There was a time, and not too long ago either! – When I would have given my very soul in exchange for just one complete and blissful night of uninterrupted sleep. For years – A LOT of years!! – I just couldn’t stay asleep; I would wake up every hour, all night long. This type of sleep interruption is called Sleep Maintenance Insomnia.
Occasionally, I would also suffer from the inability to fall asleep which is called Sleep Onset Insomnia. However, most nights, I fell asleep just fine – and when I would wake up, I usually had no trouble going back to sleep. Nevertheless, I was still just not getting enough sleep.
If you’re interested in learning more about how much sleep you’re actually getting each night, visit the Lunesta sleep calculator. The Lunesta website also provides helpful information on insomnia, whether you decide to use Lunesta or try other sleep remedies.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, indicators of insomnia include:
- Daytime sleepiness
- Problems returning to sleep
- Trouble falling asleep
- Unrefreshing sleep
- Waking up repeatedly during the night
- Waking up too early in the morning
Recurrent insomnia will eventually begin to have overwhelming negative effects on your physical and emotional health. Such as, mood disorders – irritability, depression, anxiety, memory loss, impaired judgment, and even hallucinations.
In addition, there are numerous physical symptoms (just to mention a few) – hormonal and tissue changes, (our bodies complete tissue repair and regeneration during sleep, and vital hormones needed for health and wellness are only released during sleep) weight gain or loss, muscle aches or muscle fatigue, and even heart problems.
Insomnia can have a vast variety of causes, such as stress, illness, medications, schedule change, and of course – for no apparent reason at all. In addition, insomnia is becoming more common in our society, especially as people get older, but children also suffer from insomnia.
In the United States, it’s estimated that over 60 million people suffer from some form of insomnia each year – and for at least 35 percent of these poor, tired souls, their insomnia is long-term and chronic.
With all of these people not getting enough sleep, you’d think that something could be done about it… right? The pharmaceutical companies have done something to help us; they invented a zillion different types of “sleep aids” and medications.
There are more than 50 million prescriptions written for sleeping pills in the United States every year, and an estimated $100 million is spent yearly on over-the-counter sleep medications.
I’ve tried them – sometimes I feel like I’ve tried every sleeping pill known to medical science. Unfortunately, most of them don’t actually work, and the few that do, well, they don’t work for very long.
Moreover, doctors say that you should never take a sleeping pill for more than two weeks because your body becomes dependant on them, not to mention all the physical and mental side effects.
So what is an exhausted, sleep-deprived person to do? I knew that there had to be a better, more effective, less dangerous and less expensive alternative to all the pills that aren’t working anyway.
That’s what I decided to find, not just a remedy for my insomnia, but an actual CURE.
The first step in my search for sleep was to try to find out why I wasn’t sleeping. I talked with my doctor, and determined that there was no physical, medical reason for my insomnia – no illness that the sleeplessness was trying to tell me about.
I also knew that there were no new stresses in my life, nothing I was worrying over, or any life changes that would affect my sleeping habits.
That didn’t leave me with a clear and easy cause for my insomnia – it did leave me with the conclusion that what had happened was that at some point, I had taken what was probably a temporary bout of insomnia, and nurtured it into the life disrupting disaster it had become.
Regardless of why I wasn’t sleeping, I still needed to find a solution. I started researching insomnia and BOY OH BOY! I never imagined how much information was available on the subject! It took me a while, but I finally found what proved to be the answer I was looking for.
All I needed to do was retrain my body and mind to sleep better! Ha! It sure sounds simple doesn’t it?
It actually sounded to me like the most daunting challenge I might ever have faced.
How does one completely change one’s lifestyle and sleeping habits?
Well, it takes time and it takes dedication – but the end result is more than worth the effort. And once you begin to implement the changes, it gets easier and soon the techniques will become effortless.
The following is a comprehensive, simple guide to a natural and self-reliant cure for insomnia. This strategy finally allowed me to sleep for 8 hours every night. Sometimes even 9, if I got off my computer and went to bed before midnight!
