Insomnia is a very important problem because one-third of the population has symptoms of insomnia. There are three different types of insomnia. These are transient, acute, or chronic insomnia. Transient insomnia lasts only a few nights to a few weeks. This is often the result of jet lag, medication side effects, caffeine, transient stress. Acute insomnia lasts over a period no longer than six months, no shorter than 3 weeks. Chronic insomnia occurs nearly every night for a period of a month or longer.
You can heal insomnia naturally without resorting to sleeping pills by developing these simple habits:
Basic Sleep Hygiene:
- Temperature reduction and optimisation. A slight lowering of body temperature which occurs at night plays a very important role in modulating the chemical signals which induce sleep. While trying to fall asleep in bed always take steps to achieve a comfortable temperature as being too hot or too cold can inhibit sleep. If you are bothered by cold feet in the night, or wake up in the night feeling cold, wear socks to bed. The average optimum temperature for quality sleep is 19 degrees, although this may vary from person to person.
- Read books not TV watches. Read books, magazines or anything that interests an insomniac instead of watching television. Television enhances attention, which makes a person awake. Reading on the other hand while in bed causes the eye to get tired and creates a sleepy feeling.
- Use organic cotton bedding. Permanent press bedding can give off low-grade chemical fumes while you sleep. Your body can deplete nutrients such as zinc and magnesium trying to detoxify these types of chemicals.
- Take a Warm Bath. It is a great way to relax your body. Do not overdo it, however. You merely want to relax your body, not exhaust it. Too long in hot water and your body is drained of vitality. Use bath salts, or throw in Epsom salts and baking soda—one cup of each. These will relax you and help remove toxins from your body. - Bright light therapy and nighttime light minimisation. When we wake up in the morning light hits our eyes and send a signal to the pineal gland in our brain, which is a major regulator of sleep in the body. This signal regulates our circadian rhythm (‘body clock’). This process can be utilised to improve sleep and is especially useful in individuals with abnormal circadian rhythms.
- Avoid napping. Napping can only make matters worse if you usually have problems falling asleep. If you do nap, keep it short. A brief 15-20-minute snooze about eight hours after you get up in the morning can actually be rejuvenating.
- Avoid alcohol as a sleep help. Alcohol may initially help you fall asleep, but it also causes disturbances in sleep resulting in less restful sleep. An alcohol drink before bedtime may make it more likely that you will wake up during the night.
- Do not drink coffee. As much as possible, a person with insomnia should avoid drinking coffee, sodas, chocolate, cocoa, green tea, black tea or anything that has caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that triggers sleeplessness. It can make someone awake for as long as 20 hours. For some, even drinking a cup of coffee in the morning causes them sleeplessness at night.
- Drink Herb Tea If you do not like milk—or are avoiding dairy products—try a cup of hot camomile, catnip, and anise or fennel tea. All contain natural ingredients which will help you sleep. Most health food stores will also have special blends of herb tea designed to soothe you and help you get to sleep.
- The root solution for insomnia. There are root extracts that can engender a sleepy state. 300 to 600 mg of concentrated extract should be taken 30 minutes prior to going to bed. This root extract can be mixed with calming herbs like those that chamomile, passionflower and balm made from lemon.
- Do not smoke. Nicotine is a stimulant and can make it difficult to fall asleep andstay asleep. Many over-the-counter and prescription drugs disrupt sleep.
- Listen to Music. Play some soft, soothing music that will lull you to sleep. There are even cassettes and records designed for that very purpose. Some are especially composed music; others simply have sounds of waves rhythmically breaking, or the steady pattern of a heartbeat.
- Acupuncture. Acupuncture, which is a Chinese healing method, could help to heal insomnia. These needles put into the skin strike nerve transmitters that produce sleep-inducing hormones like serotonin.
- Make Sex – Alone or with Others Sexual activity directly before bed helps some people nod off easily.
- Get a Massage Have your spouse (or whoever) give you a massage just before going to sleep. If you can convince them to give you a full body massage, great. If not, even a short backrub and/or a face and scalp massage can be a big help. Have them make the massage strokes slow, gentle, yet firm, to work the tension out of your muscles and soothe you to sleep.
- Use Aromatherapy Aromatherapy involves the use of scents taken from certain medicinal plants to supposedly heal the body, mind and spirit. Many claim aromatherapy can be used to treat everything from stress to the common cold. Those who suffer from insomnia have difficulty falling asleep and have a hard time staying asleep once they’ve nodded off. This condition may be addressed with aromatherapy.