SOMNAS Insomnia Action Plan: 6 Tips to Naturally Sleep Better
Table of Contents
Having an Insomnia Action Plan gives you a sense of control
- 2 hr rule : Carve out at least 60-120 min minutes of wind-down time before bed in which you follow sleep relaxation techniques, such as meditation or breathing exercise. Dim the lights in the house slightly for an hour or so before bed.
- 8 hr Bed time : Set your preferred / current wake up time and clock back 8 hrs to set your bedtime and sleep cycle. If you normally wake up at 7 am , keep that time and alarm clock back 8 hrs for bedtime which is 11pm , i.e. bedtime will be 11pm -7am. Set your alarm clock if you need to wake up at 7 am sharp.
- 30 min rule : If you have trouble falling asleep after 30 minutes, get up and return to another space in the house to do a relaxing activity, such as reading or listening to music. Lying in bed awake can create an unhealthy link between your sleeping environment and wakefulness. Instead, you want your bed to conjure sleepy thoughts and feelings only.
- Sunlight exposure: Expose yourself to direct sunlight while doing some exercise like walking or jogging for 30 min. Sunlight helps with daytime alertness , particularly for elderly patients.
- No naps or dozing off during daytime
- Meditation / Yoga : Please practice meditation and / or yoga for 15-30 min at least 5 days per week. You can download apps like CALM or BREATHE or search YouTube for a preferred channel for meditation or yoga. You can use sleep meditation techniques when you have trouble sleeping at nights.
Additional tips to sleep better :
- No computer desktop use 2 hrs prior to bedtime
- Disconnect from close-range electronic devices such as laptops, phones, and tablets, as the light from their screens can alert the brain and make it hard to fall asleep. If you must use any such device , use night shift mode and keep display brightness very low.
- In order to calm your mind, do a breathing or sleep relaxation exercise. May use the technique used during meditation / yoga.
- Wake up at the same time every day. Even if you have a hard time falling asleep and feel tired in the morning, try to get up at the same time (weekends included). This can help adjust your body’s clock and aid in falling asleep at night.
- Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening, and alcohol close to bedtime. These can promote wake ups during the night.
- Make sure your sleep environment is quiet and dark throughout the night. Use darkening shades to block streetlights and early morning light, and a fan or noise machine to block sounds.
- Exercise regularly. However, avoid exercising within three or four hours before you go to bed.
- Try eating a light snack before bedtime, such as crackers and milk. It is bad to eat heavy meals close to bedtime (2 hrs).
- Many people find it hard to “turn off their mind” at bedtime. If this happens to you, gently remind yourself that you can think about these things tomorrow. Then set the thoughts aside. You may have to try this several times before your mind quiets down.
- If you wake up in the middle of the night, avoid any negative thoughts such as getting angry , frustrated with yourself or anxious about having a bad day next morning. Rather , think positively and use this as an opportunity to do any relaxing activity like reading , praying and listening to music etc.
QUESTIONS ABOUT A SLEEP ISSUE? LET’S TALK.
Imtiaz Ahmad, MD, MPH, FCCP
Dr. Imtiaz Ahmad is a highly qualified physician, Board Certified in Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine. He has been actively serving the community of Lee County, Florida since 2004, with a strong focus on a proactive healthcare approach. Dr. Ahmad has received advanced training from some of the most prestigious institutions, including Harvard University, Cornell University, State University of New York at Brooklyn, and the University of Mississippi. SOMNAS is a medical facility that is committed to improving and maintaining the health of patients with sleep disorders. The expert team at SOMNAS is known for their compassionate and high-quality care. They offer unparalleled treatment and care to patients on the Gulf Coast of Florida, ensuring a better and healthier life for them.
Job Title: Board Certified in Pulmonary Medicine