7 min read

I Can't Sleep

Unable to fall asleep? This is an issue growing day by day. To combat this, more individuals are taking drastic measures to get their desired and required sleep.

This includes using prescription sleeping pills, or other sleeping pills, as sleep aids. But using medication because of sleeping problems should be seen as the last Hail Mary. There are plenty of natural ways to treat sleep disorders and chronic insomnia without resorting to medication. The best part is, it will not require much effort to fall asleep or stay asleep during the night.

Suffering from Sleep Problems?

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People laying awake at night, having trouble falling asleep, are pressing issues seen haunting more and more. This is where good sleep hygiene comes into play. By applying sleep hygiene and relaxing bedtime routine as part of daily life, the chances of sleepless nights are a thing of the past. No more sleep deprivation, but instead a good night's sleep. Laying awake at night, having to get out of bed, trouble going back to sleep can all be resolved without having to take medication.

 

Common Reasons Why People Cannot Fall Asleep

With everything that has been going around the globe, people working from home, financial difficulties, amongst other things, there is no surprise that more people are finding it harder to sleep. Below, we will list some of the most common causes as to why you cannot fall asleep faster:

  • Suffering from sleep disorders
  • Sleep apnea
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Uncomfortable bed
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Constant worry over things one is unable to affect
  • Negative thoughts
  • Sitting behind brightly lit screens for too long
  • Inability to turn the brain off prior to going to bed (unwind)
  • Getting some form of medical treatment
  • Drinking caffeinated beverages near bedtime
  • Looking at the time, seeing the minutes fly by
  • The room temperature is too high or low
  • Suffering from a health disorder
  • Eating too close to bedtime

 

This list could go on and on. These are but a few of the reasons that could be preventing someone to fall asleep at night.

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7 Sleeping tips for Treating Insomnia

Find up-to-date helpful tips with the latest natural sleep remedies, and tips to prevent waking up in the middle of the night. These include relaxation techniques, mindfulness meditation, soothing music, calming activities, the right light settings, all with the object to reset the biological clock telling the body it feels sleepy and it is time to for bed.

 

1. Try keeping a sleep diary to see how much sleep you need.

To get a better understanding of the sleep required on a daily basis, keep a sleep diary. Keep note of the times, going to bed and waking up, thus potentially eliminating the vicious cycle preventing good sleep habits. Take note whenever you did not sleep enough and the cause of it. Was it due to negative thoughts, chronic pain, irregular sleep schedule, restless legs syndrome, alcohol consumption or simply due to tossing and turning? It is also important to note down the reactions and feelings that this brought up.

At the end of the month, review the sleep diary to examine any patterns to get a better understanding of the optimal number of sleep hours to aim for each night.

 

2. Sleep tonight using meditation and relaxation techniques.

Meditation can be an effective practice to promote better sleep as it mimics sleep in many ways. The basic practice of sitting meditation revolves around being motionless yet alert in a static position for a set amount of time. During this period, the focuses are often to concentrate on the breath, calm the mind and intentionally try to notice the sensations and physiological changes happening in and surrounding the body from moment to moment.

During sleep meditation, research has shown that the practitioners’ blood pressure drops, their pulse slows down, stress hormones decrease and breathing slows as well. All of these contribute to a calmer physical, mental and emotional state. This positive result can resonate for the rest of the day and into the evening when it is time to go to bed. Think of meditation as a practice for sleep. Read our sleep meditation article for more information on the subject. 

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3. Introduce yourself to yoga Nidra.

Yoga Nidra is a meditative and yogic practice that helps achieve a deep level of relaxation. The level of relaxation is so profound, that it puts the practitioner on the brink of sleep. Yoga Nature is best practiced with a guided meditation by a professional teacher. If none are available, recorded audio of guided meditation is an alternative to achieving this meditative state.

Many people use Yoga Nidra to help them sleep better as it brings them close to sleep. These individuals will often allow themselves to pass through the yoga Nidra relaxation state into sleep. Alternatively, the practice can be carried out regularly during the day, and its long-term effects can result in better sleep and provide some of the best rest experienced. Learn more about this practice by reading our Yoga Nidra for Beginners article. No more staying wide awake at night, being a night owl, having trouble staying asleep or experiencing another bad night.

 

4. Optimize your sleep environment.

Investing in your sleep environment can be a great way to improve sleep and it might also be fun. Optimizing sleep environment by removing digital devices, creating an ambiance of soft light at the bedside, improving the fragrance with essential oils or other scents, and getting cozy with comfy sheets and pajamas.

Making the sleep environment more comfortable makes sleeping more enjoyable and could result in the best sleep in a long time.

