It’s bedtime, and you’re tired so you go hit the sack.
You invite sleep by closing your eyes, but sleep ignores your invitation. You toss from left to right and then from right to left, sit up and drink some water and again try your best to get to sleep, but all your efforts fail.
If this happens once or only occasionally, on certain bad days, for instance, you most likely have nothing to worry about. However, if sleeplessness haunts you on a regular basis, you may have a sleep disorder called insomnia.
Insomnia has various causes. It can result from fear, anxiety, stress, or depression. The side effects of some medications interfere with sleep. Mental or physical exhaustion or pain can also cause insomnia. Insomnia can be transient, acute, or chronic, depending upon its severity.
Hundreds of thousands of people pop sleep-inducing prescription drugs and sedatives at bedtime to help get a good night’s sleep. The most common drugs prescribed for insomnia are benzodiazepines. The problem with these drugs is that they become addictive, if used over a long period. There are of course non-benzodiazepine drugs, but these may also cause dependence, both psychological and physical, if used continuously.
In addition, there are quite a few non-prescription sleep-inducing drugs and herbs which are used as sedatives.
Some people resort to alcohol as a sedative, but their sleep will not be of the quality desired. And alcohol consumption is not without its side effects and hangover problems.
Happily, you can overcome insomnia without drugs or pills. Cognitive behavioral therapy has been found quite effective in reducing the problem in many people. This kind of therapy attempts to correct the distortions or unrealistic ways of thinking which appear to be the underlying cause for various types of fear, anxiety, depression or stress, which in turn contribute to insomnia in many cases.
Traditional Insomnia Tips
People have traditionally used various methods for beating insomnia without pills and drugs. Here are some tips you can use to dial down any insomnia issues you may have…
- Drink a glass of warm milk before bedtime. Warm milk contains a natural sedative called tryptophan.
- Adding honey to warm milk will help the body absorb tryptophan faster and will also produce a quicker sedative effect.
- Try taking a hot water bath in the evening just before going to bed.
- Natural nutritional factors in pomegranates will help induce sleep, so try eating one a half hour before heading off to bed.
- Aromatherapy and listening to soft, slow, lilting music are quite effective in producing an atmosphere conducive for sleep.
- Meditation and other mind relaxation techniques are often found to be extremely helpful in this regard.
- Similarly, insomniacs can also try Tai chi, yoga, or acupuncture.
- Avoid stimulants at night. That means no tea or coffee or soft drinks after five p.m. because these drinks contain caffeine that can disrupt sleep.
- Avoid smoking in the night, a couple of hours before your sleeping time. If you can quit smoking for good – all the better.
- Lifestyle changes that help you sleep well are your best bet for beating insomnia.