You have a big meeting in the morning and you can’t sleep. In between your tossing and turning, you’re looking at your clock calculating how many hours of sleep you could get if you could only fall asleep now.

Raise your hand if this has happened to you!

Having trouble sleeping sucks. I’ve always been a sound sleeper, but over the last year, I’ve had such a hard time sleeping even when I’m exhausted. And it shows. I’ve always heard how important it is to have a good night’s sleep, but I never truly understood how crucial it is until I started see the effects of not sleeping on my own productivity.  How can I be super productive if I’m always yawning the day away? I found myself not be able to stay focused and felt sluggish throughout the day. It would take me two hours to do something that should have taken me 30 minutes.

I was exhausted and would dream of going to bed by 10:00am, but when I actually got to bed, I’d stay away in bed for hours. It got to a point where I started dreading going to bed because the very thought of tossing and turning for hours without sleeping was horrible.

Some people have chronic insomnia that they just can’t resolve and for many women, hormones play a key factor in why we can’t sleep.

Your phone (and other electronic devices) may be affecting your hormones

Most people check their phones on average of 150 times a day. When you can’t sleep, it’s easy to figure you’ll just check your email one more time or you may as well check what’s happening on Facebook. I’m guilty of this myself. I read blogs.  One post will lead me to another and before I know it, it’s been 2 hours… and I still haven’t managed to fall asleep. I knew I was distracting myself from sleeping, but I just couldn’t stand tossing and turning while waiting to fall asleep.

What I didn’t know was that electronic devices like my iPhone, iPad and the TV in my bedroom (I know, but no-no) could actually be messing with my hormones and causing me insomnia!

Melatonin is the hormone that tells your brain to rest for the night so it can repair itself. It’s a very, very important hormone to keep balanced. The light from the TV, phone or iPad actually suppresses melatonin levels so the brain doesn’t get that message and you find yourself awake until 3:00 am.

Before you run to your doctor for what you think is a hormonal imbalance, there are natural ways to fight insomnia. First and foremost, get the TV out of your bedroom. The same goes for your iPad and other electronics. I use my phone as an alarm clock, so that’s the only thing I keep in my bedroom these days.  I also resolved my insomnia by making these four changes (especially the last one)

Fight the urge to take a nap

When you’ve only slept 3 hours, the first thing you want to do when you get home from work and take a nap, but one way to perpetuate your insomnia is by taking long naps to counter your sleepiness. When you’ve already slept 2 hours after you’ve come home, how will you be able to fall asleep for the night just a few hours later? The best thing to do is keep yourself busy and find ways to stay awake.

Don’t sit in front of the TV, you’ll find yourself falling asleep without even realizing it.

Put that wine glass down

I’m a big believer in unwinding and one of the ways I unwind is with a nice glass of wine. I’ll give up a lot of things, before I give up my red. You’d think that since alcohol is a downer, it would relax you enough to fall asleep.

Sadly, it doesn’t work that way. I’d find myself falling asleep,  waking up at 2:00 am and staying awake for hours. This is because although alcohol initially helps you sleep, but it gets broken down in your body a few hours later, which means you’ll lose the sedating effects.

If you’re going to have a drink, do it well before you go to bed.

Get some pink noise in your room

We all know about white noise in the office, but apparently pink noise helps 75% of people with insomnia fall and stay asleep. Here’s what pink noise sounds like. I saw this on Dr. Oz and was skeptical, but I got so desperate one day that I gave it a shot. I downloaded a pink noise app and it works like a charm.

The app I use has a noise called “airplane ambiance”, which I put on a timer. It works like a charm!

Check your stress and anxiety level

This one is HUGE! I don’t know about you, but my biggest problem is that my stress and anxiety levels always affect my sleep. I’ve been known to go an entire night without sleeping a wink if something is wrong in my life, because I obsess about it all night thinking of possible scenarios.

If I’m in a period of my life where things are wonderful and settled, I sleep like a baby. As women, we don’t realize just how destructive stress is on our bodies. Stress actually hurts women more than it does men and one of the ways it manifests itself is in sleep disturbances.

I’m happy to say that over the last few months, I’ve slept quite well  and see the change in my productivity during the day.

How do you fight insomnia?

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