Insomnia – Problems sleeping at night?
If so, you are one of many people for whom insomnia appears to be a growing problem. Not getting regular, sufficient and good quality sleep can have a detrimental effect on your life. From lowered immune system, reduced ability to memorise and recall through to irritability, exhaustion and anxiety.
Taking into account the 888 rule for a balanced life; 8 hours work, 8 hours activity and 8 hours sleep. It is often sleep that gets neglected and is less valued that the other two elements.
A lack of sleep is often influenced by our life style and technology as this disrupts natural rhythms. Technology tends to make us too available, over stimulated and maintain artificial behaviours.
This is because technology has outstripped our physiology. We seek to do things and have access to information faster, to be on the go longer. Extended stimulation, compulsive checking and isolation from direct human contact can all have an impact on insomnia.
Create A New Routine
Here are some ideas on how you might combat the impact of technology on sleep.
- Leave work at work, don’t pick up casual email after you finish. You are not necessarily being more productive because you take work home. Being always available online isn’t a good work life balance. What tends to happen is it is just expected of you and you expect it of yourself too.
- If you work from home, try to do so from a separate work area. Have a cut off point. Think about wearing ‘work clothes; and then changing into casual clothing when finished.
- Aim at least once a week to get out the house in the evening at least once a week. Take up a pastime, hobby or interest. This could range from a pub quiz, night school, joining a club a gym. Anything that takes you away from technology and toward a social environment.
- Consider not just watching TV in the late evening especially an hour or even 30 minutes ust before bed as it maintains stimulation rather than easing into a period of calm. It is too easy to stay up too late to watch an interesting programme you can’t remember the next day.
- Try instead to establish a routine. So if you have to get up at 6.00am the next day, go to bed at 10.00am. Aim to get 8 hours sleep so you start your preparations to go to bed at 9.30 or 9.45pm.
- Instead of watching TV then talk, read, listen to music. Establish a winding down routine.
- Stop checking your smart phone every few minutes. You might want to think about deleting your Facebook account if you can’t stop yourself.
- Buy an alarm clock, don’t rely on your smart phone. Having your smart phone in the bedroom probably means it is the last thing you check before switching off the light.
- If you have an established routine, you often don’t need an alarm clock as you will often wake up just before the alarm goes off.
It can take a few weeks for a new routine to become habit and for the body’s natural sleep rhythm to be established. The key is to be persistent and focus on supporting your own endeavours for self-care to overcome insomnia.