Learn how to deal with insomnia in the most natural and safe ways possible, so you can optimize your energy, mood, vitality, and health throughout the day.
How to Cure Insomnia Without Resorting to Sleeping Pills
What is Insomnia? For most people, insomnia simply refers to a severe lack of sleep.
More Than Just Lack of Sleep
“Severe lack of sleep” is a very general description of insomnia. It’s a condition that covers multiple sleeping problems including:
- Having a hard time falling asleep;
- Waking up at ungodly hours in the night;
- Waking up too early in the morning; and
- Shallow sleep, i.e., non-restful sleep.
There are two kinds of insomnia: acute and chronic. Acute insomnia persists for a short period of time only and is often caused by temporary circumstances and environments.
For example, a person who’s anxious about defending a thesis may find it hard to sleep nights before the defense. After the defense is over, that person’s anxiety may end, which could normalize nightly sleep again.
On the other hand, chronic insomnia persists for at least three times a week for over three straight months. There are many factors that can cause chronic insomnia, including sub-optimal sleeping environments, poor sleep hygiene or habits, medication, and clinical disorders.
Chronic insomnia can be managed naturally or with medication. Fortunately, many cases of insomnia are linked to poor sleeping habits and sleeping environment, and can be managed naturally.
The following are some of the best and natural, i.e., prescription-less, ways to deal with both chronic and acute insomnia.
1. Consider Implementing a Caffeine Cut-Off
When a person drinks caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, or energy drinks, it can take a while before they’re flushed out. Until then, caffeine can make a person feel awake.
Studies show that caffeine, in general, has a half-life of about 5 hours. This means if a person drinks 50 milligrams of caffeine now, half of that (25 mg) will still be in that person’s blood after 5 hours.
The article acknowledged that the stimulating effects of caffeine vary in intensity and duration depending on the person taking it. People who aren’t used to it may stay stimulated for up to 10 hours while those who drink it regularly may experience shorter and lower intensity stimulation from the same.
A good rule of thumb is to drink coffee, tea, or caffeinated drinks no later than 2:00 in the afternoon. For regular caffeine drinkers, the stimulating effects of caffeine will often subside enough by the time they hit the sack.
For people who aren’t regular caffeine drinkers, it may be better to keep caffeine drinks in the morning only. Otherwise, they’ll probably stay awake all night.
2. Turn off Electronic Gadgets an Hour Before Bedtime
Electronic gadgets like smartphones, TVs, and computer screens emit blue light, which can trigger the body’s production of daytime hormones like cortisol. Also referred to as a stress hormone, cortisol stimulates both body and mind and can make it very hard to fall asleep.
For an easier time falling asleep, electronic gadgets must be turned off at least an hour before going to bed. This gives both body and mind enough time to settle down and relax in preparation for sleep.
And by off, it doesn’t just mean turning down the screen’s brightness. It means putting them on silent mode, or better, disconnecting them from Wi-Fi to avoid sleep disruptions due to notifications.
3. Drink a Natural Sleep-Inducing Beverage
Many recovering insomniacs swear by their sleep-inducing beverages of choice. If it works for them, there may be something there.
Some of the best natural sleep-inducing beverages include:
- Chamomile tea;
- Valerian tea;
- Herbal tea with lemon balm; and
- Warm milk.
4. Avoid Heavy Meals in the Evening
Eating a heavy meal shortly before bedtime can make the stomach work harder to digest all that food. As a result, it may cause stomach discomfort before and during sleep.
Eat normally for dinner and as much as possible, eat dinner two to three hours before bedtime. Doing so can give the stomach enough time to digest the food, so come bedtime, it won’t cause discomfort.
5. Keep the Bedroom Sacred
When people use the bedroom for anything other than sleep and sex, they become used to being awake in bed. As a result, they have a difficult time sleeping at night and end up suffering from insomnia.
One of the best ways to deal with non-medical insomnia is to associate the bedroom with sleep and sex only. And to do that, one must remove work desks, computers, TVs, and other stimulating things from the bedroom.
6. Exercise at the Right Time
Regular exercise, especially cardiovascular workouts, can help improve both duration and quality of one’s sleep. However, doing so raises body temperature for an average of four hours after working out.
One of the biggest hindrances to ease and improve the quality of sleep is body temperature. So, it’s important to time workouts in such a way that it doesn’t raise body temperature before hitting the sack.
To enjoy the sleep-improvement benefits of regular exercise, don’t schedule workouts within four hours prior to bedtime. That way, there’s enough time for the body to cool down.
7. Use a Weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets are blankets that contain microglass beads that distribute a specific amount of weight over the users’ bodies.
Weighted blankets can weigh anywhere from four to twenty-five pounds. The people who use the blankets should choose the blankets’ weight based on their own, to maximize the therapeutic benefits these blankets can deliver.
One possible reason why weighted blankets help people sleep much better is deep pressure stimulation. This is a kind of touch pressure that makes people feel like they’re being swaddled, massaged, or hugged — all good things if you want to lull yourself to deep and restful sleep.
The even pressure exerted on the body also helps the user feel calmer and more relaxed, thus inducing sleep and improving sleep quality further.
There are many different ways to deal with insomnia without having to resort to medication. And today, you learned seven of them.
While each of these seven tips can help manage insomnia individually, using them together with other insomnia-battling tactics may help optimize the duration and quality of your sleep every night. Always keep in mind that when it comes to dealing with insomnia effectively and naturally, a holistic approach (and one guided by a doctor, especially if you are on any medication) is much better.
Which of these seven insomnia-busting tactics appeal to you the best and why? Sonno Zona is committed to helping people sleep well at night, and if you have other ideas on how to naturally deal with insomnia, let us know in the comments section below.