To quote Fight Club, “When you have insomnia, you’re never really asleep, and you’re never really awake.” It’s the same thing most nights: Check the clock, try to count sheep, and nothing quite works. You start thinking to yourself, “Could I possibly miss another night of sleep again?”
Maybe you’ve tried everything from taking a midnight jog to slurping down 8 ounces of chamomile. The worst part of insomnia is that the more you think about trying to fall asleep, the more difficult it becomes. Somehow, if you do fall asleep and wake up in the morning, it never feels like you got enough sleep.
Remember that insomnia can be cured, depending on the cause, and most times it only requires a little relaxation. Unfortunately, as insomniacs know, this is way easier said than done.
Common Causes of Insomnia
Be sure to check with a medical professional to see if you’re suffering from a physical or psychological disease that may be contributing to your insomnia. Common causes of insomnia include:
- Sleep Apnea
- Thyroid Disorder
- General Anxiety
- Kidney Failure
- Neurological Diseases
Exposure to blue light before you go to bed may decrease your melatonin levels, preventing you from falling asleep quickly. Consuming caffeine or alcohol may do the same. The window between falling asleep peacefully and rolling around your bed all night remains very slim for an insomniac who slowly builds up anxiety with each waking minute that passes.
Sleeping pills may seem like a good, quick-fix option, but that’s all they are. Long-term sleeping pill abuse could have serious side-effects, not to mention the immediate side-effects sleeping pills may include. Some common side effects include changes in appetite, dry mouth, diarrhea, dizziness, memory problems, and more.
Consider trying some alternative treatments and medicines to help prevent your insomnia. Mainly, these alternative treatments are designed to relax your brain for a brief enough moment to finally catch some z’s.
Delta waves represent the slowest brain wave frequency your mind can produce and are typically initiated during the deepest parts of REM sleep. Delta waves are responsible for revitalizing your body and leaving you feeling rested and alert when you wake up.
There are delta wave therapies you can undertake to help you rest at night, many of which you can find online. Deep meditation will also facilitate the production of delta waves during sleep, even though this is a difficult state to achieve.
Consider listening to some binaural beats through comfortable sleep headphones, such as Sleep Phones, to produce delta waves that will help you fall asleep fast and comfortably. Delta waves have also been shown to make people more intuitive and empathic, something that will alleviate the aggression and stress of being an insomniac.
Meditation and slowing down the mind is a pretty hard task for an insomniac. That’s why experts recommend acupuncture, which has had some tremendous clinical trial results for treating insomnia.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese technique that involves placing fine needles into the body at acupoints to regulate the body’s function. Studies have shown that relief of these acupoints may actually assist in the proper facilitation of the respiratory and digestive systems, which are major causes of insomnia.
The sheer release of stress and feeling of wellness received from acupuncture also help the body rest easier and longer. The effects of acupuncture may be magnified with heat, pressure, and electrical stimulus. Consider the idea that acupuncture may also help prevent other physiological diseases, such as headaches, rheumatoid arthritis, and even depression that may have contributed to your insomnia.
There are hundreds of other treatments and specialized programs you can undertake before you have to turn to a pill to sleep. Some common treatments include:
- Regular Exercise
- Guided Imagery
It’s important to discover the source of your insomnia before you blow money on alternative and experimental treatments. The diet also plays a big role in regulating your sleep. Have you ever considered substituting that sleeping pill with an all-natural supplement instead?
Valerian root is a sedative that causes drowsiness and is most commonly used to treat insomnia. Most experts combine valerian root with lemon balm or hops to further sedate the mind and cause sleep onset to come faster.
Valerian root also helps in sleep maintenance and can be used to treat mild pain, such as cramps and joint pain.
Clinical trials have shown that valerian root has been successful in treating insomnia. You should consult a medical professional if you’re taking any other supplements to see if valerian root is safe for your consumption.
Chamomile tea helps relieve stress and promote sleep. Passionfruit tea and many other all-natural teas have been shown to produce the same effect.
According to researchers, most herbal tea contains the chemical glycine, which acts as a sedative that relaxes the muscles and nerve endings. What’s so amazing about chamomile tea is that it actually makes you feel tired, even on those long listless nights of staring at the ceiling and feeling completely awake.
Additional CAM Medicines
According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 30% of adults in the US use some form of complementary and alternative medicines- medicines outside of mainstream Western approaches.
Melatonin supplements have recently gained notoriety in the United States, being dubbed as the all-natural sleep medication. Melatonin is a hormone produced in the pineal gland, which helps facilitate your circadian rhythm. Melatonin is used mainly by individuals suffering from jet lag or an unbalanced sleep schedule.
Consider sucking down on some tart cherry juice. Studies have shown that tart cherry juice helps you sleep 90 minutes longer a night. No matter what CAM supplement you take, it’s ideal to consult a doctor beforehand and to choose your brand wisely.
Take Control of Your Sleep
Did you know that the 8 hours a night thing is actually a myth. Studies have shown that adults may awake feeling rested and ready for the day with only 5-6 hours of sleep tonight; hyposomniacs will feel rested after even less. The keyword is rested, because a successful night’s sleep should leave you feeling rejuvenated. Find the right amount for you and don’t stress yourself out if it isn’t exactly 480 minutes a night.
Furthermore, it’s important to maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Even sleeping in one day on the weekend can make it more difficult to fall asleep at the same time the next night.
Avoid caffeine in the afternoon or drinking alcohol up to 4 hours before you go to sleep. As alcohol leaves the body, it actually acts as a stimulant.
Fatty foods and large meals will also crowd the digestive system and cause indigestion, making it more difficult to fall asleep. Sleep in a dark, cold, and quiet room to create a peaceful environment that promotes the production of natural melatonin.
The key to overcoming insomnia is overcoming your own anxiety and helping alleviate your physical conditions. Only once the body is in working order will the brain also follow along as well.