Are you routinely lying awake at 3 a.m., without sleep, wondering about how to cure your insomnia? According to the Sleep Health Foundation almost 60 per cent of people regularly experience at least one sleep symptom (like trouble falling or staying asleep), and 14.8 percent have symptoms which could result in a diagnosis of clinical insomnia.
Acute insomnia happens when sleep is disrupted by illness, worry, or a change in your life circumstances. You should also be aware that having difficulty sleeping is a sign of something else. Finding the underlying reason for persistent conditions can often necessitate treating chronic problems.
There are several compelling reasons to try to cure insomnia if you suffer from it. The most evident one is having the energy necessary to get through your day. However, chronic sleeplessness can boost your chance of developing high blood pressure, insulin resistance, weight gain, and depression.
The good news is that by making a few basic lifestyle adjustments, most individuals seeking insomnia solutions can see significant results. For many people the best insomnia treatments are free.
“Move early in the day and often,” goes the saying. Some people need to literally burn their physical energy to relax their nervous system enough to sleep well at night. Simply going for a walk for 45 to 60 minutes and being outside is sufficient for some people. Exerting yourself physically on a daily basis can definitely help combat sleeplessness.
2. Have a caffeine curfew
If you enjoy coffee, tea or energy drinks, try to avoid drinking them later in the day. Taking away the one thing that may help someone who is sleep-deprived might feel difficult. However, bear in mind that caffeine has the potential to alter circadian rhythms and cause significant disruption to sleep for those who are sensitive to it.
3. Avoid alcohol
Many people claim that a glass of wine helps relax them and gets them ready for sleep, but alcohol’s sedative effect fades quickly and can result in non-restorative sleep. If you have a drink before bed, you may get two to three hours of good sleep, but you will not be as sound asleep as you could be. You are better to drink that glass of wine much earlier in the night to allow your liver time to metabolise it and it not effect your sleep.
4. Have an early dinner
Digestion is physically demanding on the body, so a large meal before bedtime may leave some people feeling hot and distended. Digestion contributes to heart rate variability and that can cause wakefulness. To ensure that your digestive tract does not disrupt your sleep quality, aim to eat two to three hours before sleeping.
5. Reduce exposure to screens
Computer screens and mobile phones are also major no-nos right before sleep. Ideally you would turn off your phone and computer before bedtime. If you can’t turn off your phone because it serves as an alarm clock, invest in an alarm clock or put your phone on flight mode. Mobile phones, in particular, are extremely detrimental to sleep. Their displays give off blue light, that tricks your brain into thinking it’s daytime, not time to go to sleep.
6. Have a warm bath or shower before bed
It’s a fantastic idea to take a bath or shower as long as it is done one to two hours before bed. An over heated body isn’t conducive to peaceful and deep sleep. Add some magnesium bath salts to help relax skeletal muscles and get your body ready for sleep.
7. Engage in mindful movement
Yoga, Pilates and Tai chi are all great for relaxing the nervous system. Even some mindful stretching before you go to sleep is a good way to assist your body in winding down and feeling less tense and tight.
8. Brain entrainment
At the risk of contradicting point 7, there are some outstanding mobile applications for promoting sleep that can be downloaded. The Brainwave app is one that you could try. Download it to your smartphone, switch your phone to flight mode, put on the headphones, close your eyes, and let the binaural beats alter your brainwave activity in order to help you get a good night’s sleep. It is available here.
9. Disengage the thinking mind
When in bed, place the tongue on the roof of the mouth and concentrate on your breathing. Breathe in and out through your nose to help you take your mind off your mind. Alternatively, try counting backward from 500 to one. Usually people are asleep well before they get to one. Or try breathing in for four counts and out for six counts to help your body be sleep ready.
10. Get your lighting right
Light, or the lack of it, can assist you in sleeping. Aim to be outside in natural light, without sunglasses on in the morning and also go outside during the middle of the day and expose yourself to bright light. If getting outside during the day is not feasible, use a blue light box or try to be near light-filled windows. Here’s a link to one.
If you have tried and tested all of these insomnia remedies and still have trouble sleeping then book an initial appointment with one of the Radius Health practitioners and let’s take a deep dive into how your biochemistry is impacting your ability to sleep.