If you struggle with sleepless nights, try these sleep-inducing suggestions.
"Help me sleep!" This cry of desperation is much more common that you may think. If you're having trouble getting the rest you need, take a deep breath, try to relax and consider these suggestions.
Insomniacs, you're not alone. According to WebMD, approximately 15 percent of adults experience chronic insomnia. Science Daily reports about many studies across the globe researching to understand insomnia in order to manage and treat this sleep disorder effectively. Finding the cause of insomnia is crucial to appropriate and successful treatment.
Do you have insomnia? If any of these conditions apply to you, you may be suffering from insomnia:
- trouble falling asleep—taking 30 minutes or more to fall asleep
- waking repeatedly during the night
- not sleeping long enough and waking too early
- waking tired and feeling not refreshed
Always check with your doctor for a proper diagnosis if insomnia is suspected.
Suggestions for better sleep. The first line of treatment is the least invasive. Try these simple ideas for better sleep quality:
- Stick to a sleep schedule. Consistency is key.
- Avoid daytime naps.
- Incorporate moderate exercise into your routine to improve sleep quality.
- Don't eat large meals close to bedtime.
- Don't exercise late at night.
- Avoid caffeine, cigarettes and alcohol.
- Keep the bedroom dark at night.
- Use the bed for sleep and sex only.
- Keep the TV out of the bedroom.
- Avoid clock-watching. It increases anxiety.
Alternative therapies. Most grocery stores and health food stores carry products that can help you sleep. Make sure you check with your doctor and verify that there are no contraindications with existing medications or health problems before trying any of these suggestions.
- Melatonin. Your body produces its own melatonin during the day with exposure to sunlight and releases it at night. As you get older the production of melatonin may decrease. The Mayo Clinic states that supplementing your natural supply may be an effective treatment for insomnia. The recommended dosage is between 0.3 and 5 milligrams per day.
- Valerian. The active ingredient in the valerian root is valerenic acid. It's thought to have a mild sedative effect. Valerian is available in supplement form. The typical daily dose ranges from 400 to 900 milligrams daily (extract 0.4 to 0.6 percent strength).
- Diphenhydramine. The antihistamine in Benadryl and various other over-the-counter medications causes a drowsy feeling in some people. This medication is marketed in products for allergy relief and as a sleep aid.