Things you can do at home to help with sleep problems:
1.) Adopt a bedtime routine, and stick to it! Sometimes, solving your sleep problems can be as simple as resetting your internal clock. Doctors have found that patients who stick to a strict bedtime regimen, usually regain normal sleep habits without medication. Be sure to allow 6-8 hours of sleep within this schedule, and most importantly - don’t stray on the weekends! Regularity is the rule.
2.) Keep distractions out of the bedroom. Enforce the rule in your bedroom, that the bed is only for sleep and intimacy. Anything else should be eliminated, in order to set your routine and train your brain to associate your bed with sleep only. Watching TV, reading, eating and playing with your pets in bed will only interfere with your sleep even more.
3.) Do not consume caffeine three hours before bedtime. Not only do caffeinated liquids keep you up and about during the night with potty breaks, caffeine stimulates can interfere with your sleeping habits. Substances such as sugar, alcohol and caffeine all have a stimulating effect and will most certainly interfere with your sleep schedule.
4.) Create a soothing night time environment. Creating a relaxing environment in the bedroom can be a powerful way to beat sleep problems, like difficulty occasionally falling asleep, and other sleep disorders. In the perfect sleep inducing room, the space should be free of TVs, noise and distraction – yes, this even means Miss Kitty should be kicked out of your room at night. Light should also be regulated, which can easily be done with heavy drapery on the windows. Colors can also induce a relaxed state and can be introduced into your bedroom cheaply with a fresh coat of paint, accent pillows or blankets. Stick to cool shades of blue, green, and the neutrals white, gray, and silver. Scent can also be helpful, just be sure not to go overboard. Mist your linens or carpets with some lavender or chamomile room spray; Febreze even carries a lavender scent that is light enough to do the trick.
5.) Support, support, support! The inability to sleep or stay asleep can have a detrimental effect on life quality and wellness. If you are having occasional sleeplessness, it is important that a level of support and understanding is present in your personal relationships. Let the people in your life know about what you are going through with sleep problems, and engage them in learning about your treatment plan and how they could possibly contribute. Try talking with others about how the condition is affecting you and what frustrations you may be dealing with. Oftentimes sleep problems are caused by stress or anxiety over issues at work or at home – initiate an open dialogue with others on these issues, as it may help you to work things out with people who care. You should also exert a great deal of patience throughout this process – although sleepless nights may be affecting you emotionally, anger or frustration will only exacerbate your sleep situation. Sleep Problems are not something that can be controlled, and patience and the support of your loved ones is crucial.
6.) Sleep Problems and relationships. For a person suffering from sleep problems, bed time can be stressful. Not only is there anxiety in facing yet another long sleepless night, there is also worry in trying not to disturb your significant other. Bedtime can also be stressful for the partner that is not experiencing sleep problems. They may internalize the cause of the sleep problems, believing that any movement or sound on their part may be causing more suffering for their ailing significant other. All in all, bed time in an sleep problem-ridden relationship is stressful. In order to eliminate this stress, you may want to consider sleeping in separate bedrooms temporarily, or at least until the treatment process has begun for the one experiencing sleep problems. This will allow both parties to be relieved of guilt in keeping the other awake, and can allow for some peaceful awake time for the one experiencing sleep problems, if needed.
7.) Moderate exercise. According to a study performed by the Federal University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, a session of moderate aerobic exercise (not heavy aerobic or moderate strength exercises) can reduce the anxiety state and improve the sleep quality of patients experiencing sleep problems. The researchers say, “These findings indicate that there is a way to diminish the symptoms of sleep problems, like occasionally having trouble sleeping, without using medication. This study is the first to look at the importance of using physical exercise to combat temporary sleep loss, and may contribute to increased quality of life in people with one of the most important kind of sleep disorders around the world." Though moderate exercise may help with sleep problems, it is important not to exercise 3 hours before bedtime, as this induces a hyper aroused state and thus producing a counter-active effect to the sleep benefits exercise can have.