 

5. Build a sleep routine.

Start getting ready close to bedtime, at least 30 minutes before the desired time. Have a routine that helps wind down the body and mind. For example, start by putting on the pajamas, dimming the lights, playing some soft or calm music, reading a book, or listening to a guided meditation. This routine can help tell the brain to get into bedtime mode. Try this instead of abruptly shutting off the lights all at once and expecting to fall asleep straight away. It will also improve the quality of sleep during the night.

 

6. Beware careful with naps.

Sometimes, naps are great but they can also be disruptive. It is always best to avoid naps because the minimum seven hours of sleep a human requires should be carried out all at once for optimal health. Instead of naps, try to stick to a sleep schedule to ensure quality rest because this allows the body to get into a rhythm and an appropriate cycle. A sleep schedule helps the body to know when it is time for sleep and promotes quality sleep during the night.

 

7. Exercising Regularly

Taking up yoga or pilates as physical exercise could be the simplest solution to treat insomnia and regulate sleep. By sticking to a regular exercise schedule, you will drain the body of energy, making it feel tired, requiring sleep. Thus when it is time for bed, there will not be any issues falling asleep, at the same time day after day.

 

Tips on Falling Asleep

Below are some tips provided to help you sleep at night. Some of these tips have been medically reviewed by different medical associations and proven to have positive effects against insomnia.

  • Introduce soft music or a sound machine at bedtime to help the body to relax
  • Try Blue Light in the bedroom. Scientific evidence has proven that this help provide a good night's rest
  • Try progressive muscle relaxation through meditation
  • Listen to how the body feels
  • Exercising regularly has proven to have a positive impact on sleep cycles
  • Avoid screens and refrain from using electronic devices in the bedroom
  • Keep the lights low or turned off if they are distracting
  • Take a warm bath before bedtime
  • Avoid watching television before going to bed
  • Stay away from caffeine and other stimulants
  • Avoid substance abuse
  • Avoid large meals shortly before going to sleep
  • Try one of the many different breathing exercises that helps you relax and with it, increase your chances of sleep. 

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Sleeping aid to Help Improve your Sleep

 

Besides the methods mentioned above to help improve sleep hygiene, there are several aids available to help improve sleep quality at night. A healthy sleep schedule along with some of these aids might be needed to improve sleep habits.

  • Sleeping Mask: Using a sleeping mask to eliminate bright lights could help improve sleep quality. Many individuals have issues sleeping due to unwanted illumination or natural light from outside. 
  • Earplugs: Besides light, another disturbing factor to the sleep cycle or ability to fall asleep at night could be noise. Some of the market's best earplugs for sleeping will help alleviate these issues. This could be anything from noises outside to a partner snoring. Earbuds for sleeping are not only easy to use but also not really noticeable when trying to fall asleep.
  • Noise Cancelling Headphones: Like listening to calm music or being on the move, traveling, and simply wanting to try and get some sleep during the trip, a set of good noise-canceling headphones could be the solution. Headphones for sleeping are not really new but the technology has really progressed in terms of noise cancellation. They serve the same function as some of the best earbuds offer. This is why you see many travelers today wearing headphones.
  • Choose the Best Pillows and Mattress: Two crucial elements to a good night's sleep are having the correct pillow and mattress. To avoid constant and recurring neck or back pain, speak to a professional to select the best-suited pillow and mattress.
  • Sleeping Chair: If you are unable to sleep in a bed, then a sleeping chair could be the solution. It will recline and help get into a more comfortable position. Listening to some calm music along with it, or if the noise level is too high or the lights too bright, use earbuds along with an eye mask.

 

Consult with a Sleep Specialist

There is nothing wrong with seeking professional help to resolve chronic insomnia, given the side effects it could bring if left untreated. Talk to your doctor, mental health professional, or sleep specialist on the best way to approach this, to get advice, diagnosis, or treatment if not just for informational purposes. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is often used to treat chronic insomnia and is an excellent alternative to sleep medicine. We at Anahana also stand ready to assist you with meditation, mindfulness, stress management and improving sleep hygiene for everyone out there, all of which will provide better sleep at night.

 

Taking Sleeping Pills Should be the Last Resort

Going down the road of using sleep medication, especially sleep medicine prescribed by a doctor as a sleep aid is a very dangerous route to take. Many prescription sleep medicines are highly addictive and extremely difficult to stop using as they will give symptoms of withdrawal.

Choose a natural sleep aid instead, which all can help improve sleep quality without the need for a sleeping pill. We strongly recommend trying to avoid taking sleeping pills. They should only be used as a last resort. Before resorting to this type of sleep remedy, consult with a doctor who can provide medical advice, if needed.

 

References

  1. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2110998
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005796717300190
  3. http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2009/issue61/
  4. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s41465-018-0068-1#Tab1
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3328970/
  6. American Academy of Sleep Medicine
  7. Cleveland Clinic
  8. National Sleep Foundation
  9. Harvard Medical School

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