Have you been staying up way until 2:00 am or later?
Do you feel extremely exhausted, the days seem to and anxiety has started to set in?
Are you reading this late at night just because you can’t sleep?
Or you’ve been desperately looking for answers on why you can’t fall or stay asleep all night?
If so, you are not alone…
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has declared that today is Insomnia Awareness Day. Each night millions of people in the U.S. struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep. For some this is only a brief problem. But for others, insomnia can become a severe, ongoing struggle.
How common is insomnia among adults? Here are the numbers:
• 30 to 35% have brief symptoms of insomnia.
• 15 to 20% have a short-term insomnia disorder, which lasts less than three months.
• 10% have a chronic insomnia disorder, which occurs at least three times per week for at least three months. (source)
You have tried sleeping pills, new pillows, mattresses, white noise, soothing sounds you name it– to no avail.
I know it can be frustrating but that is the least of your concerns. Lack of sleep has been linked to several diseases like depression, cardiovascular disease,Type II diabetes, weakened immune system, high blood pressure, chronic inflammation, digestion issues, and the list goes on. Worry some right? It’s ok! I know that’s why you are here, and I am going to finally help you find ways to fall and stay asleep once and for all.
First, let’s dive into the reasons behind insomnia and what this monster is all about…
Let’s Learn About The Possible Reasons for Insomnia
Insomnia in its initial stages is not a chronic condition. Chronic insomnia conditions are serious when patients have been known not to sleep for days altogether. This will naturally need an experienced sleep disorder professional help in order to cure the underlying cause for insomnia.
Did you know that insomnia or sleeplessness is one of the most common sleep disorders found in living beings? Even birds and animals suffer from insomnia.
There are many factors which may contribute to those “White nights” when you just cannot drop off into those really necessary forty winks. That is when you spend your time watching the ceiling, drinking some water or nibbling something, reading a book – even browsing on the Internet for natural insomnia cures and remedies for insomnia…- or trying the 101 other recommended ways to get rid of insomnia. But all to no avail…
Just remember that you need sleep as much as you need to breathe and eat. While you’re sleeping, your body is busy tending to your physical and mental health and getting you ready for another day. In children and adolescents, hormones that promote growth are released during sleep. These hormones help build muscle mass, as well as make repairs to cells and tissues. Sleep is vital to development during puberty.
When you’re deprived of sleep, your brain can’t function properly, affecting your cognitive abilities and emotional state. If it continues long enough, it can lower your body’s defenses, putting you at risk of developing chronic illness. The more obvious signs of sleep deprivation are excessive sleepiness, yawning, and irritability.
Chronic sleep deprivation can interfere with balance, coordination, and decision-making abilities. You’re at risk falling asleep during the day, even if you fight it. Stimulants like caffeine are not able to override your body’s profound need for sleep. (source)
Insomnia can be caused due to stress and strain. Professional, personal, emotional, physical and mental worries can contribute to you undergoing a sleepless night. Such an occurrence happening once in a blue moon should not be a cause of worry. However, if you find you getting much less than your eight hours recommended normal quota of sleep every night for more than five days running, it is time to see a doctor.
A change in lifestyle can also prevent you from sleeping.
Did you go to bed too soon after a heavy meal? Are your surroundings noisy? Is your bed lumpy and your mattress too soft or too hard? These are just some of the reasons why you may not find it easy to drop off to sleep the moment you get into your bed. You should be asleep within 7 to 10 minutes in a normal sleep routine cycle.
Understanding Why and How Insomnia Develops
In his article about One of the Most Common Causes of Insommnia, Dr. Mercola talks about a particular condition, which confirms what I have been discussing through out the article. Let your mind rest and try to control those “unwanted thoughts”. But how do I do that you ask? Here is an excerpt from his article that I found quite interesting:
The most commonly reported sleep disorder is insomnia; having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, or the inability to get quality sleep throughout the night.
According to Dr. Naiman, one of the most common symptoms of insomnia is a condition called “cognitive popcorn:”
“Cognitive popcorn is something that occurs when you put your head down, trying to go to sleep or trying to get back to sleep in the middle of the night, and suddenly your mind starts to produce all of these thoughts.
They’re unwanted thoughts, uncontrollable thoughts. It’s as if the mind has a mind of its own. That’s a very common complaint that keeps people awake.”
In order to understand why you can’t sleep, you need to understand that sleep is the outcome of an interaction between two classes of variables: sleepiness and “noise.
- Sleepiness – Under normal conditions, your sleepiness should gradually increase throughout the day, peaking just before you go to bed at night. This is ideal, as you want your sleepiness to be high at the beginning of the night.
