11 Tips to Help You Deal With Insomnia

What’s keeping you up at night? Insomnia is a broad term that can refer to several different sleep disorders with many different causes.

The symptoms can include struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep. You may also feel tired and irritable throughout the day and have trouble thinking clearly.

It’s important to understand the reason behind your insomnia, so you can figure out what to do about it. It may be tied to your lifestyle or to underlying health conditions. In some cases, insomnia may linger after other medical issues have been resolved, unless you change your habits too.

Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, but it can often be overcome with simple remedies. Try these strategies to help you enjoy more restful sleep.

Lifestyle Changes for Dealing with Insomnia

Your sleep habits and other daily activities could be undermining the quantity and quality of your sleep. Small changes could make a big difference.

Try these tips:

1. Learn to relax. Daily stress and disturbing thoughts can interfere with sleep. Find relaxation practices that work for you, such as listening to music or practicing deep breathing exercises.

2. Block out noise. Play a recording of pink noise or rainfall to drown out traffic noises or lively neighbors. Hanging blackout curtains may help too if you need to darken your bedroom at night.

3. Limit alcohol and caffeine. Take days off from drinking liquor and finish your last cup of coffee before 2 pm. Check labels for caffeine in other products like chocolate and carbonated beverages.

4. Eat light. It’s more difficult to fall asleep when your body is digesting a heavy meal. Eat dinner earlier and avoid late night snacks.

5. Exercise regularly. Design a workout program and stick to it. A survey by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that adults who are physically active are one third less likely to report sleep problems and half as likely to report daytime tiredness.

6. Create bedtime rituals. Prepare yourself to fall asleep faster. Take a warm bath, read a book, or engage in quiet hobbies.

Medical Treatments and Alternative Therapies for Dealing with Insomnia

About 30% of adults experience insomnia occasionally, while another 10% have chronic conditions that can last for several months or more, according to the American Sleep Association. If insomnia is disrupting your life, your doctor may be able to help.

These strategies can help:

1. Get examined. A physical examination can help you receive appropriate treatment as soon as possible. Use a sleep journal to track your symptoms and write down questions you want to share with your doctor.

2. Go for counseling. Depression and anxiety can contribute to insomnia. Your doctor may refer you to a specialist for cognitive behavioral therapy, which can sometimes produce dramatic results in a short time.

3. Consider medications. Talk with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter sleep products. Proper supervision can help you minimize side effects and avoid taking any drug for longer than recommended.

4. Relieve pain. Physical discomfort makes it difficult to sleep, and lack of sleep can make you more sensitive to pain. Ask your doctor if physical therapy might help with your symptoms.

5. Use herbs. Research shows mixed results, but many adults swear by chamomile tea or valerian root supplements. Let your doctor know about any herbal remedies you want to try, so they can advise you on their safety and coordinate your treatment.

Give your mind and body the sleep you need to stay happy and healthy. Many cases of insomnia can be corrected with home remedies that require little time or expense, and your doctor can advise you if you need further assistance.

Decrease Your Mental Chatter and Find Greater Peace

Have you ever felt frustrated with the amount of thoughts that your mind is throwing at you, especially when you’re already feeling stressed or overwhelmed? It’s like an unruly roommate that you can’t get rid of. The noise never seems to stop.

This can be distracting at best. At worst, it can undermine your confidence and optimism.

While it isn’t possible to stop your mental chatter completely, there is plenty that you can do to tame it.

Keep these techniques in mind when you need an escape from your mental chatter:

1. Try using 5-4-3-2-1. When the noise in your head won’t seem to stop, try 5-4-3-2-1. This little exercise will get you out of your head and focused on your environment.

Look around your environment and describe five things you see. For example: “I see a pair of shoes. They are made of brown leather, have a low heel, and rubber soles. They look old.” It’s easy to find five things you see, but the remainder of the exercise is a little more challenging.

Describe four things you hear. “In the distance, I can hear car horns honking.” Really focus your attention on the noises you can hear and fully experience them.

Describe three things you feel. It could be the cool breeze blowing over your skin, the firm chair underneath you, or the pain in your elbow.

Describe two things you smell. You might have to really concentrate to come up with two.

Tell yourself one thing you like about yourself. By the time you’ve finished all five parts of this exercise, your focus will be in the present instead of on the noise in your head.

2. Avoid engaging with your mental chatter. Your brain is going to make noise. There’s no way to stop it completely. The key is to ignore it. View the chatter in your head as nonsense and let it go.

3. Learn to meditate. Meditation creates a lot of opportunities for dealing with mental noise, because there’s nothing to distract you from it. Learn how to meditate and spend some time each day meditating to calm your mind.

4. Write it out. Set aside time each day to write down the things you’re randomly thinking. It’s very cathartic and really works if you give it a chance. After 10-20 minutes, take the paper you’ve been writing on and destroy it.

5. Use affirmations. Affirmations can improve your life. They also crowd out the noise. When the noise starts, use an affirmation to keep your mind occupied on thoughts that you want.

● Have a list of affirmations ready to go. Pick one and use it when necessary.

6. Use a mantra. Using a mantra is the same idea as using an affirmation. Your mantra could just be a meaningless sound or something more significant. Drown out the noise!

7. Focus on your breathing. Put your attention on your breathing. This is convenient, because it’s always available to you.

8. Listen to music. Playing music in the background while you work can help to keep in the internal voices at bay. Be careful that you don’t listen to something so distracting that you can’t concentrate on whatever it is that you’re doing. This might take some experimentation and practice.

Your brain creates thoughts. That’s what it’s designed to do. But there are solutions you can employ to reduce the noise. Attempting to eliminate your internal voice is a waste of time, but you can greatly reduce the noise and avoid engaging with it.

