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12 Natural Ways to Trick Insomnia and Get Some Serious Z’s
Everyone gets a case of insomnia now and then, some of us more than others. There are various reasons why people can’t sleep, including menopause, anxiety, late night snacks or television, financial worries and more.
Regardless of why you can’t sleep, you need to take steps to get your Z’s. They matter! Lack of sleep has been linked to being overweight, numerous health problems and even early death! Forget asking your doctor for pills as they only work for a short time and are extremely addictive.
We made a list of the top 12 ways you can trick insomnia, so you can get the sleep you desperately need. If one method doesn’t work for you, try another. The sandman will find you eventually!
There are two types of exercise that will help you sleep better at night. One wears you out, such as running, the Stairmaster or cycling. You should do these types of exercise in the morning or early afternoon for the best results. The other type of exercise calms and soothes both the body and mind so you should practice yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates later in the evening. If you can’t go to sleep or if you wake up after a few hours, do some yoga, then try to hit the hay again.
2. Make Your Bedroom Comfortable
If you find your bed or pillows uncomfortable, change them! Your bedroom should be cool (in temperature), calming and comfortable. Be sure you have light-blocking blinds or curtains to make the room as dark as possible, and you can even try putting dimmer switches on the lights.
3. Melatonin Supplement
Many people find that simply taking a melatonin supplement each night before bed helps them to fall asleep easily and naturally. When your body does not make enough melatonin, you can really pay the price in lack of sleep.
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4. Give Up and Get Up
Lying in bed tossing and turning doesn’t do anyone any good. If you have been tossing in the sack for more than an hour, give yourself a break. Get up and do something. It doesn’t really matter what you do: Go for a walk around the block, do a bit of laundry, get coffee and lunch ready for the next day — just do something else. Your body might just figure out that it is late, and you need to go to bed.
5. Write It Out
If worries or thoughts about the following day are keeping you awake, here’s a trick to try. Get up and write it all down. Make out a list of things to do the next day or write out a list of problems and possible solutions or outcomes. Tell yourself that you can’t do anything about these things in the middle of the night, but you will look at your notes again in the morning and take care of things then. It sounds too simple to work, but you might be surprised by the way your subconscious listens to you.
6. Instead of Counting Sheep
If you have tried counting sheep, try this trick instead. Count backwards from 1000 and wriggle your toes every other number. This sounds bizarre but for some reason, it really works! Maybe your brain gets really bored or maybe your brain would rather sleep than do this ridiculous exercise any longer, but whatever the reason, this works for a lot of people. Don’t knock it until you try it!
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7. Don’t Nap During the Day
If you find that you get sleepy during the day because you didn’t get your Z’s the night before, don’t take an afternoon nap for more than 20 minutes. If you can get by without the nap, great; but if you are yawning your head off all afternoon, just catch 20 winks. This will be enough to get you by until bedtime, then hopefully you will fall into bed exhausted and sleep like a baby.
8. Try Natural Herbs
There are plenty of natural herbs that will help you to fall asleep with no side effects and no groggy morning-after feeling, and they are completely non-addictive. Try California poppy, Valerian, Hops, Lemon Balm, Passion Flower or Chamomile. These are available in both supplement and tea form at almost all health food stores.
9. Add Some Noise
OK, so the room is supposed to be dark and quiet, right? Well, that is true. The quieter and darker your bedroom is, the more deeply you will sleep. However, when you add white noise to the room, it can actually help you to fall asleep. The steady but quiet sounds block out other noises that might disturb your slumber. Try one of those white noise machines that play sounds like the ocean or rain. Some people find the noise of a fan very soothing. If you live on a noisy street or have not-so-quiet neighbors, this might be the solution for you.
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10. The Old Tried and True
This is an old wives’ tale, but it actually works! Drink a glass of warm milk. Milk contains an amino acid called tryptophan that will help you to fall asleep soon after you drink it. If warm milk sounds disgusting, try adding a few drops of vanilla.
11. Try Soaking Your Head
Ok, you should soak all of you. Relaxing in a warm bath (not too hot) can help to soothe both body and mind. Don’t try a shower — this will only wake you up. Try adding a few candles and maybe even some calming music. Think sleepy thoughts and you might find yourself drifting off to sleep before you know it.
12. Try Deep Breathing
Lie in bed and try some deep breathing exercises. These simple exercises relax the body and can lull the mind into sleep. Take a deep breath in to a count of four, and then exhale completely to a count of four. Repeat this until you feel comfortable counting to six. You should find that you have fallen asleep within 10 minutes.
Also, try your best to keep a bedtime routine. Go to bed at the same time, get up at the same time, drink a cup of tea or take a bath, any type of signal that will tell your body that it is time to unwind and go to bed. Sweet dreams!