Is getting to sleep at night a problem for you, even when you are really tired? Or are you someone who wakes in the middle of the night, lying awake for hours and staring at the clock? A common problem, insomnia will take a toll on your energy, health, mood and overall ability to function day to day. Major health problems can result from chronic insomnia. How to cure insomnia can be answered with simple changes made in your daily habits and lifestyle.
How to Cure Insomnia
Ask Yourself Those Questions
To deal with insomnia properly, you have to become a detective of sleep. Emotional issues like anxiety, stress and depression are cause for half of all cases of insomnia. Your daily habits, physical health and routine for sleep can also play a part. Try to find any possibly causes. After you’ve found the main reason, you can adjust treatment accordingly.
Are there health problems which interfere with your sleep?
Do you have chronic feelings of worry or anxiety?
Are you depressed?
Are you under stress?
Have you gone through a traumatic experience recently?
Is it comfortable and quiet where you sleep?
Are you taking medications that could interfere with sleep?
Do you go to bed and get up the same time each day?
Do you have enough sunlight and darkness each day?
Adjust Light Exposure
The hormone melatonin is made by your brain to regulate your sleep-wake cycle. As it is controlled by exposure to light, your brain will feel sleepy if there isn’t enough natural light in the day, while too much artificial light at night can stop melatonin production and make it more difficult to sleep. To regulate your sleep-wake cycle naturally, you can prepare your brain for sleep:
Lengthen daylight exposure. Open up curtains and blinds, take breaks outside in the light and take off your sunglasses when it’s safe.
Limit exposure to artificial light. To raise production of melatonin, turn off television, use bulbs with low wattage, cover electrical displays and windows in your bedroom, keep away from bright light and avoid smartphone, television and computer screens one hour or more before sleep. Use a sleep mask if you can’t make your bedroom dark enough.
Mostly, we do not breathe as deeply as we should. When we breathe fully and deeply, which involves not only our chest but also the lower back, belly and ribcage, it will help with relaxation. Close your eyes, take slow, deep breaths, and make each breath deeper than the previous. Breathe in through your nose and then out through your mouth.
Video Tutorial: Deep Breathing Exercises to Lower Stress Levels
Stay Away from Electronic Devices
Besides the obvious reason of you being up longer if you are taking your phone or tablet to bed with you, the light emitted from these devices, especially the blues, will prevent melatonin from being produce. This can leave you feeling sluggish in the morning and you could have great difficulty getting out of bed in the morning.
Establish a Healthy Routine
Make a regular bedtime routine. Go for a relaxing walk, take a warm bath or practice relaxation/meditation exercises as part of a regular routine at night. You should try going to bed at the same time each night and get up the same time every morning. This will include weekends. Also, avoid larger meals late in the evening.
Drink Warm Milk
You can put into practice a long used natural remedy for insomnia by sipping warm milk prior to going to bed. Almond milk is a great source of calcium, which helps your brain to produce melatonin. Warm milk also could spark relaxing and pleasant memories of your mother, helping you to drift off to sleep.
Don't Forget Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy and essential oils can calm your mind and be your answer to how to cure insomnia.
One of the best natural sleep aids is lavender, however you can also try vetiver, spikenard, myrrh, frankincense and clary sage.
A few drops of oil on a bathroom tissue are all you need. Inhale the scent, take ten to fifteen breaths and do so shortly before bed.
There are several herbal and dietary supplements promoted for the effects they have on promoting sleep. Some like chamomile tea or lemon balm are usually harmless, but others have side effects that can interfere with other medications.
They will not work for everyone, but two of the most popular supplements are:
Valerian – this is an herb which mild sedative effects which could help you sleep better, however the quality of these supplements widely varies.
Melatonin – your body naturally makes this hormone at night. Evidence suggests that these supplements could be effective in the short-term, especially to stop or lessen jet-lag. There are, however, potential side-effects which include drowsiness the next day.
More Tips on How to Cure Insomnia
Use a white noise machine to filter out noises. Your brain still picks up sound while you sleep.
Use breathable linens to sleep on. They will lower body odor, sweat and skin irritation which can all disrupt sleep.
limit naps, as they can make it more difficult to fall asleep at night. If you have to take a nap, limit it to thirty minutes or less and don’t nap later than 3 p.m.
Don’t let not sleeping stress you out. Studies have shown that people who worry about falling asleep will have harder time doing so. It could help to remind yourself that even though not sleeping is frustrating, it’s not life-threatening.
Get a good amount of exercise daily. Studies have shown that if you are physically active you will sleep better than sedentary people. During the day the more energy you spend, preferably early on, the sleepier you will be at bedtime.
Eliminate or lower your caffeine intake, plus alcohol and stimulants. They can affect your sleep even when consumed earlier in the day.
When to Seek Professional Help
If the above does not work for how to cure insomnia, speak with your doctor about medications to help you relax and sleep. There are behavioral treatments which teach you new behaviors for sleep and how to better your environment for sleeping. Good habits for sleep promote daytime alertness and sound sleep. Behavior therapies usually are recommended first for insomnia and they are generally more or equally effective to sleep medications.
If you’ve tried several of the treatments and cures for insomnia above but you still can’t get the sleep that is needed, a sleep disorder specialist or doctor could help. Seek out professional help if:
Self-help strategies haven’t helped your insomnia
Insomnia is causing huge problems at work, home or school
You are experiences more serious symptoms such as shortness of breath or chest pain
The insomnia happens almost nightly and is worsening
Keep a sleep diary. Your doctor could diagnose a sleep disorder or illness which is causing your insomnia, or refer you to a specialist or cognitive behavioral therapist.