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6 Ways to Beat Insomnia

Take the Stress Out of Sleep


4. De-stress
One of the worst things that you can do is to sit in bed and think about what you didn’t get done today, and all of the work you have tomorrow. Worrying about it won't get any of it done, so let it leave your mind. If it helps, make a to-do list so that you don’t forget the next day. But leave it at that; once it is on the paper, forget about it. Another trick is to turn the clocks away from your bed so you cannot count the passing minutes. If you focus on the fact that you are not sleeping, you’ll make the problem worse.

5. Add some noise
Wait a second. . . your bedroom should be as quiet as possible, right? Up to a point, yes. The darker and quieter the room is, the more deeply you’ll sleep, even if you don’t realize it. But, adding “white noise” into the background can actually help you slumber. These steady, quiet sounds will block out other, more disturbing noises that might keep you awake. Plus, once you are asleep, you’ll be less likely to wake up from other noises. Try keeping a fan blowing at night – a cool bedroom is more conducive to sleep anyway. Or, try putting some relaxing music or natural sounds, especially something that can be set on a timer. You can buy CD’s that play gentle rain, waterfalls, or wind noises.

6. Listen to your body
Could it be your body is too tense for sleep? Try a relaxation tape that guides you through loosening up and relaxing each muscle group. Start at your feet, tensing and untensing your muscles, and move up your body. Work on some deep breathing exercises, which mimic your respiration pattern while asleep and can help convince your body that it is time to drift off.

And in the future…
Exercise! Consistent fitness and nutrition is directly linked to improved sleep. Of course, if you are lying in bed restless, it might be a little late. But, start tomorrow and you’ll sleep better in nights to come. If (and when) you do exercise, make sure it’s not right before bedtime, which can interfere with your body’s ability to relax and nod off.

Make going to bed a routine. Around the same time every night, even on weekends, start your routine. This could mean taking a bath and some light reading. It could simply mean changing into your pajamas and brushing your teeth. Do something consistently that your body will learn as signals to settle down for the night. Wake up refreshed the next day.

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About The Author

Liz Noelcke Liz Noelcke
Liz is a journalist who often writes about health and fitness topics.

Member Comments

  • i'm trying to get into a regular sleep pattern. I saw my pulmonary specialist ( I have muscular dystrophy) and he told that i suffer from sleep apnea. Now he wants me to sleep with oxygen but I think I'll work on going to bed at the same time and getting up at the same time before i follow his suggestion - 11/19/2014 11:25:17 AM
    Reading, gets me everytime. My goal is is not use energy drinks anymore! - 6/1/2014 4:05:07 PM
  • The things that have helped me sleep better are:
    *Journal sleep patterns to see how much sleep i need
    *add up the hours i sleep then add one hour to that, then use that number to determine what time to go to bed (for example if i sleep 6 hous, on average for a week, give myself seven hors in bed. That means a midnight bedtime if i want to wake at 7am)
    *stay out of bed except for sleep
    *change attitude about sleep and how i will suffer with less sleep - 4/30/2014 11:42:17 AM
  • I can't sleep good at night if I don't have my fan on. I will go to sleep and sleep good if my hip is not paining me. My kids are the same way they all sleep with a fan. They too say it help them to sleep better. - 11/10/2013 7:24:56 AM
  • ive had insomnia since i was 14 and have grown accustomed to functioning off little to no sleep. i barely sleep every night. but on the nights when im really tired and just cant seem to get to sleep i either turn on a disney movie ive seen a billion times and it makes me sleep or i have a nature sounds lullaby channel on my pandora and i play that and it makes me drop off real fast. when i lived in my car i had an even worse time trying to sleep and i found if i played one song called mercedes lullaby from the pans labyrinth soundtrack over and over it helped me sleep. warm milk does nothing for me and i only start reading when its clear i wont be sleeping that night so i go to the living room and read and listen to music so i dont bug my fiance. - 8/29/2013 4:10:57 PM
  • I don't find that sewing is something to help me sleep. If I start sewing, I usually don't stop for two or three hours. Really, to me, any sort of crafting right before be is a no because I end up doing way more than I intend to do. Also, messing it up because I'm a little tired has happened to me before, and therefore makes me stress... - 8/29/2013 9:53:41 AM
  • I have found that having some calming music on a timer helps when I wake up and can't go back to sleep. I always have my iPod close by with headphones connected. I just set the sleep timer and some quiet relaxing music. Usually, I just concentrate on the music and fall right back to sleep.

