How to overcome insomnia naturally
What causes insomnia?
What can cause insomnia? There are many reasons that people have trouble sleeping. These can become a problem either temporarily or in the longer term. When it comes to figuring out how to overcome insomnia it’s important to work out what could be causing it in the first place.
Here are some of the most common culprits:
- Medical conditions, including allergies, arthritis, neurological conditions and chronic pain
- Medications such as those taken for high blood pressure, heart disease and asthma
- Depression leading to shifts in mood and hormones which can affect sleep
- Anxiety making it difficult to relax and get over feelings of overwhelm and worry
- Working and lifestyle habits including evening working and shift work
- What you’re putting into your body: food, drink and other substances
Unfortunately, it’s often the case that when we experience a few nights where we struggle to sleep, a pattern forms. We head to bed thinking “I’m not going to be able to sleep” and it becomes self-fulfilling.
So, whether you struggle to sleep occasionally, or you’re concerned your insomnia is beginning to impact your day to day, let’s look at how to deal with insomnia naturally, helping you to drift off into a peaceful sleep and wake up feeling refreshed.
How to help insomnia become a thing of the past
Here’s a round-up of some of our best advice for fighting insomnia naturally.
- Bedtime routine: Heading to bed and waking up at a similar time every night can help your body and brain know when it’s time to get ready for sleep. Varying bedtime by even just a couple of hours can lead to an effect akin to jet lag. And creating routines around bedtime can help to settle your brain too. Try a warm bath, half and an hour reading a good book or a spot of meditation.
- Exercise: Working out has been found to improve the quality of your sleep. But try not to exercise too close to bed time as this can get the adrenalin pumping and make your body stay awake for longer. Try a work out during the early evening for best effect.
- Food and drink: When you’re looking at how to overcome insomnia it’s worth trying some simple fixes first. Many sufferers find a link between what they eat or drink and the quantity and quality of their sleep. Keep a food and sleep diary so you can look for patterns. Common triggers can be caffeine, alcohol, hot foods, specific herbs and spices such as paprika, or eating too late.
Improving your sleep environment
- Sleep environment quick fixes: There are plenty of ways you can change your bedroom to make it more sleep friendly. Make sure it’s completely dark and remove electrical devices from the room as well as anything else that could cause a disruptive noise. Address the temperature by using a fan or air con where possible to keep the room cool but not too cool.
- Choose natural bedding: Surrounding yourself in natural fibers rather than synthetic ones can make a huge difference when it comes to sleep. Wool, in particular, has been proven to increase stage four regenerative sleep by 25%. It can help you to regulate your temperature and control moisture by creating a micro climate around you. If your insomnia is caused or exacerbated by a tendency to overheat in bed, wool bedding could help.
Natural sleep remedies for insomnia
- Yoga or meditation: Deep breathing or meditation exercises are popular ways to relax before bed. If you’re unsure, there are plenty of guided meditation apps and CDs that can give you ideas to get started. Find out how bedtime yoga can improve your sleep.
- Aromatherapy oils: Introducing smells or scents into your bedroom or bedtime routine can be a powerful source of insomnia help. Scientific studies have found that lavender, in particular, can increase the quality of sleep. You can introduce this into your room by using a room spray, placing a dried lavender pouch under your pillow, burning a candle before bed or simply adding a lavender plant to your room.
- Chamomile tea: Chamomile tea is known to help with sleeplessness by calming the body and brain and soothing nerves and anxiety. Try a cup before bed in the evening to help you relax and get ready for a good night’s sleep.
Wondering how to treat insomnia? Hopefully we’ve given you some things to try.
If you can’t find any underlying cause for your insomnia, or it’s affecting your mood and your ability to function properly during the day, make sure you seek insomnia help from your physician.
If you are looking for more ideas about how to sleep better at night naturally, visit our Sleep Health & Advice hub