Suffer from sleeping issues? This article can guide you further. In accordance with the CDC, on a given day, as many as one in five adults suffer due to insufficient amount of sleep. Insomnia can affect adolescents, adults, and even the elderly. So you are not alone. Before we learn about how to cure insomnia without medication, let’s learn what insomnia actually is.
What is Insomnia?
Many people assume that the term ‘insomnia’ means a complete lack of sleep. In reality, insomnia encompasses a host of sleeping problems, such as:
a) Difficulty in falling asleep
b) Waking up from sleep during the middle of the night
c) Non-restful sleep
d) Waking up very early
Insufficient sleep resulting from the above can cause:
a) Fatigue, irritability, anxiety
b) Weaken immune system, making one more susceptible to getting sick
c) Weight gain and make it difficult to lose weight
d) Contribute to chronic pain
e) Reduce concentration and focus, which leads to decreased performance at work
f) Reduce motor functioning, making driving dangerous
What Causes Insomnia?
Insomnia can be either acute or chronic. Regardless of how long one has to deal with it, it is never a fun experience. Insomnia can result from stress or a change in routine or any medications that hamper sleep, such as blood pressure medicines, antidepressants and allergy medicines. However, the good news is once you find a way to deal with the situation, your sleep pattern goes back to normal.
In case of chronic insomnia, it can be happening due to more severe health conditions such as anxiety, depression or sleep apnoea. Insomnia can also be an outcome of crappy sleeping habits such as sleeping in an unhealthy environment, eating too many fatty snacks before bed.
Treatments of Insomnia
Sleeping pills and sleep-promoting pharmaceuticals might offer a short-term solution to insomnia. However, prescription sleeping pills often come with unpleasant side effects such as daytime fatigue, headache, dizziness, sore muscles, constipation, and more.
These don’t add up to a healthy, sustainable solution. Consuming sleeping pills is a lot like crash dieting; they might be working for a short time. But if you are looking for a long-term solution, you have to build healthy pro-sleep habits. These habits will be more beneficial in the long run as compared to medical cures for insomnia.
Ways to Cure Insomnia Without Medication
Below we have listed a multitude of lifestyle changes – both small and big – that can help you in sleeping better and managing insomnia without medication. The following ways will give you a better insight into how to get over insomnia without drugs.
1. Taking Time to Exercise
Studies have shown that insomniacs who exercise for 30 minutes three to four times a week sleep for nearly an hour more than sedentary individuals, and they also wake up less frequently during the night.
Being physically active is necessary for sleeping better. Many pieces of evidence prove that people who choose to exercise regularly tend to sleep better than their couch potato counterparts – especially those who suffer from chronic illness. Exercising is one of the most suggested and practiced methods to treat insomnia without medication.
2. Get Some Vitamin D
The sun might be forcing you awake in the morning, but it is also necessary for helping you in achieving a restful sleep at night. This is because your body relies on natural light to figure out what time it is and determine whether to pump out energizing hormones or ones that will make you sleepy and relaxed, like melatonin. Daylight helps the body’s natural clock – that is dictated by the 24-hour cycle of day and night – understand when to stay awake and when to feel sleepy.
Know everything about Vitamin D here
3. Take Steps for Managing Stress
If you always find your mind racing with thoughts, stress could be stealing your ability to fall asleep. It gets worse as you are wiped out during the day, making you feel even more anxious and irritable. With time, this can turn into a vicious cycle. There are several effective ways of easing feelings of stress and promoting relaxation. A few are:
a) Journaling – Writing things down makes you feel light, as if you have put down the weight from your shoulder into a paper. It also helps in focusing and appreciating the good things of life.
b) Progressive muscle relaxation – Relaxing your body can be just as useful for relaxing your mind.
c) Guided imagery – Experts suggest that mind games that are guided imagery will help one in dozing off faster. It is one of the easiest practices.
4. Avoid eating pro-sleep foods
It is important to avoid eating some foods before bedtime such as – coffee or other caffeine-rich stuff, fatty foods, and spicy foods – since these tend to reduce sleep. On the other hand, here are some foods that you should eat which are believed to help induce sleep:
a) Almonds – These nuts contain plenty of grog-inducing tryptophan. Almonds are a source of both magnesium and calcium; two minerals experts suggest are necessary for quality sleep.
b) Cheese – Cheese too is rich in tryptophan. It is an amino acid necessary for producing the neurotransmitter serotonin that the body needs to feel sleepy and relaxed.
c) Low-fat milk – If you are being kept up by uncomfortable heartburn, try a glass of milk. The combination of low carbs and high protein will help soothe acid reflux. Also, it is a good source of calcium.
d) Salmon – You’ll sleep better if your body is given adequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acid DHA. Other fishes rich in omega-3 are sardines, tuna, or mackerel.
e) Cherries – They are the only edible source for the sleep hormone melatonin. If they are not in season, you can opt for frozen cherries for cherry juice. Studies have shown that cherries have helped people with insomnia sleep for 90 minutes more.
Hope the above tips get you sleeping again!