Insomnia is a relatively common sleeping disorder, affecting about one-third of the adult population worldwide. Insomnia is more common in women, but quality of sleep often decreases equally in both women and men as we age.
There are a variety of factors that can cause insomnia: stress (including anxiety about not being able to sleep), extreme temperature fluctuations, environmental noise or changes, medication side effects, hormones, or disruption to the regular sleep pattern. Depression, chronic pain, a variety of health issues and sleep apnea can also contribute to insomnia. Lifestyle can also affect insomnia – studies have shown that alcohol and caffeine intake and smoking cigarettes before bedtime disrupts sleep, as can excessive napping in the afternoon or evening.
Your sleeping patterns could actually be the main source of your insomnia remedies. The time you go to sleep and the time you wake up needs to be about the same every day if you want to get rid of your insomnia because your body will eventually get used to waking up at the same time every single day. This is why one of the first steps you can take to fighting insomnia is setting your alarm and getting yourself out of bed at the same time every morning.
When you give yourself a set time to wake up every morning, it makes it easier to find out what time you should be going to sleep. You will eventually fall into a cycle of falling asleep and waking up at the same time every day, and this will hopefully be at rather normal hours that are healthy for your body. It’s much easier to get some good sleep when you are falling asleep once it gets dark outside and waking up as the sun rises outside your bedroom window.
Exercise and stress relief are the top insomnia remedies
While getting a routine down is the main goal in the end, it’s hard to get started when you always have tension built up in your body. This is why the best insomnia remedies that you are going to be able to find are exercise and other methods of stress relief.
You may not be able to go to sleep at night because your body simply did not do enough work during the day, and if your body is not tired at the end of the day then it has no reason to go to sleep. Try to relax your muscles with a massage before bedtime. You can also perform basic yogic postures like the shavaasana to gain control over evasive sleep. Concentrate only on the breathing, and it will relax the tense muscles and induce a calm slumber.
Stress is one of the major reasons behind the common sleep disorders of oversleeping and sleeplessness. Meditation and relaxing exercises can help in relieving stress. Meditation may seem like a process that is hard to learn but once you know the basics it becomes extremely easy.
These are not guaranteed natural cures for insomnia, but each may provide relief:
- Establish a consistent bedtime routine. Take a warm bath, go for a relaxing stroll, or practice meditation/relaxation exercises as part of your regular nighttime routine.
- Try to go to bed at the same time every night, and get up at the same time each morning. This includes weekends.
- Get plenty of exercise during the day. Studies have shown people who are physically active sleep better than those who are sedentary. The more energy you expend during the day (preferable earlier in the day) the sleepier you will feel at bedtime.
- Reduce your intake of caffeine and alcohol, particularly in the evening.
- Avoid large meals late in the evening.
- Learn and use a relaxation technique regularly. Breathing exercises, meditation and yoga are good examples.
- Use “white noise” devices to block out surrounding environmental noise.
- Don’t obsess about not sleeping. Not surprisingly, studies have shown that individuals who worry about falling asleep have greater trouble dropping off. It may help to remind yourself that while sleeplessness is troublesome, it isn’t life-threatening.
- Short naps are good. Try to get into the habit of napping: ten to twenty minutes in the afternoon, preferably lying down in a darkened room.
- Spend some time outdoors as often as you can to get exposure to bright, natural light. If you are concerned about harmful effects of solar radiation, do it before ten in the morning or after three in the afternoon or use sunscreen.
- Try to give yourself some time (up to an hour)in dim light before you go to sleep at night. Lower the lighting in your house and bedroom and if other members of the household object, wear sunglasses.
- The two best natural sleep aid treatments are valerian and melatonin. Valerian is a sedative herb, used for centuries. You can find standardized extracts in health food stores and pharmacies. Take one to two capsules a half hour before bedtime. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the wake/sleep cycle and other daily biorhythms. Try sublingual tablets (to be placed under the tongue and allowed to dissolve); take 2.5 mg at bedtime as an occasional dose, making sure that your bedroom is completely dark. A much lower dose, 0.25 to 0.3 mg, is more effective for regular use.
Live a healthy life if you want to have a healthy sleep.