Insomnia can be one of the most frustrating sleeping disorders. During the night, you lie awake, dreading the sunrise, knowing that you’re going to be exhausted the next day. When you do have to get up and start the day, you feel horrible and tired and wish you had been able to fall asleep. Seeking out a sleep specialist is an option as are sleep aids, but those can be expensive and, in the case of medication, lead to abuse. Try these three natural remedies first.
Examine Your Diet
The first step in treating your insomnia is looking at what foods you eat and when. How much caffeine do you consume each day? Do you drink coffee/energy drinks after five o’clock? If so, you will want to cut back and/or limit caffeine after noon. Alcohol is the next beverage to look at. Even if drinking makes you drowsy and helps you fall asleep, it can make you wake up in the middle of the night. Treating insomnia is about going to sleep and staying asleep.
Most doctors recommend to limit food intake 2-3 hours before going to bed. Try to keep a normal eating schedule with a balanced breakfast, a light lunch, and a dinner that won’t make you hungry a few hours later. You don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night and raid the fridge.
Create a Bedtime Ritual
Your body naturally finds patterns and schedules in your day, whether they’re healthy or not. Setting up a series of rituals that you do each night will help tell your body that it needs to get ready to sleep, and the body will adjust accordingly. Consider taking a shower before you sleep or soaking your feet in warm water. Turn off the TV and read a little each night before bed. Consider knitting for 10-15 minutes to calm down. Changing what you do to something healthy and relaxing before bed will make falling asleep easier.
Set the Mood in the Bedroom
We’re not talking about a romantic mood, we’re talking about little things you can do to remove distractions and make falling asleep easier. First, the bedroom should not be your dining room and home office, remove these distractions and try to only spend time there at night, when you’re about to sleep. Next, move your clocks out of view, this will keep you from staring at them all night in frustration. Finally, make the room dark, quiet, and cool. It might be worth investing in blackout curtains or a white noise machine to help eliminate the stimulation from the outside world.
Oftentimes insomnia is a symptom of a larger problem that should be checked out by your doctor or at an urgent care. Most people who suffer from anxiety and depression have trouble sleeping. Other conditions like Parkinson’s disease, sleep apnea, and bipolar disorder can keep people up at night as well. Even allergy or high blood pressure medications have side effects of insomnia. If you’re seeing a doctor or specialist for another condition, mention your insomnia. They might be able to help by adjusting your treatment.