    Smiley2U, there is a pillow called Chillow that helps when you are too hot. My husband takes some medications that makes him become my personal furnace! The Chillow is a lifesaver! - 6/21/2013 4:49:01 PM
  • Comfortable earplugs can help, too. I use them regardless of outside noise levels. When I put mine in it signals my mind that it's time to go to sleep. - 3/5/2012 11:56:49 PM
    My 3 tips: 1.) get a SleepComfort mattress. Because I'm obsese, my butt needs to be lower than the rest of my body to keep my spine straight. This mattress allows me to align my body properly and with a dual controlled bed, my partner can inflate/deflate his side to his comfort level. 2.) get a ChillPad. Again, you can get dual controls so you can heat or cool your side of the bed to your level of comfort. I was surprised to find that the mid-50's to mid 60's is most comfortable to me. No more night sweating! 3.) After getting in bed, I use the visualization technique of imagining my bones are becoming heavy and melting which causes me to relax my muscles.
    I know the first two suggestions are very pricy, but since we spend a third of our lives sleeping, I've found the cost worth it for me. Hope you can use one or all of the suggestions. - 3/5/2012 9:15:10 PM
  • Another tip for getting a good night's sleep is..... talking to your doctor. A discussion with my doctor prompted on overnight oximetry test which eventually led to a diagnosis of severe obstructive sleep apnea. I now sleep with a CPAP and my quality of life has greatly improved. Just a thought ;) - 3/5/2012 8:30:14 PM
  • I have difficulties not sleeping but getting rest. I go to bed and DO have a fan going (otherwise every creak freaks me out as I have high anxiety) and even wake up usually before my alarm (like yesterday I looked at the clock when I "woke" and it was exactly 1 minute to alarm time - this is common! Usually within 10 minutes. I have an excellent internal clock) but I'm still EXHAUSTED and feel like I've not slept. I had a sleep study done and since I do NOT have apnea they basically turned me out on my ear. I have interrupted delta sleep (old stage four, now stage three part 2) and I sleep but don't get the rejuvination and healing that normal people do. I have fibromyalgia and it is VERY common with us FMS folk (I have a theory that it's part of the cause!) and there is NOTHING I can do about it. If I couldn't fall asleep, or couldn't stay asleep, I could take meds, but nothing can make me go to the proper "level" and stay there long enough for it to take effect. - 3/5/2012 6:52:41 PM
  • The best white noise in the world is a purring cat (it's so soothing, cats will often purr when they are hurt or in distress to calm themselves). Unfortunately, I can't find a white noise machine that has that on it. When I went on my business trip last month, I stayed at a hotel that had iPod docks in the rooms. I downloaded some ocean sounds on my iPod, turned the volume down, and set it on repeat. It worked like a charm. I slept right through every night, which doesn't always happen when I'm on site. - 3/5/2012 4:55:44 PM
    These are great ideas, but having a routine is out of the question. Each week I work a different shift which stress my whole body and by the time I'm just getting use to the week, my shift changes. O well!! - 3/5/2012 1:35:45 PM
  • I have a problem with this article. First of all, the amino acid is not spelled triptophane but rather tryptophan. I'm surprised this mistake was not caught. Second, turkey does not contain more tryptophan than most poultry. Tryptophan is an amino acid, meaning it's found in protein, so yes, it's going to be found in turkey. Third, the theory that turkey causes drowsiness is an urban legend. The reason why we feel drowsy after our Thanksgiving turkey meal is probably due to (1) extreme consumption of calories and (2) consumption of carbohydrates (along with the turkey). Dear SparkPeople, please write FACT, not FICTION. - 3/5/2012 10:44:01 AM
  • SMILEY2U, maybe you should sleep on top of the covers and pile him up with extra quilts. Or try separate bedrooms... I recently switched sides of the bed with my husband so I'm not further away from the heater vent and it's made a big difference in my comfort level!

    I read somewhere that if you can't fall asleep within 15 or 20 minutes, you should make a change. So what I do when I'm having trouble falling asleep is start up my "sleepytime" playlist on my ipod and set the timer for 22 minutes. If I'm still awake when the music stops, I'll get up and try something else, but it usually works! - 3/5/2012 10:32:30 AM

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