This article originally featured on www.restorenaturopathy.com.au.
You sit there, lying in bed, just staring up at the ceiling and your brain won’t shut off! Welcome to insomnia! Having trouble falling asleep can be one of the most frustrating feelings in the world! According to the Centre of Disease Control, one in five people suffer from episodes of insomnia.
Insomnia symptoms not only include not being able to fall asleep, but waking up in the middle of the night or early in the morning, as well as not getting a restful sleep. If you are affected by one of these issues, here are five solutions you can try to help fall asleep and stay asleep.
1. Try meditation
From our experience we see part of the problem with insomnia is that your mind doesn’t have a chance during the day to ‘unwind’, ‘unravel’, or ‘unclutter’. Think about it- how can you unclutter and sort your thought ‘inventory’, if you’re always having new thoughts from your daily life? There’s just no time to handle the complicated ones…until night time that is! This is where meditation comes in. It gives you a space to just sit there, unravel and think.
You can try guided meditation exercises specifically designed to address insomnia or you can develop a regular meditation routine before bedtime to help you sleep. Meditation can help you get to sleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night.
Studies conducted by Stanford Medical Center and the University of Massachusetts Medical School used meditation to help insomnia patients improve their sleep habits. The studies found that the participants fell asleep faster, within 20 minutes instead of 40, and six to 12 months after the studies, 60% of the participants in both studies retained the benefits they had learned during the studies.
2. Develop an exercise routine
Regularly scheduled exercise will not only keep your body healthy, but it can help you sleep better as well. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise on a daily basis, but keep vigorous routines a few hours away from nap time! Some people find a good work out too close to be can have a stimulating effect and keep them up! If you’re one of these people but still want to exercise maybe try more soothing or relaxing exercises like stretches or light yoga routines.
3. Develop good bedtime habits
By having a sleep schedule and using a relaxing bedtime routine, you can help keep insomnia at bay. Try to stick to the same bedtime and waking time everyday of the week. Don’t sleep in on the weeks or indulge in naps, too often.
Develop a relaxing routine to do before you go to bed, whether that is taking a warm bath, drinking a cup of herbal tea or doing muscle relaxation exercises. By keeping the same routine, your body will adjust and you will find easier to fall asleep.
4. Make the environment sleep friendly
To help with your insomnia issues, make your bedroom a sleep haven by removing all electronics from it. Don’t watch television in bed and don’t use your bedroom as an office. Switch your digital alarm clock for a mechanical one to remove sources of artificial light in the bedroom (if you’re one of those people that finds it distracting).
Adjust the temperature in your bedroom so it isn’t too cold or too hot, use comfortable pillows and sleep in loose, cotton clothing. Your bedroom should be used for only two purposes, sex and sleeping.
5. Reduce stress to get better sleep
Worrying about your job, the overdue bills or your family can keep you awake all night. Although it won’t be easy, try to put everything out of your mind before you go to bed. Read a good book, listen to relaxing music or do breathing exercises before you get in bed.
Sleep is so important for so many conditions and if you find you’re not getting between 7-8 hour of sleep AND waking up feeling refreshed, perhaps a chat with your local Naturopathist will help.