Just because your permanent roommate decides to speak doesn’t mean you have to listen! Practice these methods to reduce or prevent an overabundance of thoughts that you don’t want.

7 Concentration Exercises That Will Train Your Mind

If your concentration skills are lacking, it’s not your fault. No one ever taught you how to concentrate and focus. In fact, most of us are experts at distracting ourselves.

You’re probably pretty good at finding something to keep yourself busy. However, that something probably isn’t very productive. It’s just comfortable or entertaining.

Do you want to be successful or comfortable?

The world we live in is full of distractions. It’s never been more challenging to concentrate than it is right now. If you’re struggling to keep your attention on what matters, you’re not alone.

However, you can greatly strengthen this important skill and enhance your life as a result.

Start Slowly

If you’d like to increase your attention span, it’s more effective to start by doing it little by little, especially at first. You wouldn’t try to jog for 20 miles the first time you went running or try to bench press 300 pounds the first time you went to the gym. You’d start at an appropriate level and move forward from that point.

The same goes for training your mind.

See how long you can concentrate on a task before your mind wanders. Is it a minute? Five minutes? Start where you are and move forward from there.

Slow progress is okay. It will pick up. Take your time.

Use these exercises to train your mind to develop greater focus:

1. Be mindful. The best way to increase your concentration is to practice concentrating. Instead of driving to work and daydreaming about work, your finances, or your spouse, put your attention on the road. Keep your attention on whatever it is you’re doing throughout the day.

2. Practice listening. When someone speaks to you, you’re most likely thinking about what you want to say or thinking about something else other than the conversation. Practice putting all of your attention on the other person during a conversation.

3. Sit still. Take a chair and position it so that you’re facing the wall. See how long you can sit in the chair without moving or looking away from the wall. You’ll notice little aches, pains, and itches crop up after a few minutes. Ignore them. They will move to a different part of the body soon enough. How long can you last?

4. Follow the second hand of an analog clock. Watch the second hand of a clock go around and around. How long can you watch the clock without thinking about something else? When your mind wanders, bring it back to the clock. Is it boring? Of course. That’s what makes it challenging.

5. Count backward from 100. Count backwards by ones. Then try sevens, or any other number that appeals to you. How far can you get before your mind drifts away? You might strengthen your math skills, too.

6. Focus on your breathing. Put your focus on your breath and keep it there. See how many breaths or minutes you can maintain your awareness on your breathing before you catch yourself thinking about something else.

7. Listen to instrumental music and try to keep your attention on the music. It’s harder than you think! Without lyrics to help keep your brain engaged, your mind will start daydreaming very quickly.

Very few people can concentrate well. You have a huge advantage if you can develop this important skill. Being able to concentrate well is a superpower when everyone lives in an age of distraction.

Concentration requires practice. If you’re willing to do the work, this power can be yours.

Create One Great Habit a Month and Have a Great Year

You don’t need to have 100 good habits to make your life better. Just 12 habits are plenty to completely turn your life around.

Of course, it’s important to choose effective habits. The right habits put your success on autopilot. If you’re doing the right things each day, good things happen. It’s as certain as gravity.

Use this process to enhance your life one habit at a time:

1. Know your goals. You can’t choose the best habits to add to your life without knowing your goals. The best habits support your goals and make them much more likely to come to fruition. Make a list of your goals and prioritize them.

2. Make a list of all the habits that would aid in reaching those goals. Take a look at your most important goals and consider all of the habits that would help you to reach those goals. List every possible habit you can think of no matter how small it might be. We’re not judging them yet, so list them all.

3. Prioritize those habits. Some habits are far more effective than others. Take your list of habits and put them in order from most effective to least. Take as much time to do this as you need. Be honest with yourself. The most effective actions are often the least enjoyable.

● Choose the 12 habits that will make the biggest impact in your life over the next year. Make sure that you have these 12 habits in a logical order that makes sense for you.

4. Make a plan. Start with the first habit and develop a plan for how you can implement it in 30 days. Let’s suppose that your first goal is to go to the gym each day for 45 minutes and alternate days between cardio and lifting weights. You might decide to proceed this way:

● Day 1. Find a gym close to the house that is convenient for me and affordable.

● Days 2-7. Go to the gym for at least 15 minutes. I’ll let myself do whatever I want when I get there.

● Days 8-14. Go to the gym for at least 25 mins. At least half of that time must be spent on cardio.

● And so on. Just be sure to be at full speed by day 30.

5. Start with only one goal. Keep it to one goal. It might seem more effective and much faster to put all the habits into action at once, but it works better, and the results are more long-lasting to do it one at a time. Twelve good habits over a year are life changing.

6. Put all of your energy and focus on that one goal. That one goal has to be a huge priority. This is your life you’re talking about. Be 100% determined to be successful this time.

7. Do it daily. Daily actions are easier to turn into habits that things you only do a few times a week.

8. Plan your energy. People often plan their time without considering their energy levels. For example, going to the gym in the morning is either much better or worse than going to the gym in the evening for you. Everyone is different.

● Plan your time, but plan around your energy.

9. Keep your eye on the big picture. These habits might not be enjoyable in the short term. However, if you keep your attention on the benefits you’ll gain, it will make things easier.

10. Track your results. Track your results. You might be tracking pounds of body weight, dollars, pushups, or hours of piano practice. Tracking your results is motivating.

After 30 days, add another habit. Keep going until you’ve added all 12. Just 12 habits will make a huge difference. 

Instead of trying to change everything about your life at once, try tackling life one habit at a time. Which habit will you choose?