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As a content writer, researcher, and medical professional who is always searching for answers, I spend a lot of time educating myself so that I can deliver appropriate, accurate information with little fluff. Even when a topic (like insomnia treatment) has been personally experienced, answers can be hard to find. Research can be a long and tedious process.
I warn you, reading this article may be the cure for your insomnia. I fell asleep 3 times just writing it. I hope that you enjoy and perhaps find a little relief after reading it.
Insomnia is defined as a person who has difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, waking frequently and rising early even though the person has not had sufficient sleep.
Insomnia is a sleeping disorder in which a person is not getting enough sleep. This person, when awakened at night, has a hard time sleeping again. Insomnia can be episodic or happen nightly.
So how do we treat insomnia without heavy-duty prescription drugs?
Follow a routine
If an insomniac has an erratic routine, this should be changed to a fixed routine dedicated to directly fight insomnia. So try working, eating, sleeping at specific times. Once your body gets into a routine, you may find it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. Eventually, your body may get to the point where falling asleep at a certain time is automatic.
Caffeine is a stimulant that triggers sleeplessness. It can make someone awake for as long as 20 hours. For some, even drinking a cup of coffee in the morning causes them sleeplessness at night. A person with insomnia should avoid drinking coffee, sodas, chocolate, cocoa, green tea, black tea or anything that has caffeine.
Insomnia is often caused by too much stress. Doing exercise in the evening allows an outlet for the days stress and pinned up energy and gets the bodies feel-good endorphins circulating in the blood. This, in turn, makes us calm and stress-free.
The bedroom should be for sleep
Condition the body to realize the bedroom is only for sleep. Loud noise coming from cars in the street, music, lights, and an uncomfortable bed should be avoided.
You may not have much control over street noise, but using a white-noise sound machine, or listening to ocean wave (you can find this on music apps) may help to drown out the noise and ease you into sleep.
Light is something easily controlled. Blackout curtains or blackout window film can easily be hung or applied to the windows to keep offending light out. (I LOVE my blackout curtains!!) This becomes especially important if you work evening shifts or overnight. It is important to give the room the feeling that its evening and time to wind down.
Read books, magazines or anything that interests an insomniac instead of watching television. Television enhances attention, which makes a person stay awake. Reading, on the other hand, while in bed causes the eyes to get tired and creates a sleepy feeling.
For me, I find that reading anything will help me get to sleep. But reading something boring, even if the content is informative, makes me fall asleep much faster than something that I find interesting.
Meditation techniques and yoga can initiate a calm state of mind and body. Listening to soft and classical music can also help. There are fragrant oils, incense, and candles that are made specifically to aid in relaxation. Consult a shop that sells organic essential oils, ask what oils and scents induce sleep. Taking baths instead of showers can also be calming and relaxing. Add essential oils to the bath to increase the calming effect.
As we age, melatonin levels in the body decrease. This explains why some elderly individuals have a hard time falling and staying asleep compared to younger people.
Over-the-counter melatonin can help to adjust one’s sleeping pattern. Melatonin is taken one to two hours before going to bed. Melatonin should only be taken with the approval of a physician.
Magnesium affects many areas of the body. Several medical conditions are linked to magnesium levels. Restless leg syndrome is an example of a condition that can keep you up at night, for which magnesium may help. Like melatonin, magnesium is readily available over the counter but should only be taken with the approval and under the direction of a licensed physician.
Acupuncture is a well-respected healing method in Chinese medicine. Tiny needles inserted into the skin, triggering specific nerve transmitters, could produce sleep-inducing hormone, like serotonin. (Seratonin is a chemical, produced by the body, that decreases anxiety and helps induce sleep.)
A person diet could have a significant effect on sleep, or the lack thereof. Carbohydrates eaten prior to bedtime may help the quality of sleep. (Although it may not be the best dietary choice and could lead to weight gain.) Think of how tired you are and how well you sleep after a heavy Thanksgiving meal. If you are anything like me, you are very full, very sleepy, and sleep very well after such a meal.
When you’ve tried everything…
Consulting a psychologist and psychiatrist may shed light on finding the cause and or treating insomnia. This sleeping disorder is often caused by stress. A licensed psychiatrist or psychologist working in conjunction with your primary care physician can give expert advice on how to treat insomnia.
The information in this article is to be used for informational purposes only. It is NOT to be used in place of, or in conjunction with, professional medical advice. Anyone with questions regarding this or other medical issues discussed on this site must consult their physician for further information and treatment.