Figuring out why you can’t sleep can be a huge factor in overcoming insomnia that may be behaviorally caused. If you’re depressed, stressed out, worried or are dealing with a traumatic incident, your sleep patterns can naturally become off.
Similarly, if you’re sick and are taking a new medication trying to sleep at weird times throughout the day, then a bout of insomnia may start to afflict you too. By making lifestyle changes and looking into herbal or traditional sleep aid medications, you may be able to effectively cure your current nighttime woes.
Lifestyle & behavioral changes
Deal with psychological problems head on
If you’re consumed by feelings of discouragement or anxiety, you may easily find yourself unable to sleep at night. Whether you have clinical depression or some temporary and perhaps incident-specific blues, consider working with a counselor to help sort through your feelings. The problems you’re concerned about may not go away, but your ability to deal with them can be greatly increased. If you just can’t seem to turn your brain off at night, don’t give up hope: help may be just around the corner.
Keep your diet on point
Eating a healthful, balanced group of fruits, vegetables and lean proteins can keep you nutritionally armed to function well. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and any other products that can interfere with your sleep schedule. Don’t eat any heavy meals right before bed either. Schedule dinner time appropriately to give your body a good few hours to digest before it’s time to sleep.
Exercise vigorously during the day
When you have trouble falling asleep, part of the problem might be that your body didn’t get in enough rigorous activity earlier. In kid terms, you still have some wiggles left in you that make your body turn away from the idea of sleep. It’s best to not strenuously exercise right before bed, though, since your workout can give you some immediate energy as a side effect. Try to get in twenty or thirty minutes of cardio everyday either in the morning or in the early afternoon.
Create the right environment for sleeping
If your room is too light at night, you may have added trouble falling asleep. Turn off all the lights in the house and invest in some light-blocking curtains, if needed, to prevent street lights and outside distractions from interrupting your night. Turn your clock around so that you can’t actually see the time from bed, which can just act as a frustrating reminder that time is passing while you’re still awake. Consider turning on a fan or playing a soothing CD to block out environmental noises.
Use some relaxation strategies to calm yourself before bed
Meditate, lightly stretch, take a warm bath or do whatever other steps you need to in order to de-stress and properly get your body relaxed. Practice some calming breathing techniques or listen to some music. Give yourself time to unwind from the load of the day before rushing off to bed. Don’t try to squeeze in anything stressful at the last minute or your sleep can suffer.
If you can’t fall asleep, get out of bed
How long you should wait in bed while unsuccessfully trying to get some shuteye is up to you, but staying in bed and getting frustrated about your circumstances can worsen your chances of falling asleep. Don’t let yourself get to the point of stressing about being wide awake in the middle of the night. Get up and load the dishwasher or do some equally unexciting chore before trying again to fall asleep. You don’t want to subconsciously reward your body’s insomnia by treating yourself to something fun or stimulating like a movie–just do something needful and boring to give your mind a break from focusing on sleep. Hopefully, laying down a second time will do the trick.
Herbal sleep aids & treatments
Herbal teas like chamomile or lavender
If you’re looking for something simple and natural to help calm your body before bed, you may be interested in drinking an herbal beverage like chamomile tea or lavender tea for the sedative and relaxing properties. Stay away from caffeinated teas, which can just aggravate your condition. Consuming a warm herbal drink isn’t likely to magically cure insomnia, but it still may be able to make a difference.
Herbal supplements like valerian root, melatonin and kava may be able to help treat your insomnia
These kinds of natural supplements are known to encourage your body into a state of relaxation, calming anxiety and restlessness while improving your sleep cycle. A lot of these supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA, though, and there are a lot of quality control issues among some products, so be careful to buy only from companies that you can trust.
When using herbal supplements regularly, you may want to check with a doctor about possible side effects and warnings. If you experience unpleasant symptoms as a result, stop taking the supplements and work with a medical professional, as desired, to find a more suitable treatment for your sleeping problems.
Prescription sleep medications
Talk with your doctor
If you’re interested in taking a prescription medication for your insomnia, you’ll obviously need to work with a doctor to determine the optimal kind of product and the right dosage for your particular circumstances. Sedative hypnotics work by slowing down the nervous system and some help you fall asleep while others are more effective at helping you stay asleep. These kinds of drugs can be habit forming and can cause additional sleep problems when you go off the medicine if your body has become accustomed to life with the drug.
There are basically two kinds of choices
Benzodiazepines are a class of sleep aids that include brand-name options like ProSam, Doral and Dalmane. Non-benzodiazepine sleep aids are also available and include picks like Ambien, Lunesta and Sonata. Some find that the side effects that come with benzodiazepine treatments are too severe while others find non-benzodiazepine aids to be ineffective at inducing sleep. Work with your medical professional and do your research to know what kind of medication suits you best.