ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Sleep Better at Night without Medication

Updated on February 25, 2012

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to functioning as a normal person. When you do not get enough quality sleep, the symptoms of sleep deprivation creep up quickly, and a chronic insomnia problem can lead to negative long-term side effects.

Natural Sleep

Good sleep patterns promote healthy, natural sleep, but as adults, busy and stressful lives can obstruct these patterns. Anxiety over situations at work, home or in school can keep us up, but the best way to combat this is to use the same bedtime routine at the same time, every night; including vacation days!

Over time, our body’s internal clocks adapt to a regular sleep pattern. Basically they learn how to sleep better through practice. Don’t worry if you have trouble falling asleep occasionally, just get out of bed and implement one of the tips below; trying to force yourself to sleep may cause even more anxiety.

Watch your Diet

Caffeine, nicotine, and sugar are stimulants and will wreak havoc on a good night’s sleep, especially if ingested too close to bedtime. Consider what you eat and how much as well. Eating a huge meal before going to bed can cause intestinal discomfort and may keep you from getting to sleep sleep. The same is true when you go to bed with an empty, growling stomach.

If you think food, caffeine or nicotine habits are keeping you from sleeping well at night, try to finish eating major meals at least two hours before going to bed. Do not smoke or ingest caffeine for at least 4-6 hours before going to bed. For some people, it can take even longer, so to be safe, leave the habit alone by midday.

Relaxing Rituals

Besides going to sleep at the same time every night, practicing a relaxation ritual before bed help tell the body it is time to slow down. Find your own ritual, but it should be a habit which stills the body. Warm showers, baths, reading, listening to relaxing music, or even listening to an audio book with the lights off are all great methods of finding tranquility.

Although some may swear by a heavy workout or television time before bed, researchers caution against either. It has been suggested that media consumption disrupts sleeping patterns, and exercising gets the heart rate pumping, thus keeping the body awake.

Find the Comfort Zone

Without a comfortable room, bed, pillows and blankets, it can be difficult to sleep. Make your sleeping space just right for a good night’s rest. It may seem obvious to understanding how to sleep better at night, but these steps are easy to ignore or overlook.

Make the room dark, or dim it to night light levels. Studies show that anything more than a night light can be obstructive to falling asleep and staying asleep. Pull curtains or close blinds tight to prevent light from spilling in at night or when the sun comes up.

People who have sleep apnea or other chronic sleep problems can consider using humidifiers or specialized sleep apnea equipment to assist with clear breathing. Don’t forget the mattress and pillow you sleep on!

A comfortable mattress has substantial effects on sleep quality, as does the pillow you rest your head on. Take some time to shop for the right mattress, and always buy the best quality you can afford. A bad mattress can obstruct sleep and lead to a sore back in the morning.

Power Napping

A power nap of 10, 15 or even 30 minutes can work wonders on mental clarity and lingering fatigue. But don’t sleep too much during the day; it is likely you will have trouble falling asleep at night. This is especially true if the nap occurs too late in the afternoon. If you must nap, take a snooze after lunch but well before dinner.

Exercise

Regular exercise has numerous benefits, one of which is promoting better sleep at night. Get into a regular exercise routine on a daily basis. This does not mean you should workout as hard as you can everyday. This can lead to the need for even more sleep to recover, and worse, to a state of overtraining. If you end up overtraining, it will be even more difficult to get to sleep.

Instead, find ways to be active for 20, 30 or 45 minutes every day, whether it is playing a sport, lifting weights or going to a dance class. An active body rests better at night.

Comedy Rx for Stress

Stress and anxiety may be the largest contributors to obstructing sleep patterns in modern adults. Find a way to manage them. Those problems and worries will still be there in the morning, and without proper sleep you won’t be any better prepared to deal with them.

One of the best ways to reduce stress and let go of worry is by laughing. If you are feeling stressed, find something that makes you laugh. It could be a movie, a live comedy show (many of which you can now rent or order online,) or a funny book.

You might even try laughing out loud for no reason at all. Smiling and laughing trigger chemical reactions in our body that can improve our mood, even if the cause is nothing at all.

