8 Ways to Beat Insomnia

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8 Ways to Beat Insomnia

Written by Melinda Hershey, Staff Writer

It's safe to say that we've all had nights where we stare at the ceiling in frustration, unable to fall asleep for whatever reason (sometimes, for no reason at all!). The next time you find yourself unsuccessfully counting sheep, try these tips to get on the road to better snoozing.

Cut Back on Caffeine

Even if you downed your last cup of coffee much earlier in the day, it can still disrupt your sleeping habits. Stop consuming caffeinated beverages about six hours before bedtime for better shut-eye.

Find a Relaxing Activity

Reading a book, listening to some soft music, journaling, or writing a letter are all great ways to shut down your mind at night. Don't watch television or use the computer, as the bright screens will actually stimulate your brain more, causing you to stay alert.

Hide the Clock

If you have an alarm clock with light-up numbers, turn it away from you so you canít count the passing minutes that youíre not sleeping. This will only aggravate you and make your insomnia worse.

Take Care of Your Body

Regular exercise and a healthy diet have been proven time and again to aid in good sleeping patterns. However, if you're prone to sleeping problems, try not to exercise right before bed, as this can energize you and keep your body awake.

Make Some Noise

Although a quieter environment usually makes for better sleep, sometimes a little bit of background ''white'' noise can actually help you sleep more soundly. White noise tends to block out other distracting sounds that could keep you awake, and it's been shown that people who have white noise in the background in their bedrooms tend to wake up less during the night. Try turning on a fan, or play a CD of peaceful nature noises as you fall asleep.

Just Breathe

If you're consistently having trouble sleeping, you could be too tensed up from the stresses of the day to be able to shut down your mind and body. Starting with your feet, flex and then relax your muscles, moving up your body as you go. Focus on breathing in for eight seconds, and then breathing out for eight seconds. This will get your body prepped for the natural rhythm of sleep. You could also try some light, relaxing yoga before bed.

Write Down Your To-Do List

A lot of people can't sleep simply because they're thinking about all the things they have to do the next day. It might help you to write down a to-do list before bed to organize your thoughts. As soon as it's on the paper, drop it from your head. There is no use worrying about it now if you can't do anything about it until tomorrow!

Create a Routine

Doing the same set of activities consistently every night before bed will signal your body that it's time to settle down. It doesn't have to be complicated; try packing your lunch for the next day, followed by taking a bath and brushing your teeth. (Don't take a shower, though--that will have an opposite, energizing effect.)

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Member Comments on this Slideshow

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SHOCKENBROCHT

8/19/2014 8:02:33 PM

SHOCKENBROCHT's SparkPage
I ask myself, "what do you have that is so worth staying awake for?" Sometimes that works. When I still can't sleep I pray for family--why waste the time? Also sometimes I start factoring numbers, I usually don't make it past the 30's.

PROFNIMAL

8/19/2014 4:57:31 PM

Senseirachel
Use the previous and next buttons

SENSEIRACHIEL

8/19/2014 2:14:14 PM

Why can't I see the next part of this article?

SARAH1153

8/19/2014 9:00:54 AM

I've learned so much from the Spark People. Question in re to sleep: I work 6 night shifts in a row..(11pm-7am). Sleep? Just doesn't happen with consecutive 6-8 hours during the day....always have laundry, cook for family, errands, etc to do......so sleep is an hour here, and possible 2 hours there.

DADKAJ

8/19/2014 4:59:18 AM

Yennis Cheung says that she beats insomnia by a food supplement (delivered worldwide). More info here: http://www.nutritalk.co.uk/products/newgen
-superfoods-plus. It is just logic since malnutrition and stress disrupt sleep patterns. Better nutrition leads to more balanced body.

LEANMEAN2

8/19/2014 4:45:57 AM

LEANMEAN2's SparkPage
Sometimes it seems that nothing helps.

ACHANSO

3/30/2014 11:27:30 PM

ACHANSO's SparkPage
Yes, I like to keep pen and paper by my bed in case I need to write something down.

PTOWN7

3/24/2014 12:06:34 PM

I really like sleepytime tea or a small melatonin pill.

CLAYLADY001

3/23/2014 11:39:05 PM

CLAYLADY001's SparkPage
I love to read in bed so every eve.after I shut down the computer for the night I brush my teeth and then prepare myself for bed.I read mystery paperback novels and within usually 15 to 20 min.I am ready for sleep when I wake up during the night I read to put myself back to sleep and it works for me.

JANEDOE12345

3/23/2014 11:18:14 AM

JANEDOE12345's SparkPage
The only item I disagree with is writing down your to-do list. That just extends my wakefulness! I try to clear my head of future worries and if I get into iteminzing htem, forget it -- I am up all night.

THENANA4

3/23/2014 8:55:08 AM

THENANA4's SparkPage
No wonder I can't sleep. I think I do the opposite of 7 of the ideas here. Lots of changes to make I guess.

BROOKLYN_BORN

3/23/2014 6:44:48 AM

BROOKLYN_BORN's SparkPage
Funny, I always fall asleep with the TV on (unintentionally) especially during those endless commercials. Sometimes I never get to know "who done it" unless I record it too.

1BOSSMOMMY

3/17/2014 12:54:08 PM

1BOSSMOMMY's SparkPage
When my grandmother went through the change of life and couldn't sleep her Dr. suggested she try drinking one ounce of sherry or port in the evening before bedtime to relax her brain and body and it work for her till the day she died. Don't see Dr.s recommending that anymore because they have pescriptions now to dispense. I like the sherry because it's sweeter and I notice my joints don't ache so much with just one ounce before bed.

DNRAE1

1/17/2014 9:18:08 AM

DNRAE1's SparkPage
Wow, Pickie98, I could just copy and paste your comments, since that is exactly my same schedule! Up at 4, in bed at 8, and nothing to eat and drink for 2 hours before! Having nothing to drink during that time ensures that I don't have to get up in the middle of the night.

PICKIE98

1/12/2014 3:24:14 PM

PICKIE98's SparkPage
I rise at four am.. back to bed at 8pm.. no caffeine, phone calls or food for at least two hours previous..

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