I am sure that most of us have experienced a sleepless night. With problems falling to sleep however, there are so many factors that contribute to this frustrating condition that it helps to ask a series of questions to pinpoint a cause, ruling out more serious sleep disorders. With today's multi-tasking lifestyles it is difficult to immediately transition to sleep mode at bedtime, leaving behind those lingering worries and responsibilities.
It is helpful to designate a wind-down time in the evening - sort of a pre-sleep relaxation-fest. Even if one feels exhausted, sleep can still elude. Each of us have our favorite activities and routines at night but if an inability to go to sleep is creating anxiety and fatigue the following day then perhaps it is time to rearrange the evening's events. Some sleep stoppers seem so obvious, like drinking coffee after dinner but for a crystal clear picture of potential problems, write down or document everything that occurs after dinner and before you lay that head in bed. After a few weeks of keeping a pre-bedtime journal it is likely that a pattern will emerge, hopefully highlighting the culprit or at least a few problem areas to focus on. If not, don't despair, here are a few things that are commonly suggested to enhance sleep:
Avoid any stimulating activities right before bed, like action-filled movies or games, loud music, work-related discussions, computers, etc.
Instead, focus on things that relax and calm, like reading, listening to soothing sounds, meditation and relaxation exercises, aromatherapy, massage....
Your bed should be in a well-ventilated, dark, quiet location.
Going to bed at the same time and getting up at the same time each day is also helpful. It will become routine and your body will respond.
Don't hit the hay hungry but if you go to bed directly following a meal or snack, your body will continue to digest the food during the night instead of obtaining that essential REM sleep. Again, try to eat your last meal at the same time each evening, preferably a few hours before bedtime. Light snacks are preferable, like herb (chamomile) tea or foods with tryptophan.
Daily exercise is a good way to alleviate the stress that eventually prevents one from falling into a healthy restorative night of sleep.
These are just a few of the many things that can make falling to sleep more likely. As with any challenge in life, start with the solutions that are the easiest to accomplish first. Sweet Dreams