Have you ever experienced insomnia? Talk about a frustrating feeling! There are few things as awful as feeling exhausted to your very core, but lying in bed, wide awake or tossing and turning all night long. Insomnia can even feel like the more desperately you try to claw your way to sleep, the more wide awake you stay. If this is you, you’re not alone. A third or more of the U.S. population suffers from insomnia, according to the National Sleep Foundation. And, unfortunately, sleep medications can often alter your awareness and leave you feeling like you’re trapped in a fog the next morning. If you’re a part of that 30 to 40 percent of Americans who experience insomnia, try these natural treatment options to help summon the Sandman:
Skip Screen Time
Between TVs, tablets, laptops, and mobile phones, our society is experiencing more screen time than ever before. If you experience insomnia, technology could be the culprit. Scientists have found that the blue light emitted by all of those screens is enough to affect the production of melatonin, which is the hormone controlling your circadian rhythm (otherwise known as your sleep cycle). In order to help your insomnia, it’s important to cut down on screen time, especially in the hour or two before bed. Toss your TV out of the bedroom and go screen-free for at least 30 minutes before bedtime. In addition, adding a yellow-light filter app to your phone and computers can help minimize disruptions to your circadian rhythm.
Cut Down On Caffeine
Back in college, most of us fueled many a late-night study session with cup after cup of coffee then conked out with no problem. That’s not the case for most of us as we get older, unfortunately. Caffeine has enough of a stimulant that it can keep you up at night, even hours after that last caffeinated beverage. After mid-afternoon, nix the caffeine and switch to decaf or herbal teas if you need a warm drink. In addition, it’s a good idea to nix alcohol before bedtime, since the diuretic nature of both alcohol and caffeine can increase the need for middle-of-the-night urination.
Increase The Noise
It may sound counterintuitive to add noise when you’re trying to sleep, but if there are enough distracting sounds coming in from outside of your room, it can help to have something drown them out. A white noise machine or soothing instrumental music can cover up the sound of your spouse’s TV without disrupting your sleep. Or, if noise doesn’t sound great, try investing in a pair of noise-canceling earplugs.
When we talk about breathing to help you sleep, we don’t mean the basic in-out you do during the day. If you have a tendency toward an overactive mind, calming breathing exercises can help distract and quiet your mind enough that you’ll be able to fall asleep. If that’s not enough, some gentle stretches can also help get your mind and body in the right state to drift off.
Create A Routine
There’s a reason for the common saying, “Sleep like a baby.” A recent study has shown that a rocking or swinging motion can actually trigger the part of your brain that fosters deep sleep. So, if you have trouble getting your body ready to sleep, try rocking in a rocking chair or swaying gently in a hammock just before heading to bed.
Try Functional Medicine
Functional medicine encompasses natural treatment options like acupuncture, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, massage therapy, food sensitivities that disrupt nervous system functioning, vitamins and supplements to regulate sleep hormones, and so on. If you have insomnia and you’d rather avoid harsh sleep aids, there are plenty of other options which provide natural treatment. The idea behind functional medicine is to identify what is going on in your body as the root cause of the issue, then provide integrative holistic and traditional medical ways of correcting that concern. Functional medicine also looks at the body as a single, cohesive system. This often means finding correlations between seemingly unconnected things — like the relationship between diet and insomnia, for example.
If you feel like you’ve tried everything to help your insomnia, find natural treatment that gets to the root of your issue. Connect with the functional medicine team at Senara Health and Healing Center & Spa in Peoria to schedule your consultation.