, it’s helpful to manage one’s habits and avoid certain items too close to bedtime.