Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders with the greatest consequences on one’s social life and health.
A lack of sleep is almost always related to daytime fatigue or to changes to one’s mood. Its effects can range from experiencing an inability to concentrate and feeling tired the day after not sleeping, to depression or to other conditions when the problem is ongoing.
The Clinical Practice Guide for Treating Patients with Insomnia in Primary Health Care, issued by the Healthcare and Social Policy Ministry of Spain, indicates practices that are fundamental for achieving good sleep hygiene, which when they become habitual, can ensure a good night’s sleep:
- Go to bed only when you are tired, but try to maintain a regular schedule. This helps get your body used to a schedule.
- Avoid lying in bed for longer than necessary. Once you wake up, get up.
- Reduce the time you nap during the day. Do not exceed 20 to 30 minutes.
- Decrease your consumption of alcohol, caffeine or drinks that contain stimulants. Also, do not drink a lot water before going to bed in order avoid having to wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.
- Never go to bed hungry, but do not eat too much dinner either.
- Choose room conditions for sleeping that are cool and check to see that the light, sound and ventilation are not bothering you.
- Avoid stressful situations before going to bed
- Do physical exercise during the day.
- Practice relaxation and breathing techniques before going to bed. Yoga, meditation and hot baths are recommended activities for their relaxing effect.
If you have problems falling asleep, try to identify the cause and do not self-medicate. See a healthcare professional that may assess your sleep pattern and that may help you to get your sleep back.