- Increase exposure to sunlight – at least 30 minutes of natural sunlight daily is needed for regulating sleep patterns and melatonin production (that’s the natural chemical our bodies produce for sleep).
- Increase stimulating activity during the day.
- Physical exercise
- Mentally challenging activities
- Turn your “bed room” into a “sleep” room.
- Make the room as relaxing as possible – paint the room a soothing, calm color, get pillows and fabrics that are calming to you.
- Remove anything in your bedroom that might distract you from sleep, such as noises, bright lights, an uncomfortable bed, or pillows, or a TV or computer in the bedroom. This was probably the hardest part for me, learning to sleep without the TV on!
- Also, keep the temperature in your bedroom on the cool side; it will help you sleep better.
- Only use the bedroom for sleeping (and intimacy of course, if you share the bed with a significant other).
- Develop and maintain a regular sleep schedule.
- Go to bed at the same time every night, and wake up at the same time everyday – even on the weekends.
- Practice a relaxation method and routine. These exercises are very helpful for genera life stress control as well, and we can all use all the extra help in that area we can get!
- Deep breathing – This supplies your body with as much oxygen as it requires for a deep, comfortable sleep. In addition, deep breathing assists in relieving tension and stress.
- Yoga – The stretches and breathing exercises promote inner peace and balance of mind and body – which will help you relax for sleep
- Meditation – Allow your mind to empty of thoughts, or focus on a calming thought or image. This is really hard to do at first, so it might be easier if you have a picture to look at – of a beach or whatever place or object makes you happy or relaxed.
- Develop a relaxing bedtime routine.
- Take a warm soothing bath with herbal bath oils – lavender, passionflower, valerian, and chamomile are beneficial for sleep. Turn off the bright overhead light, and use a low light or even candles for a more relaxing effect.
- Drink a cup of warm herbal tea – Passionflower, chamomile, lavender, valerian, and motherwort, linen flower, hawthorn flower – these teas contain relaxing elements that encourage and enhance sleep.
- Listen to a sleep soundtrack – Sound therapy sleeptracks are becoming progressively more popular because they are very convenient and effective. The sleeptracks are designed to be relaxing and soothing.
- During the day, avoid things that might contribute to your insomnia.
- Avoid eating heavy meals 3 hours before sleep.
- Avoid energizing exercise 2 hours before bedtime.
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol before sleep – decrease your daily consumption of caffeine.
- Avoid daytime naps, especially late in the day – even if you feel like you desperately need one, unless it would endanger yourself or others – for example, if you have to drive.
It will take a while for you to get comfortable with the techniques, and for the methods to begin working. While you’re working on changing your life, there are interesting and effective medical remedies that you can try.
- Massage Therapy – deep muscle massage helps promote tissue health and reduces inflammation, it also reduces stress and tension.
- Acupuncture – is being used now to treat insomnia and other medical conditions and disorders.
- Light Therapy – is used to treat seasonal insomnia.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy – is beneficial to patients whose insomnia is related to depression or other emotional or psychiatric disorders.
Also, there are natural sleep aids, which are beneficial for short term use, and don’t have the possible side effects as prescription or over-the-counter sleeping pills. There is an abundance of information out there regarding herbal remedies for insomnia. The list below contains proven effective herbs that will help you ease your insomnia.
- Melatonin – our bodies produce this naturally for sleep, but stresses in our lives, or changes in sleep routines can cause disruptions in melatonin production.
- Valerian – is an herb that offers sedative properties, without negative side effects.
- St. Johns Wort – can relieve insomnia caused by certain chemical imbalances in the brain.
The essential key to curing your insomnia – is to learn ways to reduce your stress levels so that your body and mind can learn to sleep soundly and productively. Once you have done that, the “rest” is easy!
Good Night! And Sweet Dreams!
[Editors Note - When it comes to getting rid of insomnia FOR LIFE Yan Muckle, founder of Sleep Tracks, is no doubt one of today's top 5 researchers and authorities on the subject. The guy has mastered some really cool tricks for sleeping like a baby! Whilst it's still online, do yourself a favor check out some ground-breaking discoveries Yan reveals in his eye-opening video by clicking here. ]