To pull out an all-nighter from time to time is not a tragedy, but if you experience it one night after another, you have a big problem named insomnia. Insomnia refers to the difficulty of initiating or maintaining sleep, despite adequate conditions. This sleeping disorder affects from 40% to 50% of Americans, while 10 million ask for doctor`s help every year.
It is extremely important to prevent and how to cure insomnia and there are ways to do that. You just have to make some simple lifestyle changes for no more all-nighters. You must have also the best mattress so you can improve your sleep.
- Figure out the type of insomnia you are dealing with
There are three types of insomnia: transient insomnia, short-term insomnia, and chronic insomnia. Each of these has its own characteristics and requires different treatment approach.
Transient insomnia lasts for a few nights or a week and what causes it are stress, excitement, illness, jet leg or a modification in sleep schedule. Fortunately, everything returns to normal quite easily, while sleeping pills are a good choice to ease insomnia without the possibility of dependence.
Short-term insomnia is the one lasting for two to three weeks. Among its causes are a divorce, financial problems, job change or death of a close friend.
The most severe is chronic insomnia which lasts more than three weeks. Even if it`s the rarest, it affects 10% to 15% of Americans. Chronic insomnia can be a symptom of another health problem such as diabetes, heart disease, epilepsy, menopause or arthritis. Certain medications taken for high blood pressure or asthma can also lead to sleeping problems. In the same time, psychological conditions, especially depression, make sleep go away. The best solution to find how to treat insomnia is to identify and treat the deepest cause.
- Make changes in your diet and exercise routine
Stress is the main cause of insomnia, so try to avoid it as much as possible. Lifestyle habits are also among the leading causes of insomnia and some changes are required to be done.
Found in coffee, teas, chocolate or colas, the caffeine causes insomnia and its effect can last even 20 hours. Alcohol is not a sedative, it actually fragments sleep, so try to avoid it near bedtime. Nicotine acts as a stimulant for heart rate and brain activity, consequently quit smoking.
A heavy meal makes you sleepy, but in fact, it keeps you awake while your digestive system functions. Be careful about what you eat before going to bed and avoid foods causing heartburn or gas. On the other hand, there are sleep-enhancers such as milk, calcium, B vitamins and magnesium. The recommended light snacks before bedtime are soy nuts, chicken, pumpkin seeds, cottage cheese and turkey. High-carbohydrate foods also make you sleep better.
A warm bath or regular exercise in the late afternoon is ideal for a good sleep, so you should consider adding them to your daily routine.
- Make improvements to your sleeping environment
Your bed must be extremely comfortable and the best sleep position is the one you are waking up in. Remove large or luminous clocks from your bedroom and control the amount of light, including by wearing a sleep mask.
Use earplugs if your sleeping partner snores or there are annoying sounds. A continuous background sound, a fan, for example, is also a solution for masking disturbing noise. For optimal results, invest in a good sound machine. The white noise or the natural sounds produced by these machines, don’t just block annoying background noises, but they also have a relaxing effect, inducing relaxation and sleep. Moreover, for a restful sleep, try to have a balanced temperature in the bedroom.
- Adjust your sleeping program
You should be sticking with the same program for sleeping and waking up hours. Cut up napping because it leads to poor sleep cycle. Don`t become stressed and anxious if you cannot fall asleep. This will only decrease your chances to actually succeed, so instead do a low-key activity such as reading or a warm bath and go back to bed when you start feeling tired again.
- Take into consideration medical treatments and behavioral techniques
If nothing seems to work, consider taking sleeping pills. They should be used for a short period and in the lowest doses as possible. After two or three weeks they lose their effectiveness as you become either tolerant or addicted to them.
Generally, the prescribed pills come from the benzodiazepine family and among their side effects are motor-coordination and memory problems or hangover feeling. Melatonin supplements are also an option, as this hormone does not have the side effects pills do. 1 to 3 mg taken an hour before bed should be enough. Long-term use does not lower its efficiency, but scientists haven`t finished testing its consequences.
Some of the natural alternatives are the herb valerian, skullcap, passion flower, California poppy and lemon balm.
According to the insomnia support websites, the best natural remedy for insomnia is alteril. This sleep aid has a sedative effect without actually being a sedative. It contains both melatonin and Valerian as well as another 2 powerful natural sleep inducers. Furthermore, the alteril capsules are sold along with a special tea made of natural sleep inducing herbs. The treatment also comes with a relaxation CD, containing binaural beats which stimulate the brain’s alpha waves inducing the body into a deep state of relaxation. Furthermore, this treatment is all natural and doesn’t have any side effects.
If your problem is entirely mental, try relaxation and meditation techniques which able to reduce body tension such as massage, light therapy, and even sex. Sound therapy is also a great way to go. You can apply sound therapy either with a sound machine or by listening to binaural music. However, we advise you to opt for a sound machine, instead of listening to music on your laptop or smartphone as the blue light emitted by electronics is very unsettling and can easily banish sleep. Consider also cognitive therapy, as a therapist can help you surpass the dysfunctional attitudes regarding sleep.