10 Ways to Treat and Manage Insomnia

Insomnia is an incredibly common condition. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 68.8% of US high school students experience some form of inadequate sleep. This shocking statistic reflects just how common insomnia and sleep problems are in our society. 

What Treats Insomnia?

Insomnia can be caused by a wide range of conditions, ranging from everything from an uncomfortable bed to serious medical problems. Treating this condition is all about understanding your specific case and finding out what it takes to help you get to sleep.

Here are 10 ways you can manage insomnia…

10. Get Out of Bed

This first tip might seem counterintuitive, but getting out of bed can actually help with your insomnia. Anxiety, frustration, and mental alertness can all worsen or cause insomnia. In order to combat these causes, sometimes you need to get out of bed before you can get to sleep. 

Why Getting Out of Bed Helps

If you are feeling restless in bed or having trouble falling asleep, try getting out of bed for a moment. Rather than staying in bed and trying to fight your insomnia, you can try reading in a comfortable chair or doing some breathing exercises. This will help cut down on the anxiety that is keeping you awake.

Getting out of bed when you can’t sleep also helps promote a healthy sleep environment… 

9. Change Your Sleep Environment

The environment that you sleep in can have a dramatic impact on your insomnia. This includes distracting forces like noises and lights as well as how comfortable your bed is. All in all, each of us has a unique sleep style. Making sure your sleep environment is aligned with that style is important in the fight against insomnia. 

Why Changing Your Sleep Environment Helps

Making sleeping more comfortable seems like an obvious change, but there are surprising factors that might be making you sleep worse. That means there can be many ways to fix this issue. These resolutions can be easy fixes like putting your phone on silent, getting a more comfortable bed, or adding more blankets for warmth. This process can also include more difficult changes like dealing with noisy neighbors, reducing glaring street lights, and bracing yourself against the weather.

Another simple change that can have a major impact is creating a regular sleep schedule… 

8. Create a Regular Sleep Schedule 

Our sleep schedules have gotten more erratic than ever; being able to have a regular sleep cycle that fits your body’s natural rhythm is rare today. It’s more important than ever to listen to your body and have a sleep cycle that fits what your body needs.

Why Creating a Regular Sleep Schedule Helps

Having a regular sleep schedule helps your body to fit back into its natural circadian rhythm. This rhythm is the internal clock of our bodies, and one of the things it controls is our sleep pattern. We get our best sleep when we listen to this internal clock. Perhaps the best way to help this internal clock? Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. 

Another way to help yourself get to sleep easier is to workout during the day…

7. Exercise During the Day

A little exercise can go a long way to improving sleep quality. There are plenty of health conditions that are improved with a good exercise routine and insomnia is no different. Even mild exercise like a brisk walk or yoga can improve your sleep. 

Why Exercising During the Day Helps

Exercising during the day helps to burn off excess energy that can make us anxious at night. Exercise can also improve other conditions that lead to insomnia like mental health concerns and heart disease. It’s important to avoid exercising right before bed, though, as that can make insomnia worse. 

On the list of things to avoid before bed, caffeine is probably at the top… 

6. Drink Less Caffeine 

Caffeine is the go-to drug for staying awake and boosting focus. All over the world, people enjoy caffeine in their coffee or tea as a way to add some pep to their day. However, consuming too much caffeine or taking caffeine too close to bed can cause insomnia. 

Why Drinking Less Caffeine Helps

Drinking less caffeine can help you get to sleep more naturally. Try to avoid drinking too much caffeine in the evenings to improve your insomnia. One good rule of thumb? Avoid caffeine 5-7 hours before you intend to go to bed. Also watch out for things that contain caffeine that you might not expect, like certain medicines, chocolates, tea, and sports drinks. 

Much like caffeine, there is another habit-forming substance that we can ditch to improve our sleep… 

5. Quit Smoking

It should go without saying that smoking is bad for your health, but you might be surprised at all the ways it can negatively impact your wellbeing. For instance, nicotine, much like caffeine, is an “upper” that can make falling asleep more difficult. 

Why Quitting Smoking Helps

Quitting smoking not only stops nightly doses of nicotine from ruining a good night’s sleep, but it can also improve other health conditions. Lung disease, sleep apnea, and anxiety can all contribute to worse insomnia outcomes and are all helped by quitting smoking. 

Quitting smoking can be a tough challenge. Relaxation techniques can help you quit and help you get to sleep… 

4. Try Relaxation Techniques 

It should go without saying that anxiety can ruin sleep. If you are anxious over the day’s events, getting to bed at night can be nearly impossible. The events in our lives that lead to anxiety are often beyond our control. What we can control is how we react to these events. Relaxation techniques can therefore help us get some sleep while we work to lower our anxiety levels. 

Why Trying Relaxation Techniques Helps

Relaxation techniques like deep breathing can greatly improve anxiety in the moment. When you are faced with anxiety right before bed, take a moment to calm yourself before you try to get to sleep. This will make it easier to fall asleep. Relaxation also improves your odds of sleeping through the night. 

Insomnia can be a serious problem that needs medical treatment. A great place to start is therapy… 

3. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy works by helping patients to reshape their thoughts, feelings, and actions. This therapeutic technique is subsequently used to treat a wide range of conditions, including insomnia. 

Why Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Helps

CBT helps by improving both the underlying causes of insomnia as well as the symptoms of insomnia themselves. This therapy can help with anxiety and other conditions that cause insomnia, for starters. It can also improve insomnia symptoms directly by giving you new ways to manage your lack of reliable sleep. 

In addition to therapies, there are natural remedies you can try to ease yourself into a comfortable night’s sleep… 

2. Natural Remedies

Natural, alternative, and supplementary treatments exist for insomnia. These remedies are a combination of herbal treatments, vitamins, and other therapies that many people believe help them get to sleep. These remedies might not cure what’s causing your insomnia, but many claim they can help you get to sleep. 

Why Natural Remedies Help

One of these treatments is lavender oil. Specifically, the soothing scent of lavender is well-known for its calming, relaxing properties. Adding a lavender scent to your bedding or bedroom can help you ease into sleep (although people with pets should be cautious about this method). Supplements like magnesium and melatonin are also frequently discussed for their ability to help people get regular, restful sleep. 

When all else fails, your doctor can always recommend a sleep medication that works for you… 

1. Prescription Medications

When insomnia is severe and other treatments aren’t getting results, doctors can prescribe sleep medications that can help you get the rest that you need. There are several different types of sleep medication and your doctor can help you find the one that works for your condition. 

Why Prescription Medications Help

Sleep medications are often a last resort due to the higher risks that come with them. Sleep medicines like benzodiazepines, for instance, are highly addictive and need to be controlled and watched carefully to avoid substance abuse disorder. Other sleep medications like Ambien do not have those addictive qualities, which makes them popular alternatives. 

Insomnia has as many causes as it does treatments. Getting better sleep often means trying a few techniques until you’ve found the one that helps you get some rest. 

Final Thoughts

Insomnia is incredibly common. Many of us will have to manage insomnia at some point in our lives. Tracking your sleep habits can help you to get a better sense of what is causing your insomnia. Try to keep a sleep journal that tracks what you did that day and especially what you did before bed. This can help both yourself and your doctors get an idea of how to manage your insomnia.

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