According to a Health Canada study, approximately a third of Canadians have sleep problems, at least occasionally, either in terms of number of hours of sleep, or in the ability to fall or stay asleep.
In addition to the negative impact they can have on our quality of life, sleep disorders have a very real impact on our health. For example, it has been shown that people with insomnia are at greater risk for diabetes, obesity, depression and cardiovascular disease.
If you suffer from occasional or regular insomnia, here are some tips to help you sleep better.
Establish a bedtime routine. It doesn’t matter if we’re five or fifty-five; everyone should have a bedtime routine, because it gets our brain ready to sleep. At least an hour before bed, reduce your activity level and enter “rest mode” by reading, listening to music, taking a bath or shower, etc. It’s especially important to turn off all electronic screens, namely televisions, tablets and smartphones, even if you are using reduced brightness. The light intensity is not the only problem; these devices also require a level of alertness from your brain that can prevent it from achieving sleep mode.
Take note of your worries, uncertainties and concerns, and set them aside for the night. This isn’t always easy, but it can be done! Sometimes, taking a moment to write down your worries can help you disconnect afterwards.
Try some reverse psychology on your brain. People with insomnia sometimes condition themselves not to sleep. If your first thought when you get into bed is that you won’t be able to sleep, chances are you will be proven right. Instead of telling yourself you won’t sleep, try instead to… not fall asleep. The goal is to change your focus when you are about to fall asleep. Instead of anticipating that you will be tired the next day, think about the benefits of a great night’s sleep. The idea is to reprogram your brain to think positively at bedtime. If you need help, don’t hesitate to do some research online, there are many programs and apps that use this approach. Psychologists are also a good resource when we suffer from sleep disorders, so don’t hesitate to seek their help.