Help! I can’t sleep – Tips & tricks to sleep well

It is important that you have a good night’s sleep, but what if you can’t sleep for nights? When you just worry and nothing works anymore? Good sleep is important. When you sleep well, you feel better because you process things from everyday life. In addition, it is good for your mood and it is good for health. Ideally, you should get at least seven or eight hours of good sleep a night, but how do you do that?

What is sleep?

We spend 1/3 of our lives sleeping, you sleep every day and it is very important. Your body and mind relax when you sleep, your muscles relax and your brain waves slow down. Breathing and heart rate also slow down. Your brain and muscles remain active when you sleep, as does your heart, because your heart muscle cannot stop. When you sleep you are closed off from the outside world and you often process things from everyday life in your dreams. In short: sleeping is a necessity of life.

Consequences of sleep debt

If you don’t sleep, you have an increasing need to sleep. This is just like the feeling of being hungry: when you don’t eat, you get more and more cravings for food. The need for sleep is called ‘sleep debt’.
When you don’t sleep, it affects a number of things:

  • The ability to concentrate;
  • the ability to speak;
  • the reaction speed;
  • the memory;
  • the decisiveness;
  • the sense of time and space (the ability to plan);
  • it affects emotions and physical health.


How many hours of sleep do you need?

It varies per person how much sleep you need. The quality of sleep is more important than the duration of sleep. It is important that core sleep (this is where deep sleep occurs, it ensures physical recovery and ensures the processing of experiences and things from daily life) is achieved. Core sleep reaches yes after 4 or 5 hours of sleep. 4 to 5 hours of sleep is not enough for everyone. In today’s society there is little relaxation and a lot of effort, which ensures high brain activity. People who have difficulty falling asleep and sleep poorly have high brain activity during the day and at night, it is important to reduce this brain activity. You can do this by taking more rest. If you relax more, at least 4 to 5 hours of sleep per night is sufficient.

Tips to sleep better and get to sleep well

  • Worrying and thinking – 15 minutes of worry time. Make sure you stop worrying and thinking about when you should go to sleep. You can do this by imagining that you can worry and think for 15 minutes and after those 15 minutes you stop, because there is no point in doing it any longer. to think about. You can do this by paying attention to your breathing and becoming calmer, so you fall asleep quickly.
  • Electrical devices. If you know the time you want to go to sleep, stop using all electrical appliances half an hour beforehand. Stop watching television, stop using your computer and leave your cell phone alone for a while. For example, grab a book or magazine with a hot cup of tea or milk. This clears your head and allows you to sleep better.
  • Sleep in your bedroom. Don’t put a television or computer in your bedroom. Make sure your bedroom is for sleeping. Make sure your room is tidy and cozy, with nice pillows and candles, for example. This can be difficult if you are a student and sleep in a dorm room, but try this as much as possible.
  • Not being able to sleep is no big deal. Don’t think about how bad it is that you can’t fall asleep, this will get you into a vicious circle. For example, read a book to distract your thoughts, and you will notice that you are getting tired. Drink something, for example milk or tea (but not coffee). You can also take melatonin, these are pills containing melatonin and this substance is produced by your own body, which makes you tired. It is simply available at the drugstore.
  • Caffeine. Do not drink products containing caffeine before going to sleep, such as coffee and cola. This does not make you sleepy, but it actually gives you energy, so you don’t get tired and you fall asleep less quickly.
  • Dark room. It is important that you go to sleep when it is dark and wake up when it is light. So make sure you have curtains that darken well but allow light to pass through so that you wake up in the morning with daylight. This is of course difficult in the winter, but a Philips Wake Up Light is very useful.
  • Bed and mattress. It is important what type of bed and mattress you have. It makes a difference whether you have a cheap bed of 50 or a good box spring with a nice warm duvet and good pillows. You sleep more comfortably and you sleep faster.


Sleep disorders

There are primary disorders and secondary disorders. In secondary disorders, there is a connection between the sleep problem and a psychological problem, such as anxiety or depression. There may also be a connection between the sleeping problem and a physical problem, such as itching or rheumatism. In the primary disorders, inability to sleep is the main problem, it is not caused by psychological problems or physical problems.
These disorders are divided into two groups:

  • Parasomnias : unwanted symptoms occur during sleep, such as nightmares, grinding the teeth, talking in your sleep and sleepwalking.
  • Dyssomnias : Dyssomnias involve several disorders that affect the quality of sleep, the length of sleep and the times of waking up and falling asleep.

There are different dyssomnias:

  1. Insomnia because you have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep: you get too little sleep because you cannot fall asleep properly, you wake up regularly at night and/or wake up too early in the morning. This is called ‘insomnia’.
  2. Disorders in which you sleep too much ‘hypersomnias’: you are very sleepy during the day and you have difficulty staying awake. It doesn’t matter if you sleep at night, you are very tired during the day.
  3. Disruptions to the sleep-wake rhythm: there is a disturbance in the biological clock. You have difficulty staying awake or waking up and you may also have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. This can be due to, among other things, sleeping in at the weekend or jet lag (moving to a different time zone).


How do you stop snoring?

Your partner may bother you if you snore a lot and very loudly. This can make your partner sleep worse.
There are several tips that help ensure that you do not snore or snore less:

  • Try to lie on your stomach or side, don’t sleep on your back.
  • Try to do something about your weight if you are overweight. You snore because of the tissue in your pharynx.
  • Try not to drink alcohol, it relaxes your muscles.
  • Sleeping pills and tranquilizers sometimes cause snoring, consult your doctor.
  • Don’t smoke or smoke less.
  • Try to be rested, this will make you snore less. Your muscles relax when you are overtired.
  • Make sure the air is not too dry in your room, as this often causes snoring.
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