When people lose sleep, it’s called insomnia. Insomnia may be short term (acute) or long term (chronic). It might manifest itself as the inability to fall asleep at first, or it might be that a person is unable to stay asleep all night long. Waking up too early in the morning without being able to go back to sleep is also associated with insomnia.
Losing sleep is a common problem in today’s culture. At least one third of people suffer from some type of insomnia at some point in their lives. And more than half of Americans have trouble sleeping because of stress or anxiety in their lives. In fact, generally people today sleep up to 20% less overall than people did 100 years ago!
How to Cure Insomnia Naturally
Although many people think that simply having a pill to cure their insomnia would be the best, medical interventions for sleep are not idea. A significant number of side effects and potential for addiction mean that pharmacological treatments for insomnia are rarely used—particularly in chronic cases when insomnia happens more than three nights a week for three weeks or more.
Most doctors believe that curing insomnia naturally is the way to go. If insomnia is a symptom of an underlying condition, the curing that disorder may be the answer. But sometimes insomnia is a side effect of another medication, or some other problem that can’t be cured by eliminating the cause. In this case, natural remedies and homeopathic treatments are typically recommended.
Natural Ways to Cure Insomnia
Several options exist for curing insomnia naturally. Often the process of natural treatment for insomnia is a process of trying several things to see what works for each individual. Many times, a combination of several methods combined will work together to help you fall asleep faster at night and stay asleep for the whole entire night.
Creating an ideal environment for sleep is more important than you might think. Your brain and body need to be sent the message that it’s time to rest in a relaxing place. And setting yourself up for a successful night’s sleep means getting your bedroom in order. Here are some environmental aspects to consider:
- Temperature. The ideal temperature for sleeping is between 60 and 67 degrees F. Any warmer than this and your body won’t be able to rest well.
- Noise. If you live in a noisy neighborhood or have a roommate who snores, you may consider wearing earplugs, using a white noise machine, or playing soft music.
- Light. Outside lights can tell your brain that it’s time to wake up, even in the middle of the night. Use room darkening curtains or blinds to keep out the light. Wearing a sleeping mask may also do the trick.
- Bed and Pillows. If you’re physically uncomfortable, you probably won’t sleep well. Your mattress shouldn’t be too firm or too soft. If your pillow is old, get a new one.
- Safe Space. Don’t make your bedroom your workspace or your brain may relate the work you do in bed to stress. If your bed is a safe space reserved just for sleeping, relaxing, and sex, then your mind and body will respond to the signal that it’s time to sleep when you get into bed.
Sleep Aid Supplements
Some people have trouble sleeping because they have a shortage of certain natural substances that their body needs. Consider ways that you can boost your intake of these nutrients through your diet or supplements. It may take a few weeks to see any results, and you should check with your doctor prior to taking any supplements.
- Melatonin. This is a critical hormone your body converts from serotonin. Sunshine is an important part of producing melatonin. But if you can’t get it from the sun, try a dietary supplement.
- Vitamin B6. This vitamin has a relationship with tryptophan, a substance your needs to help produce melatonin. B6 also helps reduce stress and anxiety, particularly when it is combined with magnesium.
- Magnesium. This mineral seems to be vital for sleep as people who are short on it often develop insomnia. Magnesium decreases the production of cortisol, a stimulating hormone related to stress, which means it gently helps you to relax, fall asleep, and stay asleep. Take a supplement about an hour before bedtime or eat a bedtime snack of a leafy salad or a handful of nuts.
Creating habits takes a few weeks but a relaxing bedtime routine can change everything for a person who is having difficulty falling asleep. Sleep is not an on/off switch but is more of a process to get from being wide awake to falling asleep. Try out these natural options to see what works for you in the form of sleep hygiene to fight off insomnia.
- Bedtime. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Even if you don’t have to work, your body sets a circadian rhythm which helps you sleep better overall.
- Eat Early. Large meals too late at night can cause indigestion and keep you from sleeping well. Keep your dinner light and eat early if you can. A light bedtime snack is okay, especially if you choose foods that help you sleep such as a handful of almonds or walnuts.
- Routine. About an hour before bedtime, start preparing yourself for bed. Stop working and turn down the lights. Take a warm bath, drink a cup of herbal tea, practice relaxation or breathing exercises, listen to soft music, do some gentle bedtime yoga or stretching, or read a book (an actual paper book—not an electronic one). This will prepare your brain and your body for the fact that it’s time for bed.
- Scents. Essential oils can be helpful in offering an extra boost for relaxation. Lavender, chamomile, and Ylang ylang on a pillow sachet, in a warm bath, or diffused into the air for about 30 minutes prior to bed can help your mind and body sleep better all night long.
- Power Down. Blue lights from electronic devices may be hijacking your ability to sleep. At least an hour or two before bedtime, turn off your computer, television, smartphone, and tablets. This will help your brain detox from the stimulation of the blue lights.
Sleeping is something that comes so naturally when we are babies. But somehow, as adults, our ability to sleep can become limited due to stress, anxiety, health issues, or other problems. Taking into consideration your sleep environment, bedtime routine and possible sleep supplements can help you get back on track with your ability to sleep. It might take some time, but slowly you’ll find a combination of things that work to cure your insomnia naturally.