It helps to stop demanding a set amount of sleep every night.
Having less sleep than you'd like doesn't cause any harm. Let
yourself to fall short of the ideal without getting anxious about
it. Feeling less anxiety about getting sleep will make it easier
to fall asleep. Long term chronic insomnia needs professional
support and patience.
For short-term insomnia, doctors may prescribe natural
sleeping aid or sleeping pills. Most sleeping pills stop working
after several weeks of nightly use, however, and long-term use
can actually interfere with good sleep. Mild insomnia often can
be prevented or cured by practicing good sleep habits (see below).
Try reducing anxiety and sticking to a day-night routine that
can improve sleep quality. Suggestions include:
· Avoid tea, coffee and other caffeinated
drinks like cola before bed.
· Don't exercise strenuously before bedtime.
Daily exercise often helps people sleep, although a workout soon
before bedtime may interfere with sleep. For maximum benefit,
try to get your exercise about 5 to 6 hours before going to bed.
· Don't nap during the day.
· Cut down on smoking and drinking.
· Do something to relax, such as meditate
or have a warm bath.
· Only go to bed if you feel sleepy.
· Set a sleep schedule and keep to it. Disrupting
this schedule may lead to insomnia.
· Stop reading, worrying or watching television
· Limit your activities in the bedroom to
sleeping and sex.
· Control your room temperature: maintain
a comfortable temperature in the bedroom. Extreme temperatures
may disrupt sleep or prevent you from falling asleep.
· If you can't sleep: get up, go to another
room and do something else until you feel sleepy again.
· Get up at the same time every morning,
regardless of how much sleep you have had.
· Avoid 'judging' your sleep on a day-to-day
Insomnia that has persisted for years needs professional
support and patience. Treatment might take some time as the person
needs to re-establish normal sleeping patterns. Some of the techniques
used by a sleep disorder clinic might include:
· A sleep diary, to help pinpoint the pattern
· A program of mild sleep deprivation
· Medication to help set up a new sleeping
· Exposure to bright light in the morning. If possible,
wake up with the sun, or use very bright lights in the morning.
Sunlight helps the body’s internal biological clock reset
itself each day. Sleep experts recommend exposure to an hour of
morning sunlight for people having problems falling asleep.
For more serious cases of insomnia, researchers
are experimenting with light therapy and other ways to alter circadian
cycles. Of late, the most effective therapy is to identify any
problems that may be preventing sleep and to attempt to solve
them, meanwhile reducing the person's anxiety about the insomnia
itself. Sleeping pills have been found to be less effective than
tranquilizers. Minor tranquilizers help treat insomnia by giving
the person a few nights to restore the sleep cycle and to reduce
anxiety, but they are not meant as a long-term treatment.