According to the Nielsen Media Company, which tracks television viewing habits in the United States, some 20 million Americans are watching TV at 2:00 in the morning. But that’s only a fraction of the people who are kept awake by insomnia.
Perhaps you fall asleep easily, but wake up at 3:00 A.M. and can’t fall back to sleep. Or maybe you wake up and fall asleep several times each night, but rarely get one lone, uninterrupted stretch of restful, refreshing sleep. All these problems are insomnia.
“People think that insomnia just means trouble falling asleep,” says Peter Hauri, Ph.D., director of the Mayo Clinic Insomnia Program in Rochester, Minnesota, and co-author (with Shirley Linde, Ph.D.) of No More Sleepless Nights. “Actually, it’s any problem with falling or staying asleep.”
It is estimated that 30 million to 60 million Americans-mostly women-experience chronic sleeplessness, and 10 million consult doctors for the problem. Half of all American adults have taken sleep medication at some point in their lives, and millions use sleeping pills frequently.
Insomnia is a common sleeping problem, but luckily, most people suffer from it only occasionally. Chronic insomnia (that can last for months or even years) is a rare and serious condition. However, even temporary insomnia is harmful and can make you exhausted and unable to perform daily tasks. Not to mention it can lead to anxiety, mood swings and depression. It is therefore essential to treat this condition as soon as possible.
Ways to Get Rid of Insomnia
Mellow with melatonin. This hormone is involved in regulating sleep. Several studies have demonstrated its sedative effect, but melatonin has been used as a sleep aid for only a few years. Its long-term safety is still unknown.
Melatonin is available over the counter in health food stores and most drugstores. Use it according to the package directions. Melatonin is not appropriate for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding or who are considering pregnancy. Nor should it be taken by anyone who is prone to depression; who is taking an antidepressant; or who has diabetes, epilepsy, migraine, or rheumatoid arthritis. Possible side effects include nausea, headache, giddiness, difficulty concentrating, and daytime sleepiness.
Defy deficiencies with a multi. “Deficiencies in the B vitamins, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, and zinc can contribute to sleep problems,” Dr. Hauri says. By eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, you can cover your nutritional bases. As insurance, clinical nutritionist Shari Lieberman, Ph.D., recommends taking a daily multivitamin/mineral supplement that supplies all of these nutrients.
Buy a homeopathic sleep aid
Depending on your specific insomnia symptoms, a homeopath might prescribe any of a number of medicines. Homeopath Dana Ullman frequently recommends Arsenicum, Coffea, Ignatia, Lycopodium, and Nux vomica.
Many health food stores and some drugstores now carry homeopathic sleep aids. If you try one of these products, take it according to the package directions.
Take tea and sleep
Many medicinal herbs are gentle sedatives. James A. Duke, Ph.D., recommends chamomile, catnip, hops, lavender, lemon balm, passionflower, and valerian. With the exception of valerian, you can enjoy these herbs in teas, either individually or in combination. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of herb to 1 cup of boiled water, steep for 10 minutes, then strain.
Valerian is very effective, but it has an unpleasant taste. As a tea, the herb is virtually undrinkable. Look for capsules or a tincture in health food stores and drugstores. Use it according to the package directions.
Change your lifestyle
The way you live during the day affects your sleeping habits. Eat healthy and drink plenty of water. Exercise. Exercise a lot, but don’t make your body exhausted. Regular exercise helps establishing a healthy sleeping cycle, not to mention it’s beneficial for your overall health.
Try to take control over stress and relax as much as possible
Once you go to bed, try not to think about things than make you worried, such as problems with your boss. Take deep breaths and try to be as calm as possible. Try not to over think, and avoid stressful thoughts at all costs.
Watch what you eat
Your eating habits can ruin your sleep. Avoid eating too much before going to bed. Excessive drinking is also a bad idea, since it can force you to get out of bed and go to the bathroom. And you don’t want any distractions when you go to sleep! Also, avoid caffeine or alcohol before going to bed.
Use natural remedies, such as Valerian root
It can make you relaxed in no time and even a single dose can make you sleep. More than that, it can make you calm and relaxed. It helps decreasing stress level so it’s good to use it if you’re anxious.
Establish a healthy rhythm
During the 24-hour cycle, your body goes through physiological changes. Think about having a biological clock that tells your body what to do during a 24 hour cycle. Sleep is an integral part of this cycle, and in order to invoke it, you need to establish a steady rhythm. You should go to bed at the same time each nigh, even if you’re not sleepy. Similarly, you have to get up at about the same time each morning. This will help regulate your sleeping rhythm.
[ Read: How To Handle Postnatal Insomnia ]
Make sure your bedroom is quiet and comfortable
Don’t try to sleep on a couch if you don’t have to. Wear comfortable clothes and make sure the room is quiet and that you feel completely relaxed in it. Darker colors and soft pillows are effective for creating a comfortable atmosphere for sleep.
Don’t rely on sleeping pills
These pills might help at one point, but prolonged use makes you immune to their effect. So, try to avoid sleeping pills and concentrate on other solutions offered here.
Seek professional medical help
Insomnia is a serious issue and it shouldn’t be treated lightly.