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Insomnia? Get Sleep!

Updated on September 7, 2012
Sleep like a baby!
Sleep like a baby!

Insomnia?

Struggling \with not being able to sleep, or stay asleep? Then, you may be suffering from insomnia. It is not a disease but a symptom.

Many things can cause sleeplessness. Stress, worry, menopause, caffeine, inactivity, sleeping during the day, schedule changes, noise (snorer in the room, infant waking you up), pain, illness. Whatever the cause, you need a cure!

Trouble sleeping?

How much sleep does the average person require? According to the National Sleep Foundation, there is no pat answer. Each individual has unique sleep needs. Teens need at least nine hours of sleep. Younger children need between 10 and 13 hours of sleep. When it comes to adults, it shortens a bit. Seven to nine hours is about right.

Source

Healthy Solutions for Sleep Deprivation

Things you can change:

Diet: Caffeine is a stimulant and can keep you awake. First, try cutting out caffeine after 4:00 pm. If that does not work, you may need to eliminate it all together, at least for a time. Caffeine is found in large quantities in coffee, tea, cola, some non-cola soft drinks and even migraine headache medications.

Food: Try adding some foods that are known to relax. Ever experienced sleepiness after a big Thanksgiving dinner? Turkey contains tryptophan, (also known as L-tryptophan) an amino acid that can promote sleep. Dairy products also have L-tryptophan. That's why your mom may have told you to drink warm milk before going to bed.

Some foods to help you to get to sleep:

  • Cherries - contains natural melatonin, the natural chemical that regulates sleep. Eat some cherries or drink some cherry juice about 1 hour before bedtime.
  • Bananas - contains potassium, magnesium and L-tryptophan. All sleep inducing. Note, potassium is a natural diuretic, though. You may have to get up to use the bathroom during the night.
  • Milk - contains L-tryptophan.
  • Turkey - contains L-tryptophan.
  • Oatmeal - carbs raise the blood sugar for a while (giving energy) and then cause a rebound of fatigue. Time it right, and the sleepiness should arrive just when you're going to bed.

Environment: the atmosphere in which you are trying to sleep can make a big difference.

  • Keep your bedroom cool. No higher than 65┬░.
  • Keep the air humid. If you have dry air in your house, invest in a room humidifier.
  • Bed. Get a comfortable bed, pillowing and bedding.
  • Noise. If sound wakes you, control the situation as best you can. Some people sleep better with the TV or radio playing softly but others would never sleep with that going on.
  • Light: A dark room is physiologically preferable. Melatonin, which our bodies produce naturally, increases in the dark. Melatonin is what puts us to sleep. Some people cannot sleep in total darkness or silence. If that is you, just make sure that the light from the TV or nightlight is dim and the sound is kept low. Reduce distractions.
  • Exercise: if you do not have a particularly active lifestyle, that may be contributing to your struggle getting a good night's sleep. Try adding a brisk walk in the fresh air during the morning or afternoon. On the contrary, exercising in the evening could work against you. It may just wake you up all the more. Avoid over-stimulation too close to bedtime.
  • Relax: get your mind of the struggles of the day and think happy thoughts. That may sound silly but it's important to get your mind on something new. Read something encouraging, inspiring, or even boring if that works for you. Don't do a lot of housework before retiring. Sit and pet the dog, watch a good tv show and just relax. Tomorrow will take care of itself!
  • Eat: it's one thing to avoid stimulating foods but going to bed hungry can keep you awake. If you are feeling a little gnaw in the pit of your stomach, have that glass of milk or a light snack to satisfy hunger.


White Noise

"White noise" can help. White noise is a low frequency "hissing" sound that can be soothing when played quietly in the background. The sound of the waves on a seashore, wind gently blowing through the trees or a gentle rain can sooth, so does white noise. White noise can be generated by a white noise machine, on a CD or even from websites on the internet (for free).

The benefits of "white noise" can include:

  • Sleep Aid
  • Stress relief
  • Sooths headaches (even migraines)
  • Calms children and/or pets
  • Masks out distracting background noise

Sleep expert, Alexis Debief, is a strong proponent of white noise for babies and toddlers: Why Babies Love White Noise

Free website with adjustable volume for white noise: SimplyNoise


Sleep Aids

Some products that are natural sleep aids:

Melatonin is a hormone created naturally by our bodies to induce sleep. It is regulated by light and, therefore, increases as evening wears on and reduces when the morning sun begins to shine.

Melatonin supplements can be purchased over-the-counter in vitamin stores and pharmacies.

NOTE: read the label for directions. Children and pregnant women should not take melatonin supplements.

Vitamin B 6 is a vitamin that aids in Melatonin production and, therefore, help you to sleep.

Dong Quai is a Chinese herb that has been recognized to help women with menstrual pain and menopausal stresses. Additionally, this herb has a relaxing, stress-reducing effect. It is also a natural anti-inflammatory.

Magnesium is a natural tranquilizer that can relax you to sleep.

Herbal Tea: Celestial Seasonings has an herbal tea called "Sleepytime®" which is caffeine free, gently relaxing you before bedtime.

NOTE: If all of your attempts to overcome sleeplessness are not effective, it is time to check with a medical expert. Though you can try over-the-counter sleep medication, it is always wise to consult your doctor beforehand.

Midnight Natural Sleep Aid: this product is especially designed for those who get to sleep but awake after only a few hours and are unable to get back to sleep. The natural ingredients in this product have been designed to combat that problem.

