Health & Wellness Articles

Slip into a Steady Slumber

Tips for Curing Insomnia

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By Liz Noelcke, Staff Writer         
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Sleep is something that your body craves, but also something that everybody struggles with periodically. You’ve tried to cure it the right way. You stopped drinking caffeine late in the day; you didn’t eat a heavy meal right before bed; you made sure that the lights were off; you’ve tried to keep a definite bedtime schedule consistently. And yet, as you lie in bed sleepless and frustrated, none of this really seems to matter. When insomnia hits, you could spend hours stressing, or try a few new things to ease you into a peaceful slumber.

Difficulty falling (and staying) asleep is a common problem. As an important source of energy for the body, sleep is a valuable commodity. If you have been lying in bed for a while and can’t sleep, get up. Don’t just stay in bed and worry about not having enough energy to get all you need to get done the following day. Do something tonight to encourage the Sandman to appear a little sooner:

Go for a soak
Go relax in the bathtub. This soothes both body and mind. Try adding some sleep-inducing scents, like lavender oil, into the tub. You can also put a few drops of these oils onto your pillow to pacify you in bed as well. Don’t make the mistake of taking a shower. This can actually awaken your body. Opt for a warm bath instead. Couple this with some candles and calm music and you’ll be set.

Drink it up
Have a glass of warm milk. You thought this was just an old wives’ tale, but it actually works! Heating up milk really does have a tranquilizing effect on the body that can calm you down and prepare you for sleep. In fact, the same amino acid that gives turkey its reputation for causing drowsiness is also found in milk, and it causes more serotonin to be released in the body. Can’t stand the idea of warm milk? Add a drop or two of vanilla extract. Still not sounding tempting? Try some chamomile tea. A number of people think that having an alcoholic drink right before bed does the trick. Although this might initially make you sleepy, it doesn’t prep you for sound sleep, and chances are, you’ll toss and turn during the night.

Find an activity
Do something relaxing out of the bed. Try some light reading—although an action thriller probably wouldn’t be the best choice for these purposes. Watch something a little boring on television at low volume (think the Learning or Home Shopping Channels). Don’t watch anything that will wind you back up. Looking for other ideas? Sew, scrapbook, or write a letter. This activity should be easy, nothing that will key your nervous system back up. Once your eyes get droopy again, hit the sack.
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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

  • MS_GODDESS
    I generally get a good night's sleep, but on the rare occasion that I have trouble nodding off, I get up and go into my library to read a home repair manual. My trouble is STAYING asleep. I actually wake up whenever I turn over. As in, open in my eyes, sit up and reposition my body. I go right back to sleep but it's still puzzling. - 3/8/2016 10:44:35 AM
  • I get in bed and work in a Sudoku book no matter how sleepy I am. I tend to spend too long at night on computer or watching TV. When I go to bed my mind goes in a loop and replays every thing I need to do and every worry I could have. I used to read, but found myself in a good book at 4 a.m.! Not good. I get the Will Shortz Sudoku books that are easy to medium. I want to think, but I don't want to become frustrated. These cause me to totally focus on the puzzle, and soon I'm drifting. - 2/16/2016 9:17:50 AM
  • I have struggled with sleep issues for years.
    Coasted along, from my 20's to my 50's, on 4 to 5 hours sleep being my norm, and thinking that was a good nights sleep.
    Health issues have made me aware I NEED TO GET MORE SLEEP !
    So this is a priority to me now! - 9/15/2015 12:36:48 PM
  • I like the idea of trying the lavender oil. I think I will try it as my mind tends to race at night then I have difficulty sleeping - 5/2/2015 10:21:47 AM
  • Staying asleep is my problem too. I have been writing in a journal before I go to sleep, and that may be helping a bit more. I am able to track things that made me happy and things that I am working on wig mini-goals to move me forward in the direction I need with certain tasks. I don't stress about the lack of sleep, and I do use sleep apps to help me fall back asleep if it seems to be taking longer than usual to catch zzzs. - 1/8/2015 7:59:53 AM
  • good article with good ideas. I suffer with this some. Melatonin helps me usually and when that doesn't I take a sleeping pill which isn't very often. With having PTSD doesn't help with sleep. I do get on my tablet and play cards until I get tired...I also chat with Jesus when I am not able to sleep. - 11/22/2014 11:04:01 PM
  • I can't drink hot milk but soup works for me

    - 11/22/2014 6:05:15 AM
  • I enjoyed the idea of writing a letter before you go to bed. It sounds so quaint and romantic! - 1/7/2014 5:27:59 AM
  • I would add one other longer-term item to help with sleep: make sure the mattress is in good shape. Especially when we've been carrying excess weight, what started as supportive and comfortable can become worn down and be all sorts of awkward to sleep on. Not to mention the difference in what is comfortable once we have less of the padding on our body. (I know this last one ... an extra firm mattress can end up feeling TOO firm.) - 11/12/2012 12:36:09 PM
  • DIANNEGLADING
    I've had insomnia since my 2nd son was born 28 years ago and have gone to a sleep center and they didn't have any answers. I've tried meditation and breathing excercises and they help me fall asleep but doesn't keep me asleep, I still wake up 2 hrs. later. I don't drink caffeine and I don't eat or drink after 7:00 pm. I always wake up like something is wrong and can't get back to sleep. - 7/18/2012 6:36:09 AM
  • Some good ideas but some just don't work for me. Lack of sleep has been common after hitting menopause. No HRT for me so that doesn't. Increased exercise has helped me some and a little melatonin. I do some light reading before I turn off the light. It takes my mind off of the day's concerns and helps me sleep better - 10/29/2011 10:24:06 PM
  • I have had insomnia all my life. It has been a tough thing to deal with. But when I increased my daily activities, I rarely have it any more. - 7/30/2011 9:36:55 AM
  • When I was young I multiplied 2x2x2x2... until I fell asleep. Only works for someone who loves numbers.
    Now that I'm a grandmother, I thank God for each blessing, his or her parents, a house they like to visit, things I do with them, etc. Anything that generates pleasant feelings works very well for relaxation.

    One time, I read, 'Try forcing your eyes to stay open.' Think about trying to watch a movie in the dark. You want to watch but your eyes keep closing. It's supposed to trick your mind into falling asleep. Too 'boring' for me. - 6/21/2011 12:10:35 AM
  • This article has some good ideas. I also count sometimes to help me fall asleep at times. I count from one to 100 sometimes eight or nine times. It does work most times. I find that not being able to fall asleep and stay sleeping is so stressful but I am going to try some of these ideas, who knows they may help! Thanks!! - 3/10/2011 5:12:21 PM
  • I have always had a hard time winding down and getting a good nights sleep. I have finally mastered the skill and everything I do is in this article! Your body loves routine and the more you do these things the quicker and better you will sleep. Take it from someone who knows! - 3/10/2011 2:47:20 PM

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