Wake up Refreshed: How to Cure Insomnia

By Jared Levenson - Reviewed on October 2, 2023
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Wake up Refreshed: How to Cure Insomnia

Do you find yourself staring at the ceiling, counting sheep, or tossing and turning in bed, unable to sleep? You’re not alone. Insomnia is a common sleep disorder affecting millions of people worldwide.

Various factors, including stress, poor sleep habits, medical conditions, mental health disorders, certain medications, substance abuse, shift work, age, and jet lag can cause it.

The good news? There are effective ways to cure insomnia within minutes*. This article will guide you through these strategies and answer frequently asked questions about sleeping pills. Let’s dive in.

*Please note: While these techniques can each be applied within 10 minutes, it’s really consistent practice that makes it possible!

For example, body scanning. While you may scan your body and relax a bit in under 10 minutes, it’s only once you become proficient in body scanning that this technique fully relax your body to make you fall asleep in a few minutes.

What is Insomnia?

Insomnia is characterized by difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night. Symptoms can include fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating during the day. If you identify with these symptoms, don’t fret – solutions are within reach.

Ten Daily Habits to Cure Insomnia

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  1. Make your bedroom dark: Darkness signals your brain to produce melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep. Blackout curtains, eye masks, or turning off all lights can help create a sleep-inducing environment.
  2. Practice meditation or yoga: Deep breathing exercises and guided meditation can quiet intrusive thoughts that keep you up and reduce rumination.
  3. Read books: Reading can promote better sleep quality. Choose calming subjects and avoid exciting or upsetting topics.
  4. Use your imagination: Imagine being in a peaceful place, watching sheep jump the fence, or practicing visualization techniques to help relax your mind.
  5. Drink herbal teas: Chamomile or lavender tea may promote relaxation before bed.
  6. Try high-intensity interval training programs: Exercise for 12 minutes daily with HIIT or fast walking/jogging can help you sleep better.
  7. Avoid caffeine: Decrease caffeine intake in the evening to avoid disrupting your sleep cycle.
  8. Replenish your body with electrolytes: Electrolyte supplements or a banana for added potassium/magnesium kick can aid relaxation and sleep.
  9. Try melatonin: Melatonin supplements taken 1-2 hours before bedtime (up to 10mg) may regulate circadian rhythms and ready the body for sleep.
  10. Use the Sleep Mode of Alarmy: This app can help you establish a regular sleep schedule, which is crucial in maintaining healthy sleep patterns.

Practical Strategies to Fight Insomnia

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Aside from the habits mentioned above, other strategies to fight insomnia include:

  • Reduce noise: Use earplugs, a fan, or a white noise machine to block disruptive sounds.
  • Avoid blue light: To reduce the impact of blue light at night, turn off devices or use filters/glasses.
  • Adjust your sleep position and temperature preferences: Get comfortable using supportive pillows, keeping the bedroom cool, and changing CPAP masks if needed.
  • Try OTC medications: Over-the-counter sleep aids should be used only occasionally and under a healthcare professional’s guidance.
  • Seek help from a healthcare professional: If you’re dealing with chronic insomnia, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice and treatment options.

By incorporating these tips into your routine, you can fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to seize the day.

Everyone is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. Be patient, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed. Here’s to sleep better!

Pros and Cons of Insomnia Treatments

Choosing the right treatment for your insomnia can be a complex process.

Treatment is for when you try the daily habits and strategies, but still cannot fall asleep.

Here’s a quick rundown of the pros and cons of some common treatments to help you make an informed decision:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I):

  • Pros: It’s a non-pharmacological approach that addresses the root cause of insomnia, it has no physical side effects, and its benefits can last long after therapy ends. Sleep Foundation states CBT-I is one of the most effective treatments for insomnia.
  • Cons: It requires commitment and effort, it may take several weeks to see results, and access to trained therapists may be limited.

Prescription Sleep Aids:

  • Pros: They can quickly relieve severe insomnia symptoms and are typically used under a healthcare provider’s supervision.
  • Cons: They can cause side effects like daytime drowsiness, cognitive impairment, and risk of dependence, and they don’t address the underlying cause of insomnia.

Relaxation Techniques:

  • Pros: They’re natural, non-invasive methods that can reduce stress and anxiety and be practiced anytime, anywhere.
  • Cons: They require practice and patience to master, and they may not be sufficient for severe cases of insomnia.

Remember, each person’s experience with insomnia is unique, and what works for one might not work for another.

Consult a healthcare professional to choose the treatment that best suits your needs.

Natural Remedies for Insomnia

If you’re looking for natural ways to combat insomnia, there are plenty of alternatives to consider:

  1. Herbal Supplements: Valerian root, chamomile, and lavender have been used for centuries to promote relaxation and sleep.
  2. Aromatherapy: Essential oils like lavender and bergamot can create a calming environment that is conducive to sleep.
  3. Mind-Body Therapies: Yoga, tai chi, and acupuncture can help reduce stress and improve sleep quality.
  4. Dietary Changes: Consuming foods rich in magnesium and B vitamins can improve sleep regulation.

While natural remedies can be beneficial, they should not replace medical advice or treatment. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new regimen.

FAQs: Addressing Your Questions about Insomnia

Q: Can insomnia be cured? A: While no one-size-fits-all “cure” for insomnia exists, many effective treatments can manage symptoms and improve sleep quality. Lifestyle changes, cognitive-behavioral therapy, medication, and natural remedies can all play a role.

Q: How long does insomnia last? A: The duration of insomnia varies greatly. Acute insomnia can last from one night to a few weeks, while chronic insomnia (trouble sleeping at least three nights per week for more than three months) can last much longer.

Q: Can diet affect insomnia? A: Yes, diet can impact sleep quality. Caffeine or sugar can disrupt sleep, while foods rich in particular nutrients (like magnesium and tryptophan) can promote better sleep.

Q: Should I see a doctor for my insomnia? A: If your insomnia is causing significant distress, impacting your daily life, or not improving with home remedies, it’s a good idea to seek medical advice.

FAQs on Sleeping Pills

What happens if you take sleeping pills every day? Regular use of sleeping pills can lead to dangerous side effects, including dependency and withdrawal symptoms.

Which sleeping pill is dangerous? Benzodiazepines and barbiturates are considered high-risk due to their potential for overdose and dependency.

What’s the safest sleeping pill for the elderly? Nonbenzodiazepines, like zolpidem (Ambien), are generally considered safer for older adults.

Please know the Mayo Clinic stance on sleep pills insomnia: When stress, travel, or other interruptions keep you awake, sleeping medications may be helpful. The most effective treatment for chronic insomnia is typically behavioral modifications learnt in behavioral therapy.

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