Sleep problems are one of the most common health problems in Western countries. In addition, their harmful effects are as varied as they are serious, if they are not treated as quickly as possible.
For example, for most people, spending a few days sleeping less than six hours in a row results in a significant decrease in our ability to concentrate and our purpose throughout the day (although, luckily, they do. return to normal by counting again). With a good quality of sleep), and if the situation continues and persists in the medium term, the chances of developing psychological and psychiatric diseases increase significantly.
For that, not sleeping well is more than a source of discomfort and subjective discomfort: It also translates into poorer health and less ability to adapt to life’s challenges. And in this sense, it is very important to understand these kind of problems to know how to properly solve them.
Common causes of inability to sleep well
These are some of the most common causes of sleep problems; in the vast majority of cases, several of them occur simultaneously.
- Poor time management to fulfill responsibilities
- Bad or changing hours
- Genetic predispositions to the development of anxiety problems
- Health problems alongside difficulty sleeping
- Poor management of intrusive thoughts and psychological rumination
- Habits that lead to staying in a high activated state until shortly before bedtime
- Routines that lead to a lot of delay in turning off the light and trying to sleep
- The bedroom is a hard place to fall asleep
- Medication side effects
What to do about this problem?
Each case of insomnia should be considered individuallyThus, the most effective solution (and the only possible one, in cases where quality of life is sustainably compromised over time) is to undergo therapy. During the consultation of the psychologist, it is possible to obtain the tools of emotional management and the adoption of the necessary habits to overcome the problems of sleep, starting from the peculiarities of the person.
In this spirit too there are a few guidelines to follow that can be helpful in getting back a good night’s sleep in a few days. We will see them below as general tips to promote deep, quality sleep.
1. Make sure that if you are having trouble sleeping, it is not out of discomfort
ALGO as easy as being cold or warm in bed can be one of the biggest obstacles to sleeping well. Therefore, it is worth checking the bedroom you usually use, looking for possible sources of discomfort: do you usually remove all things from the mattress to sleep? Are you exposed to noise from another room or your own?
Sometimes we don’t see the problem just because we’ve gotten so used to it that we don’t even notice it exists.
2. Make your last hours of free waking time
If you spend the last hours of your day taking care of your work or household chores in the medium term, you will generate a predisposition to keep thinking about your obligations when you go to bed or even worse, you will run the risk of your work piling up and you have to leave it for the next day. Ideally, you can disconnect during the moments before you try to fall asleep, to avoid psychological rumination when you turn off the light and are alone with your thoughts.
3. Practice the exercise, but do it in the morning or at noon
You should avoid playing sports or exercising in general for a few hours before going to bed; otherwise, you will change your body clockMake it start functioning as if those muscle-building sessions are the time of day you need to be most active.
However, exercise well used is not only a barrier to good sleep, it will help. The best thing you can do is incorporate it into your weekly routines with 60-35 minutes of aerobic exercise every two or three days, always taking into account your physical condition (and any injuries you may have. might have). It’s not just limited to running, you can also use a stationary bike, elliptical trainer, go for a swim, etc.
The important thing is to use the large muscle groups in your body (at least those in your legs) and to focus more on endurance than explosive strength. In other words, you are more interested in doing long sessions than a few movements in which you do a lot of strength.
Aerobic exercise has been shown to be effective in combating anxietyBoth for the changes in the production of hormones in your body, and for its ability to “disconnect” us from what worries us by providing us with short-term incentives focused on the present moment. In other words, it allows us to reset our mind.
4. Eat well, especially in the first half of the day
If your body has all the macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals it needs, you’ll be less likely to run out of energy to reach your goals and develop stress or anxiety. Of course be careful to prepare large meals just before bedtime; If you are having trouble with digestion, it will also cost you to fall asleep and you may wake up more during the night.
5. If you spend too much time trying to sleep, get out of bed for a few minutes.
If you see that it costs you a lot to fall asleep, surely this will compensate you for getting out of bed and spending about 15 or 20 minutes “disconnecting” perform an activity that does not require too much psychological or physical effort: for example, reading a light novel, practicing mindfulness, etc. Avoid looking at a screen or any other light source, of course. Lugo, go back to bed.
If you are looking for psychological assistance, please contact me
If you are looking for psychotherapeutic help to deal with anxiety, contact me; I am a psychologist with many years of experience in dealing with anxiety and sleep problems. I am currently running sessions in person (in Almeria) and online.
- American Psychiatric Association -APA- (2014). DSM-5. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Madrid: Panamericana.
- River, I and (2006). Stress and sleep. Mexican Journal of Neuroscience, 7 (1): 15 – 20.
- World Health Organization. CIE 10. (1992). Tenth revision of the international classification of diseases. Mental and behavioral disorders: clinical descriptions and diagnostic guidelines. Madrid: Meditor.
- Reis, BM; Velázquez-Panigua, M. and Prieto-Gómez, B. (2009). Melatonin and neuropathologies. Journal of the UNAM Faculty of Medicine, 52 (3). Center for Genomic Sciences. Faculty of Medicine, UNAM.
- Valdés, M., De Flores, T. (1985). Psychobiology of stress. Barcelona: Martínez Roca.