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How To Treat Insomnia

Updated on January 18, 2010

How To Treat Insomnia

On an average, 15 to 17% of the population is found to suffer from insomnia. It is a common feature found in young and old alike. The known reasons for insomnia are a decreased level of melatonin in the brain, stress, depression or a deficiency in magnesium or iron. Studies confirm that hormonal imbalance can be another reason for insomnia.

There are many ways to treat insomnia. What you eat or drink before you go to bed has an impact on your sleep pattern. So, it is important that you avoid over-eating or consuming any stimulating beverages. A glass of milk is an ideal drink before you retire for the day because milk contains tryptophan, which gets converted into serotonin – the feel good chemical that makes melatonin, the sleep-inducing chemical.

Aromatherapy is suggested as a natural remedy for insomnia. Lavender oil promotes sleep. A lavender sachet under your pillow, or a few drops of lavender oil applied on your temples is believed to induce sleep. The smell of lavender helps relax your muscles and decreases your metabolic activity. Also, massaging your neck and shoulders with a few drops of lavender or sandalwood oil calms and sooths your nerves . A massage not only increases the circulation of blood, but also helps push the lymph fluids into the blood stream, ensuring optimum utilization of body chemicals.

Photo by ScottInTheOC
Photo by ScottInTheOC
Photo by Jsome1
Photo by Jsome1

A good treatment for insomnia

Drink lots of water. According to Chinese theory, waking up many times during the night may be due the weakness of the jing, which is stored in the kidneys. Drinking water flushes out the toxins and helps relax the kidneys.

Meditation serves as a good treatment for insomnia. Meditate for abut 15 minutes before going to bed. It has been observed that majority of sleep problems are due to the inability of our mind to relax. A stressed mind causes increased production of cortisol – the stress hormone in your blood. This hormone interferes with your sleep. So better avoid excessive mental activity before bed time. You can save it for the next morning.

Acupressure and acupuncture can help cure insomnia. Prolonged acupuncture increases ‘Prolonged Muscle Relaxation’ and there by increasing production of melatonin in your body. This is a great natural remedy for insomnia.

Reoccurring problems with insomnia

One of the Yogic exercises, ‘Pranayama’ relaxes your mind and body thereby hastening your sleep. Slow and deep breathing exercise focusing your mind on your breathing, takes your mind away from stressful thoughts. This soothes and calms your nerves leading you to sleep. There are also some specific sleep inducing yogic postures that you can do while lying down on the bed to avoid insomnia.

Try to relax as much as possible before you get ready for bed. Take time to read, write or any other relaxing activity that will help your mind relax and your body unwind from the day. If you exercise regularly, that can help improve your sleep as well. Be careful to not exercise for two or three hours before you are getting ready to go to sleep. Your body needs to be fully relaxed in order to fall asleep easier. Try to stay away from caffeine before you go to bed also, caffeine stimulates your brain and can make it harder to relax your mind and body. Avoid smoking for nicotine stimulates your brain and makes it difficult for you to sleep

If you have reoccurring problems with insomnia and not being able to sleep, you may want to talk to your doctor about what medications may be advisable for you to try. People who do not have regular sleep patterns, and who have long periods without getting the proper amount of sleep, are more prone to get sick or develop other health related conditions due to the lack of sleep. Our bodies need proper sleep each night to recharge and function at their best. You may have to try a few different techniques to help you fall asleep before you can get rid of insomnia.


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      Andy Johnston 8 years ago

      I like your natural approach to fighting insommnia. I've also heard that taking a hot bath or a dip in a hot tub a few hours before your bedtime encourages sleep. Nice hub.