“If you have an insomnia disorder, you probably need to see somebody who specializes in insomnia, you might need extra help,” says Michael A. Grandner, Ph.D., of the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania. Insomnia can be treated using non-medication approaches but many people haven’t heard of remedies beyond pills. According to a recent CDC study, 9 million U.S. adults use prescription sleep aids to ensure quality rest. But sleeping pills aren’t always effective or safe.
Natural Sleep Aids:
Spend around 10 minutes writing down what is really troubling you (anything from work or family concerns to some issue) in a diary before getting into the bed.
Take a warm bath. Water tends to be soothing psychologically and help to get rid of the stress. Relaxing in the tub raise the body temperature slightly, the rapid cool down after bath will mimic the natural temperature drop and the brain triggers as it prepares for sleep.
Say a prayer before bed. A simple mindfulness meditation may also do the trick. A 2009 study found that meditators slept longer and better because of the deep relaxation powers of the practice. Even just some deep breathing can help to clear your mind and better prepare you for sleep.
Take a walk. Taking a leisurely walk before turning in can really help. According to the 2013 National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep in America poll, the physically active people get better sleep than people who don’t work out.
Relax your muscles. This is an old-fashioned technique, progressive muscle relaxation promotes overall physical relaxation with a number of benefits on its own. Start down at your feet and your way up the body, focusing on relaxing each part, one at a time. It reduces fatigue and improves sleep quality.
Spending some time cuddling with a partner before bed stimulates the kind of emotions that are by nature calming means a better sleep.
Do not consider your bedroom a war zone. Make a few changes to make it comfortable. The bedroom should be quiet, with a right temperature. Lavender is the scent you’re searching for if you want more and better sleep. The Wall Street Journal in 2008 reported that smelling lavender helped a small group of women with insomnia fall asleep more easily.
Cut the caffeine earlier. To avoid problems at bedtime, cut yourself off after lunch. Caffeine-free herbal tea may actually help you sleep. Many “Sleepy Time” teas are made from the same compounds used in supplements that promote sleep, like valerian or chamomile. Nicotine is also a stimulant, and may lead to sleep disturbances during the night. In 2008, Johns Hopkins researchers found that smokers were four times as likely to say they woke up feeling tired in the mornings than nonsmokers.
Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia or CBT-I is the gold standard for insomnia treatment. The method with the most scientific evidence to support it, says Kelly Glazer Baron, Ph.D., M.P.H, a sleep researcher and neurology instructor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. It involves meeting regularly with a therapist for various sleep assessments, according to the National Sleep Foundation.