Chronic Sleep Deprivation

Using the above tips on how to sleep better at night are sure to help people with occasional insomnia, but a regular pattern of losing sleep can lead to serious health issues. If you think you have chronic insomnia, or are just sleep-deprived on a regular basis, it may be time to see a medical specialist.

Getting to sleep recharges our minds and bodies, and prepares us for the day to come, but without it we quickly begin to suffer. Use these tips to implement a regular pattern of deep sleep. It just may change your life!

Source

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Free2seethemoon profile image
      Author

      Free2seethemoon 2 years ago from Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean

      Thanks Larry, hope you found something useful here. Cheers.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      I'm a long time insomniac, so I'm always glad to find what tips I can. Thanks.

    • Free2seethemoon profile image
      Author

      Free2seethemoon 5 years ago from Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean

      It sounds like there are other things going on with your son. It would be ideal if we could do without powerful meds to control things like blood pressure, ADHD, etc., but sometimes an immediate solution helps normalize things so the body can get back on a regular rhythm. Hope your son is doing well.

    • profile image

      coppimama 5 years ago

      my 17 year old son can't sleep at night and his doctor wants to put him on clonidine. I am so anti-drug for the very reason that it's a quick-fix & my son is now 8 months sober. But the trick is how to convince a soon to be adult teenager of this.

    • Free2seethemoon profile image
      Author

      Free2seethemoon 5 years ago from Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean

      Senoritaa, I'm glad to hear it's accurate, sorry to hear about the insomnia. Then again, for a writer occasional insomnia seems normal to me! I agree, herbal teas are very effective.

      howtojunkies, glad you liked it! Thanks for commenting.

    • howtojunkies profile image

      howtojunkies 5 years ago

      i will definitely follow this routine! thanks for sharing this! ;)

    • Senoritaa profile image

      Senoritaa 5 years ago

      That's a great hub. Having suffered a lot from insomnia myself, I can tell you most of the tips you listed work most of the times. Additionally, I include herbal tea at times in my diet that acts as a huge stress reliever. Voted up.

    • Free2seethemoon profile image
      Author

      Free2seethemoon 5 years ago from Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean

      PWalker281, thanks for commenting. I am always hesitant about recommending something I haven't tried. However, my experience with green tea is similar to yours. Despite the caffeine (unless it's decaf) it has a calming effect on my mood and stomach. I personally find chamomile, even in a weak tea, to invoke sleepiness every time I drink it; regardless of what I have eaten, whether I have exercised, etc. As far as melatonin goes, the scientific community endorses it as an effective sleep aid.

    • profile image

      PWalker281 5 years ago

      There are so many healthy things we can do to get a good night's sleep without resorting to prescription meds. One thing I had to do was stop drinking coffee altogether. And even though green tea, which I started drinking instead, contains caffeine, there's something about it that leaves me feeling soothed instead of jittery. What do you think about herbal sleep remedies (e.g., chamomile, valerian) or melatonin?

      Rated up and useful!

    • Free2seethemoon profile image
      Author

      Free2seethemoon 5 years ago from Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean

      I loved that show! Now that I'm thinking about it, I have had similar experiences. I used to watch the Tonight Show or something like it. Laughter relaxes :-)

    • Dee aka Nonna profile image

      Dee aka Nonna 5 years ago

      When I was working and was often stressed without really knowing it...I would watch an episode of "Golden Girls" or some other comedy before going to sleep. Never thought of it as anything except really not wanting to watch anything heavy before going to sleep. Thank for such a well written and informative hub.

    • Free2seethemoon profile image
      Author

      Free2seethemoon 5 years ago from Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean

      Excellent point L.L. Woodard! The pattern does take some time, but it's worth it. Thanks for commenting.

    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 5 years ago from Oklahoma City

      You've provided thorough and useful information to help people find ways to get to sleep without medications. I think, too, that we all need to know it may take a few days or longer before any of the changes lead to improved sleep.

    • Free2seethemoon profile image
      Author

      Free2seethemoon 5 years ago from Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean

      Preacherwolf2011, I guess you can catch a few while you're waiting for the pot to finish brewing...Thanks for stopping by!

    • Preacherwolf2011 profile image

      Preacherwolf2011 5 years ago from Bloomington, Indiana

      Informational Hub! But who has time for sleep? I barely find the time to drink a cup of coffee every 2 hours. ;)