Most of us have suffered from the occasional sleepless nights. It could be attributed to caffeine, alcohol, stress, anxiety or medical and/or psychological disorders. There are different ways people experience sleeping problems or insomnia. Some have a hard time falling asleep, some find it difficult to stay asleep, some always feel tired when they wake up, and some people have a mixture of all those difficulties. It can last for a few days or weeks (transient insomnia) or even years (chronic insomnia).
You are not alone
If you came here because insomnia is rearing it’s ugly head over you, I want you to know that I know what you’re going through. Having suffered the horror of chronic insomnia, I know how utterly frustrating, bothersome, and tiring it can be. It also can drastically affect your mood, reduce performance at work or school, and make you more susceptible for injury during routine tasks that necessitate normal alertness. Our quality of sleep directly affects our quality of life and overall sense of well-being. So if you’re being tormented by sleep deprivation, you wouldn’t be able to function in your optimum capacity.
And you’re not alone – says Sleepfoundation.org
In order to help you cope with sleep difficulties and minimize their impact on your daily routine, here are 10 cures for insomnia.
Let’s say good night to insomnia – join me to a quest to the slumberville
Pick a standard rising time
You should pick a standard rising time and stick to it regardless of how much sleep did you actually get that night. This will help you develop a stable sleeping pattern.
Sleep in multiples of 90 (7.5 hours, 9 hours, 6 hours).
A sleep cyclelasts approximately 90minutes long, and during that time we move through five stages of sleep. It’s best to organize your sleep schedule in multiples of 90 in order to complete the cycle and feel more well-rested when you wake up.
Use your bed for sleeping and fornicating purposes only.
You need to create a strong connection between your bed and sleep. So you should avoid at all cost doing things that you typically do when you’re awake. You shouldn’t read, watch TV, eat, study, use your phone, or do other things that require you to be awake while you’re in bed. If you frequently use your bed for activities other than sleep, you are unintentionally training yourself to stay awake in bed. If you avoid these activities while in bed, your bed will eventually become a place where it is easy to go to sleep and stay asleep. Sexual activity is the only exception to this rule.
Eliminate alcohol and stimulants like nicotine and caffeine.
The foods and beverages you consume influence how well you sleep at night. The effects of caffeine can last for several hours, perhaps up to 24 hours, so the chances of it affecting sleep are very high. Caffeine may not only cause difficulty initiating sleep, but may also cause frequent awakenings. Alcohol may have a sedative effect for the first few hours following consumption which can make you drowsy and fall asleep easily but it can then lead to frequent arousals and a non-restful night’s sleep. If you are on medications that act as stimulants, such asdecon gestants or asthma inhalers, consult your doctor when they should best be taken to help minimize any effect on sleep.
Exercise regularly but not close to bedtime.
Regular moderate exercises such as walking, swimming and bike riding in the late afternoon or early evening may lead to deeper sleep at night. In addition, improving your overall fitness level, no matter when you choose to exercise, will certainly improve the quality of your sleep. However, as noted previously, you should avoid exercising right before bed because it may make it harder to get to sleep quickly.
Do not eat or drink right before going to bed.
Eating a late dinner or snacking before going to bed can activate the digestive system and keep you up. If you suffer from gastroesophagealreflux (GERD) or heartburn, it is even more important to avoid eating and drinking right before bed since this can make your symptoms worse. In addition, drinking a lot of fluids prior to bed can overwhelm the bladder, requiring frequent visits to the bathroom that disturb your sleep. You can try light bedtime snack like peanut butter, cheese or milk. These foods contain chemicals that your body uses to produce sleep. As a result, this type of bedtime snack may actually make you drowsy and sleepy.
Make your sleeping environment comfortable.
Temperature, lighting, and noise should be controlled to make the bedroom conducive to falling (and staying) asleep. Unwanted noise or even dim light may interrupt or shorten your sleep. You can block out unwanted noise using earplugs or using a white noise machine specifically designed to screen sleep-disruptive sounds. Moreover, your bed should feel comfortable and if you have a pet that sleeps in the room with you, consider having the pet sleep somewhere else if it tends to make noise during the night.
Discover a relaxation technique that works for you.
Replace negative sleep-talk with positive statements. Talking positively about yourself can have a tremendous beneficial effect. As Epicurus puts it, “It’s not the thing that troubles us but our judgement about things”. Reprogram your mind’s filter and start visualizing ideal positive scenarios of your ideal self and life. There are also a number of relaxation therapies and stress reduction methods. You may want to try to relax the mind and the body before going to bed. Examples include progressive muscle relaxation (perhaps with audio tapes), mindfulness meditation, mantra repetition, yoga, deepbreathing techniques, imagery, and biofeedback.
Try natural remedies for sleep.
There are sleep-promoting herbal remedies that could make iteasier for you to enjoy the honey heavy dew of slumber. This includes chamomile tea, St. John’swort, Valeria, kava, passion flower, melatonin, and California poppy.
Seek treatment from a reputable medical practitioner.
If you’ve tried everything including our cures for insomnia and you’re still not able to sleep in harmony, you should consult a doctor. There you can discuss your symptoms, which could point to underlying health issues that might be preventing you from falling asleep. He/she can also review any prescriptions that you’re taking. An who knows whether they might be interfering with your ability to doze off.