10 Best Ways to Cure Insomnia

Insomnia is a widely prevalent sleep disorder. The common causes of insomnia include: stress, depression, jet lag due to traveling, nature of your job, bad sleep hygiene, unhealthy food habits, smoking, alcohol use, use of certain medications (e.g. drugs to treat asthma, allergies and high blood pressure) and certain medical conditions (e.g. pain, neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s, obstructive sleep apnea, hyperthyroidism and gastro esophageal reflux disease). The common symptoms of insomnia include: difficulty in falling asleep, disturbed sleep, waking during the early hours of morning, feeling tired during the day and problems with focusing, concentration and memory.

How to Deal with Insomnia

Here are a few useful ways to deal with insomnia:

1. Follow a bed time schedule

  • Follow a strict schedule for sleeping at night and waking in the morning.
  • Avoid naps during the day. However, if you are compelled to take a nap then do not nap for more than 30 minutes. It is also recommended that you should not nap after 3 PM. Taking long naps during the day can prevent you from sleeping during night making your insomnia worse.
  • Once you are in bed and unable to sleep after more than 20 minutes of trying, it is suggested that you leave the bedroom and do activities such as listening to calming music or reading a book and return to sleep only when you are feeling sleepy.

2. Create a cozy atmosphere for sleeping

  • Make sure you use your bedroom only for sleeping and sex.
  • Do not place TV, computer and other electronic devices in your bedroom.
  • Use curtains to avoid outside lights from entering your room and ensure your bedroom is dark when sleeping.
  • Ensure your bedroom is cool throughout the night as warm temperatures can keep you awake.
  • Make sure your room is noise free and noise from outside does not enter the room.
  • Choose the right size of bed and mattress that is comfortable for you to sleep in.

How to deal with insomnia? As you can see it’s actually easy to achieve.

3. Develop a bedtime routine

  • It is advised that you turn off all electronic devices an hour before going to bed.
  • Avoid performing stressful activities before going to bed. Refrain from answering work emails or having arguments or conversations with family members that may stress you.
  • Listening to calming music or reading a book before going to bed may help you de stress and sleep better.
  • You can also take a warm shower before going to bed to promote good sleep.
  • You can also include relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation and breathing exercises into your bed time routine. Regular practice of these techniques before bed time will calm you down and improve the quality of your sleep.

4. Take supplements

  • Supplements such as melatonin and valerian are commonly used to promote sleep and used by people suffering from insomnia.
  • Melatonin is available as an over-the-counter medication. But there is no conclusive evidence available about the benefits of melatonin in insomnia.
  • Valerian root is a mildly sedative drug that is used as a sleeping aid. There are claims that chronic valerian use can cause liver damage but there is no evidence yet to prove it. Valerian root when taken with other sedative drugs can increase the effect of the drugs. You should start using valerian after discussing with your doctor.

For this way of how to deal with insomnia, it’s better to consult your doctor or a professional.

5. Learn to deal with stress effectively

It is recommended that you learn stress management techniques if the cause of your insomnia is stress in your professional or personal life. Learn to develop a positive attitude towards life and to handle stress effectively.

If you are unable to handle your stress effectively and it is beginning to affect your performance during the day and your sleep at night, you can also approach a psychiatrist for counseling on stress management.

6. Adopt good eating habits

  • Eat your dinner at least 2 hours before going to sleep.
  • Try to avoid a heavy meal or eating rich foods before going to bed. You should also avoid hot and spicy foods for dinner as they can increase acidity and cause heartburn, disturbing your sleep.
  • Avoid caffeine containing beverages such as coffee, tea and energy drinks at least 2-3 hours before going to bed. Refraining from drinking tea and coffee in the evening will improve your sleep quality.
  • Consuming a lot of fluids before bedtime can give you an urge to use the bathroom several times during the night, disturbing your sleep. Stop drinking liquids at least an hour before bedtime. 

7. Say no to alcohol

Alcohol, when consumed before bedtime can provide a sedative effect during the first few hours of sleep. However, after alcohol metabolizes, its sedative effects disappear and sleep disturbances occur later in the night keeping you awake.

If you are suffering from insomnia, it is recommended that you avoid consuming alcohol before bedtime. You should also drink alcohol in moderation.

8. Quit smoking

If you are a smoker and you are suffering from insomnia it is because of the nicotine in your cigarette. As nicotine is a stimulant, smoking can make you stay awake for a long time before falling asleep and you can experience sleep disturbances at night.

How to deal with insomnia if you are a smoker?Your insomnia symptoms will improve if you quit smoking.

9. Exercise

Exercising increases your deep sleep and you feel refreshed and invigorated the next day.

It is recommended that you spend 30 minutes per day exercising. However, make sure you don’t exercise before bedtime.

10. Consult a doctor

If your insomnia symptoms continue in spite of taking steps to improve your sleep hygiene, it is recommended that you consult the doctor to identify any health problems that are causing insomnia.

  • Depression, Lyme’s disease, heart problems, thyroid problems, and obstructive sleep apnea can cause insomnia.
  • Your insomnia will disappear once your health condition is treated.
  • The doctor might recommend cognitive behavioral therapy and medications.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy is recommended to help you control your negative thoughts and stressful emotions that keep you awake. It also helps you develop positive habits that will help you sleep.
  • Sleeping pills are prescribed to help you sleep and to stay asleep throughout the night. However, sleeping pills are prescribed only for a few weeks. Long term use of sleeping pills can cause addiction and are associated with various side effects.
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