Last Updated on March 10, 2021
Insomnia is a frustrating thing to deal with, whether you experience chronic insomnia or occasional sleepless nights. Treatment may depend on how severe your insomnia is, but there are some things you can do on your own to help yourself fall asleep and stay asleep.
Here are six tips for dealing with insomnia.
1. Good Sleep Hygiene
The first thing you should do when you start trying to treat insomnia is check in with your sleep hygiene. Avoid stimulants like caffeine and substances that can affect sleep quality, like alcohol, for several hours before bedtime.
Look at how long you tend to sleep at night, too. If the length of time you sleep is inconsistent throughout the week, you may have more trouble falling asleep. You should set a consistent bedtime and morning alarm and stick to that schedule.
Prescription pills aren’t for everyone, nor are they necessarily the only medicinal option for treating insomnia. You can purchase melatonin supplements over the counter at most pharmacies and grocery stores.
Melatonin is a sleep-and-relaxation-promoting hormone secreted by your pineal gland in the evening. Sometimes, the pineal gland doesn’t secrete enough of this hormone, particularly if you’re exposed to blue light for much of your day. This is a common issue for people who look at computer or phone screens all day for work or school.
Supplemental melatonin can give your body the extra push it needs to settle into bedtime mode.
CBD products could also be an option for helping you fall asleep. A CBD tincture for sleep is a kind of CBD oil you can take orally. These tinctures have calming effects on the mind and body, which can help you relax and settle down at bedtime.
CBD products like tinctures are made with hemp oil mixed in a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, and typically have an extremely low THC content, which means you’ll get the benefits of the CBD without as much risk of experiencing the effects of THC.
4. Relaxation Techniques
Medications, supplements, and tinctures aren’t the only tools available to help improve your sleep. There are plenty of physical and psychological options too.
One of the most diverse treatment techniques is relaxation, which can include progressive muscle relaxation, breathing exercises, and meditation. There are apps, podcasts, and videos available to guide you through various relaxation techniques, or you can try some on your own to see if any work well for you.
These techniques teach you to quiet your mind and focus on consciously relaxing your body in preparation for rest and sleep, so they can be good options for someone whose anxiety impedes sleep.
5. A Healthy Lifestyle
One of the best preventive measures you can take to try to avoid insomnia is practicing a healthy lifestyle. Get regular exercise, eat healthily and take any prescription medications you need at the times your doctor recommends you take them.
A sedentary lifestyle, blood sugar fluctuation, caffeine intake and certain medications taken too late in the day can all affect your sleep patterns.
Conversely, exercising regularly releases endorphins which can help you relax. It can also help you expend energy, so you feel tired more easily at night.
Avoiding or moderating foods that contain compounds that affect sleep, such as chocolate and coffee, will help you avoid insomnia too.
6. Stimulus Control
Look at your bedtime routine, the amount of time you spend sleeping and your sleeping environment. Incorporate small changes that better facilitate sleep and see what helps you most.
If, for example, you spend time on your computer or watching TV before bed, try reading a book instead to avoid screens. If your bedroom also tends to be a place where you do work, take your work out to the kitchen table. Your bedroom should be reserved for sleeping and maybe some other relaxed activities.
If your insomnia causes anxiety about whether you’ll fall asleep or stay asleep, do activities before bed that will help you relax and feel more in control of your sleep situation.
If you deal with the occasional sleepless or restless night, try some of these tricks and see what works for you. If you think your insomnia is more severe or unmanageable, you should consult with your doctor about treatment options.
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