A restless night here and there we’ll excuse but every night? Although many are affected by insomnia, the bad news is, well…it’s bad for you. If it’s affected you for more than six years (chronic) You’re open to diabetes, dementia, obesity, heart disease, cancer and after the age of forty, it basically raises your risk of death by 58 per cent. The sleep and depression Laboratory in Toronto, fortunately, have a few tricks up their sleeve to get that biologically determined and environmentally sensitive internal clock in order:
ALARM CLOCK INSOMNIAC: If a typical
night for you is starting off with the decision to turn in but not before you get lost on social media or watch just one (read three) more episodes of your favourite TV series, it’s understandable that your day begins with several attacks on the snooze button. The light from whatever distracting
apparatus you’re engaged with is telling your body that you’re not ready to sleep. The next thing you know, you’re staring up at the crack in your ceiling wondering where the sleep went and pleading with it to take you back. You must go to bed alone. No phone, TV, laptop, kindle or [insert new-
fangled gadget]. Disconnect for your own sake.
CAFFEINE CRAVING INSOMNIAC: You may
use caffeine to reduce the sluggish feeling at 10 am but it also blocks the chemicals required for your sleep drive that is also affected by how active you are during the day. Say you’re tired the whole day so you don’t move as much so by the time you crawl into your sheets, you’re suddenly
wide awake. The trick is, therefore, to get more active, at least for 16 to 18 hours, whether it’s deliberate gym time or sneaking in a squat and burpees session in between meetings. More activity means sleep that reduces your caffeine dependency, turning you into those annoying morning people you complain so much about.
CONDITIONED AROUSAL INSOMNIAC:
Because the bed becomes a place where you spend hours trying to fall asleep, your body gets used to being wide awake once it gets a feel of the bed. The remedy seems to be to power down slowly. An hour before bed, nothing goal-oriented or busy should be touched, even with a 10-foot pole. That means wrapping up all business at least two hours before your scheduled bedtime. If that doesn’t work and your brain is still buzzing, get up and move about until you’re tired again. Try some meditation and mindfulness. Soon, your body will start recognising the bed as a resting haven.