Friday, September 6, 2013

Natural Remedies For Sleeplessness

I have a lot of trouble sleeping. I've always been a light sleeper, and I think it's only gotten worse since I started living with another insomniac and a handful of people with a lot of different schedules. Here's some of the things I've found that help with sleeping.

1. Chamomile tea
I'm super-susceptible to whatever chemical it is in chamomile that makes you drowsy; this actually works better for me than some sleeping pills, and doesn't leave me groggy or addicted. It is, however, related to ragweed, so I avoid it when my allergies are acting up really badly, since it can make it actually harder to sleep while simultaneously making me so sleepy I want to even more!

2. Avoid caffeine
When I worked in that coffee shop many moons ago, I drank so much coffee. I think it damaged my system a little, I drank so much. I'm now really sensitive to caffeine, and so I gave up tea at dinner, and I do sleep better than I did before. I still drink whole pots of tea in the morning and afternoon, but I stick mostly to green and oolong, which have relatively small amounts of caffeine. In the evenings, I switch to decaf, or to herbals. Mostly, though, I drink water.

I avoid coffee all together unless there's a specific reason I need to be up--like when I'm at conferences or something. Even then, I don't drink more than six or eight ounces--one small cup. I don't drink energy drinks at all. They're so loaded with the caff that I feel like I'm going to have a heart attack when I drink them, and most of them taste bad.

And at that level, the caffeine becomes a trigger for panic attacks, which I don't need and am also managing, so there's one more reason to avoid it.

3. Stop eating at night
I'm not always good at this, but I try to eat a nice filling dinner, and then stop eating. It's easier to sleep when I'm not digesting. I'm naturally a late eater; I get hungry around eight at night more than I do at six, so I'm usually stopping eating at around nine. That gives me two hours before midnight, when I usually go to bed, and it seems to work for me!

4. Have a routine
It really is easier to sleep when your mind and body know it's time to sleep. I don't work past dinner unless I really can't avoid it--most things can be worked on the next day. I wash my face and do all the lotioning and everything maybe a half hour or and hour before bed. I try not to watch anything too upsetting close to when I go to sleep.

When it's bedtime, I'll read if I'm not ready to sleep yet, but I do it in bed, with the lights as low as my poor eyeballs will allow it to be. I sleep in the dark, with the blinds drawn so outside light doesn't get too much overnight when I'm meant to be asleep.

I try to go to bed at the same time, or near the same time every day. I try to wake up at the same time every day. I'm not good at either of those things, but I try!

5. Tire yourself out during the day
I think a lot of this modern plague of sleeplessness is because so many of us do the sort of work that's mentally exhausting, but doesn't do anything for the energy in the body. So when you're ready to sleep, you really want to and you really need it, but your muscles haven't had any effort and don't want to settle down, making you restless and unable to turn off.

I hate to be one of those people, but exercise really does fix that. So does walking around all day, even if all you're doing is running errands. So does having fun--dancing or shopping or going to a show or whatever. The point is that everyone has a lingering inner four-year-old and that four-year-old needs to be knackered before he'll sleep. So make sure you tire yourself out so that you can sleep when you need to!

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Do any of you have natural cures, remedies, treatments or tips for sleeplessness? Share in the comments!
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