Insomnia Treatment Ideas on How to Fall Asleep
Up to about one-third of the population have symptoms of insomnia. Those with insomnia typically experience:
- Decreased alertness and performance
- Muscle aches
Depression during the day and night
- An over-emotional state (tense, worried, irritable, and depressed)
While it may be very difficult to get to sleep at bedtime, you find yourself "out like a light" in front of the TV, at a movie, reading, or even driving. And anticipating getting a poor night's sleep as well as developing rituals and behaviors you think will help your sleep (going to bed earlier) may actually have the opposite effect -- and make the problem worse. Such is the plight, misery, and danger of insomnia.
Many of us experience temporary insomnia from a few days to a few weeks. This kind of insomnia usually results from normal events in our lives such as:
- A stressful event
- Emotional stress
- Temporary pain
- Disturbances in sleep hygiene (environmental factors under your control that may contribute to disturbed sleep and insomnia)
- Disruptions to circadian rhythm (the 24-hour rhythmic regulation of our body processes)
When stressful situations resolve, when you recover from illness, when the pain goes away, when sleep hygiene improves -- then sleep usually improves.
insomnia is caused by medical or psychological conditions, treatment will focus on those underlying conditions. When poor sleep quality itself is the major problem, for many years the primary treatment has been sleep medications, particularly sedative-hypnotics, to relieve symptoms. More recently, there has been increasing support for therapies that involve modifying behavior and lifestyles. These two approaches—sedative-hypnotic medications and behavior therapies—may be prescribed jointly, with the medications helping to provide a good night's sleep and the therapies encouraging long-lasting changes in approaches to sleep.
Being prepared for bed means more than turning down the sheets. Sleep therapists know that there are many factors involved in each person's ability to sleep well. Here are examples of therapies that help you develop habits and beliefs that will promote good sleep quality.
Relaxation therapy. People with poor sleep habits often lie in bed with their minds racing through thoughts and concerns. This therapy teaches and applies methods for tensing and relaxing different muscle groups, as well as attention-focusing techniques, such as meditation, which can help stop sleep-disturbing habits.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps you to recognize certain beliefs you hold about yourself and sleep, to change those beliefs that might be locking you into unhealthy patterns, and to introduce positive behaviors that will help you create an inviting environment for sleep. Studies of cognitive-behavioral therapy's effect on people with insomnia have shown good and lasting results in reducing interrupted sleep.
1. Play a soothing relaxation tape or CD. Pop in a tape or a CD with soothing nature sounds. Play it at a low volume. Let the sounds of the beach, forest, or a rainstorm lull you to sleep.
2. Get up. If you can't sleep, get out of bed. Grab a book. Read for half an hour to an hour. Now, try again. You may be able to sleep, finally.
3. Take a warm bath. Can't sleep? Relax body and soul in a warm tub full of sea salts or bubble bath. Be careful not to fall asleep in the tub!
4. Practice self-relaxation. Starting with your toes and working your way up to your head, tighten and loosen all of the muscles in your body. Tell yourself over and over, as you are doing this, that you are getting very sleepy.
5. Try deep breathing to relax yourself. Take full, deep breaths. Feel the oxygen fill your lungs. Feel your body as it pulls in and pushes out with each inward and outward breath.
6. No naps! Don't take a noon nap or an afternoon siesta. Get up early and stay up all day. Go to bed at a reasonable hour. This should help you to get a peaceful night's rest.
7. Avoid caffeine after dinner. Don't forget this doesn't mean just coffee... tea, chocolate, and soft drinks all include caffeine.
8. Don't stare at your alarm clock, focusing on how little sleep you are going to get! This will only raise your stress level, making it harder to sleep. If you have to, cover the digital display on your alarm!
9. Use your bedroom as a bedroom should be used, for sex and sleep. Don't watch TV in bed. Don't bring your laptop to bed. Don't use your bedroom as an office/sleep space! Create a soothing, relaxing environment for sleep and intimate encounters with your significant other.
10. Set the thermostat at a temperature that will help you fall asleep. If it's too hot, or too cold, you are bound to toss and turn. Find a comfortable temperature for sleeping and set your thermostat there every night before bedtime.
11. Increase your exercise level. Take a morning or evening walk on a daily basis. Just by slightly increasing your exercise level, you can help yourself get to sleep quicker at night. You'll also sleep more soundly!
12. Mellow out for an hour or so before bedtime. Take an hour of quiet time before you try to sleep. Read. Meditate. Just relax. This helps your body to want to go to sleep!
13. Save your worries for another time. If you lay down and begin to worry about bills, health, loved ones, whatever, then you aren't going to sleep. Focus on soothing scenes and pleasant emotions at bedtime. Save your worries for the next day.
14. Arrange to have sex with your mate before going to sleep. This is a great way to relax. Keeps your spouse happy, too!
15. Try the age old trick of counting backwards from a thousand with your eyes closed. Get under the covers, close your eyes, and start counting. Hopefully, you'll never even reach 900.