It’s Miserable When You Cant Sleep, isn’t it?
The morning after a sleepless night, it’s hard to push through the brain fog and think clearly, your performance at work suffers, your head may be pounding, and you tend to snap (or maybe scream) at everyone around you.
Not to mention the long-term effects of poor sleep–such as weight gain, heart trouble, and insulin resistance that may lead to diabetes. Yikes!
Even though my chronic insomnia was eventually solved through homeopathy 16 years ago, there are times when I just cant sleep. Unresolved stress, airplane travel, any big disruption in my normal routine…and instead of snoozing, I’m tossing and turning.
So if you cant sleep, why don’t I suggest you just take the “easy” route and pop a sleeping pill and be done with it?
With their potential nasty side effects and concerns of dependency, prescription sleep medications such as Unisom,, Sonata, Halicon, Lunesta, and others just aren’t the answer. Even doctors that prescribe these drugs will tell you they are not a long-term solution.
So when you cant sleep, what can you do?
If yourisn’t due to a serious medical condition, or a sleep disorder such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (if it is – see a doctor!), try implementing one or more of these seven simple solutions to help you get your Zzzzs.
1. Stick to a Schedule
If you’re going to go to bed at 8 PM one night and 2 AM the next, your poor body can’t get on a steady cycle of sleep. It needs a routine so that it can differentiate between daytime tasks and nighttime rest.
2. Just Say “No” to Stimulants
Caffeine, as well as other brain stimulants like electronics ( , television, and the Internet) can all contribute to your sleeplessness. Put that Blackberry down, turn off your computer, take a news break, and develop a soothing routine at least 45 minutes before bed instead.
Try yoga, meditation, a warm bath, or listening to soothing tunes while relaxing in your favorite easy chair.
3. Move Your Body Toward Sleep
Exercise may be the medicine you need if you cant sleep. Many former insomnia sufferers I know found their sleep problems disappeared once they started exercising.
Exercise in the morning or early afternoon –not right before bed. And you don’t have to overdo it – a moderate 30-minute walk is enough to aid you in your quest for sleep.
4. Stay Cool
If your bedroom is too warm, or you’ve piled on too many covers, you may wake up in the middle of the night and not know why. Ideal room temperatures for sleeping are between 68 and 72 degrees . Temperatures above 75 or below about 54 can disrupt sleep.
Another tip – if you are prone to cold feet, wear socks to bed.
5. Let There Be (no) Light
You may not be aware that you are light sensitive. If you are, even that illuminated on your nightstand may be disrupting your sleep.
Eliminate all light sources in your bedroom (we cover up our alarm clock with a towel every night!), use blackout curtains, or wear a sleep mask.
You never know what simple change may help. A friend of mine who suffered from poor sleep for years finally bought a sleep mask and viola! She nowwell. It turns out she was light sensitive and didn’t realize it.
6. Eliminate (or add) Sound
The most obvious solution here is to wear earplugs. However, some people find them very uncomfortable, so another option is to add soothing sound from a machine to help lull you to sleep. Even the constant light drone of an electric fan may help.
The idea is that your brain focuses on a low, consistent sound which helps you disengage from your real-world problems and drop down into sleep mode.
7. Train Your Brain
Although some people do get good results from white noise machines, I prefer a sound technology called “brainwave entrainment.” The specific rhythmic nature of the pulses (there are no words) embedded into the soothing audio, safely and gently guide your brain into sleep — and help it stay asleep.
Take a look at a brainwave product I recommend.
You’ll find a Free sleep quiz here. You can take the quiz to discover if the tapes may help you, and watch a cool video. (I love the video!)
You can also read about how a retired doctor from SleepTrack tapes.finally beat his addiction to Ambien by using the
Here’s to your great sleep!
Filed under: Insomnia on April 7th, 2009