If you’re not sleeping and you want to try to resolved the problem on your own without having to go to the doctor, the tips in this article might get you there. Although insomnia can often be the result of a physical illness, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes all you need is to make a few changes in your behavior and in your thoughts.
Simple changes in one’s daily routine can be incredibly effective and make a large difference. The following tips describe these changes so that you can incorporate them into your life.
- Go to bed only when sleepy and use the bedroom only for sleep.
- Activities like reading, watching television, or snacking should take place outside of the bedroom.
- If you are unable to go to sleep, go into another room and do something that is relaxing, like reading.
- Watching television should be avoided because it has an arousing effect.
- Return to bed only when you feel sleepy.
- Set the alarm and get up every morning at the same time, no matter how much you have slept, to establish a regular sleep-wake pattern.
- Naps during the day should be avoided. However, if you need to take a nap, then a 30 minute nap early in the afternoon may not interfere with sleep at night.
- Remove coffee, tea and colas, chocolate (which contains a stimulant), and alcohol, which initially makes a person sleepy but a few hours later can have the opposite effect from your diet
- Learn to substitute pleasant thoughts for unpleasant ones. For example, working with imagery and guided imagery techniques can be very helpful in reducing worry.
- Use audiotapes which combine the sounds of nature with soft relaxing music. These, alone or in combination with other relaxation techniques, can safely promote sleepiness.
- Maintain a comfortable bedroom temperature.
- Reduce noise and eliminate light from the bedroom.
- Regularly scheduled morning or afternoon exercise can relax the body. This should be done 3-4 times a week and be sufficient to produce a light sweat.
- Restrict the amount of time spent in bed to the actual time spent sleeping. This approach allows a slight sleep debt to build up, which increases the individual’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
If these above tips do not work, you may want to visit a doctor after all to acquire medication that can help with falling asleep. For instance, medications given for insomnia include sedatives, tranquilizers, and anti-anxiety drugs. These all require a doctor’s prescription and may become habit-forming. It’s also important to know that they can lose effectiveness over time and can even reduce alertness during the day. Furthermore, over-the-counter drugs such as antihistamines are not very effective in bringing about sleep and can affect the quality of sleep.
In fact, it is important that to visit a doctor about insomnia if the problem persists. It could be symptom of a larger physical concern.