Quick And Natural Insomnia Remedies
Insomnia can be a severe, chronic, lifelong challenge for some of us. Different mechanisms may be necessary to fall asleep. The solution may be a combination of methods and that combination may change over time.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, causes of insomnia can be “psychiatric and medical conditions, unhealthy sleep habits, specific substances, and/or certain biological factors.” Causes of insomnia can be easily fit into three factors: mental, physical, and environmental. Self-analysis and understanding of these categories can lead to a rapid solution.
Mental – emotional distress, anxiety, racing thoughts, and so on may keep a person’s brain active the moment the eyes shut. Solutions to this issue range from mindfulness/meditation, professional therapy, to medications. Be willing to seek professional help and perform calming exercises. Be wary of “snake oil” type remedies, as this is where scam artists may be most common. For example, Dr. Stephen Barrett at Quackwatch.org identified “Cell Salts” as a possible ineffective treatment for insomnia.
Physical – being sick or hungry, muscle aches from exercising, arthritis, sleep apnea, rash, etc. can be ways that the body itself cannot get comfortable enough for sleep. In these circumstances, sleep may only come through exhaustion. Quick remedies for physical sources of insomnia may be stretching, anti-inflammatory medication, and cold or hot packs. Take a moment to focus on your body rather than getting frustrated trying to force sleep. Do a mental body scan and acknowledge even the smallest disturbance. Determine if this pain is affecting your ability to sleep. It is possible that the pain is chronic and mostly ignored to be able to get through the day. Insomnia related to chronic pain can be especially difficult to treat and may complicate other conditions. This will further contribute to sleeplessness – inducing a cycle of insomnia.
Environmental – some people can sleep on a rock in freezing temperatures, others require perfectly arranged pillows and a firm mattress. In fact, according to Sleep Retailer, the mattress industry is expected to grow to nearly $25 billion in 2017, underscoring our quest for comfort as a society. In addition to pillows and mattresses, environmental impacts on your ability to sleep could include temperature, humidity, noise, light, and odors. It is critical to know what you can tolerate and do not accommodate the distraction. If noise happens to be what keeps you up, honor this aspect of yourself and seek appropriate remedies such as ear plugs or a quieter environment.
Recognizing and embracing all aspects of what may be contributing to your insomnia is the first step to finding solutions. Insomnia can be a tricky puzzle to solve, and may have many causes in a single person. Approach your particular type of insomnia by analyzing the mental, physical, and environmental factors that affect you. Then develop a plan to prioritize and address the causative factors and certainly seek professional help if needed.
Benca R, Ancoli-Israel S, Moldofsky H. Special Considerations in Insomnia Diagnosis and Management: Depressed, Elderly, and Chronic Pain Populations. J Clin Psychiatry 2004;65 (Suppl 8): 26-35.