- “Noise” – refers to any kind of stimulation that inhibits or disrupts sleep. If noise is conceptually greater than your level of sleepiness, you will not fall asleep.”Noise” occurs in three zones: the mind level, body level, and the environmental level.Dr. Naiman gives this example: “If you’re energized during the day, you’re feeling passionate, you want to move, be productive and so on, that’s great. But if that experience occurs in the middle of the night, that becomes a kind of noise.”The most common type of mind noise, however, is the “cognitive popcorn;” unstoppable thoughts running through your mind at night. Examples of body noise include pain, discomfort, indigestion, side effects from prescription drugs, or residual caffeine from drinking coffee too late in the day. Environmental noise is usually obvious, such as noises in your room or house, a snoring partner (Learn about a natural snoring device) , music, lights, or a bedroom that’s too warm.
In order to get a good night’s sleep, you want your sleepiness level to be high, and the noise level to be low.
According to Dr. Naiman, more often than not, the reason why people can’t fall asleep is NOT because of lack of sleepiness, but rather because of excessive noise and over-thinking. Read the full article here(source)
So How Do You Get Rid of Insomnia Naturally?
If you find it difficult to fall asleep in the initial stages, here are 11 techniques for insomnia which are guaranteed effective:
1. Take a Bath or Shower
Take a bath or hot shower and relax, to unwind and get rid of the tiredness of the day. Add Epson salts (sooth and relax achy muscles), a few drops of lavender oil, or set up your aromatherapy kit.
2. Soothing Music
Playing your favorite music softly while taking a bath or under the shower has been proven to help you rid of anxiety, stress and help you relax. The Journal of Advanced Nursing advises that music improves the quality of sleep in adults, older women, and adolescents. Additionally, like we all ll know, lullabies help newborns or infants drift away to sleep– in most cases. Try the adult version of lullabies to help you sleep.
3. Gadgets in The Bedroom (A Big NO NO!)
Stop using electronics in the bedroom! Electromagnetic Fields (EMF’s) are known to interrupt sleep cycles and are responsible for a host of symptoms such as: muscle pain and weakness, fatigue in the mornings, heart palpitations, irritability, allergies, and most importantly the weakening of your immune system. To naturally protect your home and room get a Himalayan salt lamp This is the one I use which I use in my office and bedrooms and will help in reducing the exposure to harmful EMF’s.
4. Don’t Eat Before Bed
Make sure that you go to bed three to five hours after having a light dinner. Heavy dinners may cause you to toss and turn instead of dropping off to sleep because your metabolism is busy digesting instead of resting.
5. Peaceful Environment
Make sure that your bed is comfortable. A firm mattress (This is what I use) is usually favorable especially for those with aches and pains. However, the most important part is that you are comfortable. If you still cannot sleep even after the lights have been switched off and find your mind working busily, try this relaxing exercise – Stretch your body and loosen all your muscles.Then stretch your arms above your head, and let your loosened muscles fall into place naturally. Take deep breaths slowly and rhythmically – inhale, exhale.
6. Comfortable Dark Room
Make sure there is no direct light shining on your face while you sleep. A darkened room can tell your brain to “switch off.”Use thermal insulated blackout curtains or blackout blinds (these are what I use in my bedroom) and that we should all should use. They provide complete privacy and block out all light. That is what we use at home and not only do they insulate the room but they truly block light and even noise.
7. Temperature is Important
The ideal temperate to get a good night’s sleep should be no higher than 68 F. or at least 73. Anything above that will raise your body temperate, which makes your body sweat more and therefore uncomfortable.
8. Relax, Unwind
Try making your mind a blank by concentrating on a pleasant visual “mind picture.” Visualize the sky or the ocean or anything that makes you happy. Thinking of your horrible day at work, family or relationship issues or anything negative affects your mood. Additionally, refrain from watching negative news, shows or stories. You need a good state of mind to go to bed. Focus on positive things or even read a book. The blue light in gadgets tells your brain to “switch it on”. See step 3.
9. Drink Relaxing Teas, Healing Drinks or Supplement
10. Good ‘ol Warm Milk (Almond, Coconut works too)
Drink a glass of warm milk with honey. This is the best natural soporific and it has been used effectively to put over- energetic children to sleep down for centuries. It works wonders with adults too. Allergic to dairy? Use almond, coconut or your favorite “milk”. You can also try this turmeric healing drink.
11. Don’t think… Tomorrow is Another Day
Try not to think. Even try not to talk to yourself, especially on the lines of “this is what I am going to tell him/her tomorrow, while at that meeting, lunch etc…” [People do, especially when they cannot sleep.] Pretend that you are already asleep. You are slowly going to find yourself drifting off to sleep.
The above are some easy to implement tips and techniques on how to get rid of insomnia naturally. However, if your normal sleep cycle has been disturbed, and you find it difficult to sleep for more than one week, I highly suggest you consult with sleep disorders specialist. There may be an underlying issue that must be addressed immediately.
Do not self-medicate to induce a good night’s rest either, it has been proven that sleeping pills do not work. Mercola has a really good article about it here.
Hope these tips on how to get rid of insomnia naturally helped you get a restful night.
Have you been dealing with insomnia and if so, what have you done to overcome the issue? Did you use any of these tips? Do come back and tell us!