There are a lot of things that can disrupt sleep. Stress is a good example. You don’t have to suffer and you may not need drugs to resolve the problem. Here are a few things to try.
Retrain your body: When we were kids we had a set bedtime. There were little rituals that our parents had us perform. Unless there were other factors involved, most of us had little trouble sleeping. Now we are the adults; we decide when bedtime is. We also have more responsibilities which sometimes keep us up late. We have to retrain our bodies.
Step One: Take a good look/listen in your bedroom. Are there sources of light? There’s that digital alarm clock with its red light. There’s the DVD player and its little light. If you keep your cell phone in your room it may also have a light. Then there are windows. Unless they are adequately covered light pollution from outside will come inside.
Now for listening. Unless you are taking care of a child or an invalid, lack of sound is important. The noise of traffic going by, music down the street or someone else in the home listening or watching something can make sleep difficult. You don’t have to totally soundproof your room but cutting down on the noise factor will help.
Step Two: Just like when you were a child, little rituals will help you change from fully awake mode to a ready to sleep one. If you need to, go back to the childhood rituals. For me, that was brushing my teeth, saying my prayers and kissing my parents good night. The latter may need to be changed to spouse, but it still performs the same function.
Step Three: Your bedroom should be for one purpose. Sleep. Watching television or reading in bed will negate all the gains from step two. In fact, it will probably bring the light pollution down if there was no television, etc. in your room.
Step Four: If you’ve lain in bed for twenty minutes and you feel no more ready to fall asleep than you did when you went to bed, get up. Do something else for an hour or so and then try again. Tossing and turning does no good. In fact, becoming anxious because you’re not already asleep could prevent you from ever getting to sleep.
There are times when medical help is needed. Insomnia is hard on the body and it does have to be dealt with. If these steps don’t work after a few days, make an appointment with your doctor and discuss what you’ve tried. There may be other tricks or you may need medication. You don’t have to go without a good night’s sleep.