Insomnia is defined as not being able to fall asleep, or not being able to get back to sleep between the hours of 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. Insomnia happens to most people. Often we lie sleepless when we are overburdened, overstressed, depressed, in pain, or when our sleep patterns are impeded by naps or interruptions. There are no cures for sleeplessness, yet here are some tips on How To Naturally Relieve Insomnia:
1. Build a cave and block out the world.
Light and noise disturbances can interfere with sleep. The easiest way to fall asleep and stay asleep is to build a modern day "cave" in your sleeping area. Even the smallest light, like that from your alarm clock, can prevent a decent slumber. Darken your bedroom, shut off all of the lights, and even buy a sleep mask and earplugs if necessary. To decrease noise, often "white noise" assists in blocking out sounds. There's no need to purchase an expensive white noise machine, often a box fan will suffice (just turn it toward a wall during colder weather.) Be certain to designate your "cave" as a sleep refuge and chances are, you'll be sleeping in no time.
2. Get comfortable.
We all remember the fairy tale of the princess and the pea, the little girl who couldn't sleep despite layers of mattresses all because of a little pea between the mattresses and the floor. The same holds true in life. One of the easiest ways to drift to dream land is to build a comfortable boat. Transform your bed into a haven of luxury using your preferred choice of blankets, pillows, and sheets. Be certain to check the thermometer and keep the temperature within your bedroom somewhere around 68 degrees Fahrenheit. You will fall asleep easily and perhaps sleep better when you get comfortable.
3. Avoid caffeine for at least 8 hours before bed.
When one suffers from insomnia and other sleep disturbances, it's easy (and tempting) to compensate for exhaustion by consuming caffeine. Studies have shown that caffeine has a detrimental effect on the quantity and quality of sleep and many sleep experts advise to limit or altogether avoid caffeine to remedy insomnia and other sleep difficulties. If you can not eliminate caffeine from your system, be mindful to not consume coffee, tea, or other caffeinated beverages for at least 8 hours before bed and insomnia may become a thing of the past.
4. Get outside during waking hours.
Babies, even newborns who spend 18 hours or more sleeping, who are not exposed to sunlight and fresh, outdoor air, often have trouble sleeping. The same holds true for adults. Scheduling time outdoors, despite poor weather, allows your body to reset natural circadian rhythms, or the biological, physiological, or behavioral 24 hour cyclical process of living organisms. Daylight affects circadian rhythms by adjusting external cues (called zeitgebers) and often decreases sleep disturbances.
5. Establish a bedtime ritual.
People are creatures of habit and often building a bedtime ritual is one way to relieve insomnia. Turn off the television, avoid computers, and spend at least one half hour daily indulging in a calming activity you enjoy. Sip a cup of decaffeinated tea, curl up with a book, leaf through a newspaper, meditate, or engage in a quiet activity you enjoy in dim light (so as to not stimulate circadian rhythms mentioned above.) Regularly winding down before bed will help naturally relieve insomnia.
6. Consider your pillow a thought free zone.
Stress and anxiety build up during waking hours when we're preoccupied with our daily activities. Often thoughts catch up with us when our head reaches our pillow and turning in for the night. Designating your pillow as a "thought free" zone and training your mind to comply will help you fall asleep. The easiest way to block racing bedtime thoughts is to schedule 5 to 15 minutes of your day to think about and process your day. Concentrating during the day on identifying stress or anxiety evoking triggers. Plan how to better manage negativity and alleviate pressure. And hopefully, you'll sleep better for it.
7. Try homeopathic remedies.
Visit your local whole foods store and pick up a handful of herbs, in pill or leaf form, to increase your chances of getting a good night's rest - just be sure to check with your doctor regarding dosing and any potential medication interactions. Melatonin, Chamomile, St. John's Wort, 5-Hydroxytryptophan, Passionflower, Valerian, Calcium/Magnesium, Hops, Aconitum Nappellus, Arsenicum Album, Cocculus, Coffee Cruda, Nux Vomica, Ignatia, and Vitamin B12 are all great natural alternatives to most physician- prescribed sleep medications. Be certain to try each herb individually for at least one week before switching to an alternative. Also be certain to take the smallest dose possible. As an added bonus, herbs do not have harmful side effects (as long as dosing is correct and medication interactions are not present) nor do herbs have any "hangover effects," unlike pharmaceutical drugs, thereby making herbs a great option to relieve symptoms of insomnia.
8. Erotic Pleasure.
Post peak, erotic pleasure (in the form of an orgasm) releases endorphins which act as natural, calming tranquilizers. Endorphins also decrease pain and relieve tension. So the next time you're having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, indulging in erotic pleasure may help alleviate sleeplessness.
9. Relaxation Exercises
After you settle into bed, get comfortable and try relaxation/breathing exercises. Take a deep breath and exhale slowly. Lie still and use your awareness to tighten and release the muscles throughout your body, beginning with your feet. Focus on inhaling deeply as you tighten the muscles in your feet, and exhale slowly as you release them. Work up your body, tightening each muscle while inhaling, and releasing each muscle as you exhale. This is an excellent way to cleanse the body and mind of anxiety and prepare for sleep.
10. Don't obsess about not sleeping.
If you're having trouble falling to sleep, don't worry about it. Studies have proven that those who feel anxious about sleeping often have trouble doing so. If you're still having trouble after 20 minutes of trying to nod off, get up out of bed and try again later.