Insomnia is usually characterized by trouble falling asleep or waking up in the middle of the night and being unable to go back to sleep. Studies show that the latter problem is more common than the former. If you’re dealing with insomnia of either kind, it can be extremely stressful. Lack of proper sleep can cause a range of health problems and interfere with your focus during the day. Take a look at five natural ways to deal with insomnia that don’t involve prescription drugs.
1. Set Some Sleep Rules
To start, laying in your bed in the morning while awake can cause you to associate your bed with being awake. Once you’ve been awake for about 20 minutes in the morning, you should get out of bed and go to another part of your bedroom or house. If you lay awake at night trying to fall asleep, you might also try getting out of bed at this point and trying a restful activity somewhere else. You should also try setting strict sleep rules about when you go to bed and get up. For example, if you go to bed at 10 PM and then lay awake until midnight before sleeping until 8 AM, you’ll likely keep doing this every night.
2. Get a New Mattress
This might seem obvious, but it’s very possible that your old or uncomfortable mattress is causing your sleep problems. A worn mattress doesn’t always cause intense physical discomfort. Sometimes it just causes enough slight discomforts to interfere with your sleep. Consider getting a modern gel memory foam mattress instead of the traditional spring style. Memory foam molds to your body and soothes all the pressure points that make you sore and uncomfortable. Gel memory foam includes a layer of cooling gel that absorbs heat. Memory foam also doesn’t move or jiggle like spring mattresses do. If a partner or pet moving around at night is interfering with your sleep, then a memory foam mattress might solve that as well.
3. Limit Your Eating and Drinking Before Bed
It’s a good idea to stop eating or drinking anything other than water at least two hours before you go to bed. Eating too close to sleeping can cause the digestive activity to keep you up. It might also give you heartburn or acid reflux. You might think that drinking alcohol will help you fall asleep, and it might initially, but it will wake you up later in the night when the effects wear off. Similarly, reduce your caffeine intake throughout the day and definitely several hours before you sleep. This includes tea, coffee, energy drinks and soft drinks. It’s best to only drink water in the few hours before you sleep, but you can also try herbal tea or warm milk.
4. Don’t Use Electronics Right Before Bed
The light emitted from cell phones, tablets, computers and even the TV can all cause you to stay awake longer than you want. Not only that but looking at social media, reading news articles and watching shows can all keep your brain working and not relaxing into sleep mode. Instead of using electronics before bed, try listening to relaxing music, doing some yoga or taking a warm bath. You can also try relaxation exercises or meditation. If you tend to lay awake thinking about everything, you might also try journaling or writing down plans for the next day before you go to bed. The point is to not have these things keep you awake or wake you up in the middle of the night.
5. Create a Relaxing Sleeping Environment
It’s also important that your sleeping environment is relaxing and restful. Make sure that your bedroom is peaceful with a stable temperature and a minimum of noise. If you sleep next to a window and outside sounds keep you up, consider closing that window at night. If light from outside keeps you up, then you might also consider installing blackout curtains to keep it out. Similarly, if you have a pet that sleeps with you and it moves around a lot, you may have to consider moving it outside of your room.
If you have persistent problems with insomnia, you might consider talking to a sleep therapist after following these natural tips.