Are you struggling to stay awake as you read this? Or maybe you're already thinking about how much you're going to struggle when you lie down to sleep tonight. Insomnia is one of the fastest routes to misery, and unfortunately, it's a route most of us detour onto from time to time. About half of all adults suffer from periodic bouts of insomnia, and about a quarter report difficulty falling or staying asleep every night. Insomnia can sometimes indicate an underlying medical condition, so talk to your doctor if your insomnia is chronic and home remedies have failed. Still looking to get some shut-eye? Try these verified and highly effective home remedies.
1. Try a Safer Sleep Aid
Sleeping pills might help you drift into blissful repose, but they can also wreak havoc on your health. These pills are potentially addictive, unsafe to use with alcohol, and not well-studied for long-term use. If you're tempted to use a pill, try something a bit safer. Antihistamines such as Benadryl can make you sleepy, as can anti-motion sickness drugs such as Dramamine. These drugs aren't a good idea as a nightly thing, but for occasional difficulty sleeping, they're safer than many prescription sleep aids.
2. Experiment With Supplements
Supplements won't work overnight so you have to be willing to stick with them for a month or longer. But if you're willing to experiment, check out one of these supplements, each of which has been shown to improve sleep quality and fight insomnia:
- Valerian root
- Chamomile tea
In some cases a multivitamin may also help, particularly if you have an underlying health issue.
3. Practice Better Sleep Hygiene
Sleep hygiene refers to the conditions under which you sleep. Sleep is a habit, which means you need to practice good habits if you want to combat insomnia. Try the following:
- Go to bed at the same time each night, and get up at the same time each day.
- Keep the temperature in your bedroom about five degrees lower than the rest of your house.
- Replace your pillows every six months.
- Use your bed only for sleep or sex. (ie. not for Netflix or reading!)
- If you can't sleep after 30 minutes, get up.
4. Start Exercising
Exercising right before bed is a recipe for a night of tossing and turning. But daily exercise has been shown time and again to improve sleep quality. Aim for at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week, but be sure to limit your exercise to the morning and early afternoon.
When in doubt, meditate. Meditation can actually change the structure and chemistry of your brain, and over time can relax even the most anxious of minds. Meditation doesn't have to be hard. In fact, you can do it right now. Simply count your breaths, focus on a calming scene, and consciously work to quiet your mind. It can take some practice, but mastering the art of meditation often works wonders where other strategies have failed.