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About the Author...

Sinea Pies is a freelance writer who writes frequently on HubPages, GVParent Magazine, WebAnswers and her own website: Ducks 'n a Row.

Disclaimer: this article is informational and is not intended to be medical advice. Medical guidance should only be given by a licensed physician. Speak with your doctor about your medical needs.

Photo Credit: Sleeping Infant by Dynamite Imagery on Freedigitalphotos.net

Comments

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  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    Very nice site!

  • Sinea Pies profile image
    Author

    Sinea Pies 5 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thanks so much, rajan jolly, for the vote up and useful.

  • rajan jolly profile image

    Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

    Wonderful hub. I never heard of white noise before this. I'll be checking out the link. I'm sleep well but am a light sleeper. I can sleep with soft and low level music.

    Great points here. Voted up & useful.

  • Sinea Pies profile image
    Author

    Sinea Pies 5 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thanks zsobig!

  • zsobig profile image

    Sophie 5 years ago from United Kingdom

    Great hub, it's good to know there are loads of things around that can help us get to sleep easier.

    That shocked me today while writing my newest hub was that even lemons can help people with insomnia: try using lemon oil in aromatherapy and you will surely get relaxed enough to fall asleep!

  • Sinea Pies profile image
    Author

    Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Chamomile is so relaxing. Lavender is new to me. I'll have to check it out in the health foods isle!

  • bangingbeauty profile image

    bangingbeauty 6 years ago

    I like a good cup of lavender chamomile tea before bedtime to help me relax. Great tips!

  • Sinea Pies profile image
    Author

    Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thanks ytsenoh. Maybe some of the suggestions here will help!

  • ytsenoh profile image

    Cathy 6 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

    This hub was great. Useful and meaningful information, well put together and well written. I don't know if I have insomnia or I'm just a natural night person. My daughter has the same trait. Thumbs up on this hub. Thank you.

  • Om Paramapoonya profile image

    Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

    I am an adult, but my body usually feels like it needs 12 - 14 hours of sleep every night like toddlers do. I guess you could call that "laziness." LOL....Great hub. Rated up and useful. :)

  • Sinea Pies profile image
    Author

    Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thanks Almasi!

  • almasi profile image

    almasi 6 years ago

    Wonderful tips and useful info.

    Thanks

  • capncrunch profile image

    capncrunch 6 years ago from New Orleans

    Hello Sinea Pies,

    I sometimes have trouble sleeping and have used food, a little too much in the past. Time to hit the gym. I like your hints about remedies. I will try them if needed. Great Article!!

  • Sinea Pies profile image
    Author

    Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thank you Sam9999!

  • Sam9999 profile image

    Sam9999 6 years ago

    Great information. Everyone should heed the warnings about not getting enough sleep. Very informative and useful hub.

  • Sinea Pies profile image
    Author

    Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thank you!

  • RTalloni profile image

    RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

    Thanks for a good reminder. :) Well-done, voted up.

  • JayeWisdom profile image

    Jaye Denman 6 years ago from Deep South, USA

    I've struggled with insomnia for years, but I think I was born a "night owl." All during my career, I forced myself out of bed by 6am no matter how little sleep I'd managed to get.

    Now that I'm retired, I usually manage to get in at least 7 hours. I just get it on the other end--in the morning! Even my dog likes to sleep late....My friends and family now know that I'm not likely to be up with my first cup of coffee before 9am. Even though I stay busy in retirement, sleeping late mornings is my "bonus" retirement gift--for all those mornings I dragged myself reluctantly out of bed while still sleepy! There are some advantages to getting older besides the obvious one....

    Jaye

  • Sinea Pies profile image
    Author

    Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thanks Cogerson...I have a cold too. Nyquil! LOL. It does work.

  • Cogerson profile image

    Cogerson 6 years ago from Virginia

    Great hub...the last week I have been suffering with a horrible cold...and sleep has seemed very hard to achieve due to coughing...so I have been noticing lots of sleeping hubs out there....thanks for sharing this hub...voted up

  • dearabbysmom profile image

    dearabbysmom 6 years ago from Indiana

    I've read about some pretty bad consequences of not getting enough sleep. I don't have trouble falling asleep, but I struggle finding 8 hours to give up for it!

  • Sinea Pies profile image
    Author

    Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thanks, Tamarajo.

  • Tamarajo profile image

    Tamarajo 6 years ago

    I'm thinking the peri menopause may be the culprit. Never had troubles before now randomly.

    Good suggestions.

  • Sinea Pies profile image
    Author

    Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Menopause is a bad invention...LOL...but we'll all make it through!

  • Steph Harris profile image

    Steph Harris 6 years ago from Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom

    I wondered what was causing me to be waking at 3 am most mornings, thank you for answering my question, it is the menopause. Still, lots of women have been through the same thing and come through it unscathed so why should I worry. Very good informative article, thank you for writing it.

  • Sinea Pies profile image
    Author

    Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    I'd be running on low with less than 5. You may be an exception to the "rule" if you're feeling good on that little sleep. Thanks for the comment Glen

  • Sinea Pies profile image
    Author

    Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Get 'em in now! New baby=change in sleep patterns! :) Enjoy! You're going to love parenthood!

  • jpcmc profile image

    JP Carlos 6 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

    I'm recently having trouble sleeping. Probably it's stress related. We're expecting our first baby in a few weeks and this is probably affecting my sleep patterns. I'll try some of your suggestions and hope to get some z's.