Can’t Sleep? There are roughly 70 million Americans awake with you. Did you know 9 million Americans are popping sleeping pills? Insomnia is such a prevalent issue, even cookies are named after them, which specifically cater to those awake during the wee hours of the night!
Staring at the ceiling and feeling restless at 2:00am during the dark and quiet hours of night – Does this sound like your nights? Are coffee or soda your only lifeline to get you through the day? Have you tried prescription drugs, lifestyle changes and still you’re struggling to get a handle on insomnia. What if there was a more natural, organic and a more lasting way to regulate your sleep cycle and avoid insomnia altogether?
Sleep disorders, sleep deprivation and chronic insomnia are on the rise across all age groups, including most alarmingly children, and Americans are trying anything and everything to find relief from insomnia to feel vibrant, happy, healthy, and effective during the day.
Those who suffer from moderate to severe sleep disorders try anything and everything to find relief from their insomnia to feel vibrant, happy, healthy, and effective during the day.
Understanding and Treating the Cause of Insomnia
What to do for Insomnia & Other Sleep Disorders
To effectively treat your insomnia, it is helpful to better understand the varying symptoms of sleep disorders and their most common causes.
Typical symptoms of insomnia include problems falling asleep, waking up frequently in the night with difficulty falling back to sleep, waking too early in the morning, and feeling unrefreshed when waking in the morning.
The root cause of your insomnia will most likely be discovered on closer examination of the quality of your life during your waking hours. The root cause of your insomnia may be an imbalance in your life which can compromise your health in other serious ways.
If you can’t go to sleep at night, transforming the quality of your waking hours can make all the difference, curing your insomnia and often solving your sleep deprivation problem without the need for external crutches or aides such as sleeping pills, sleep masks, CPAP machines, etc.
Meditate your Insomnia Away!
A Simple Meditation to Support Restfulness and Get a Handle on Insomnia:
This free online guided meditation for Insomnia is called Isha Kriya. It is based on the ancient science of yoga and meditation, a technology for living joyfully and free of stress. Any time you’re feeling stressed, anxious or depressed, you can try this easy, simple to follow guided meditation. Within 12 minutes you will feel refreshed, relaxed and capable of handling day-to-day life situations. This online meditation is an easy to learn step-by-step process that you can do at home, work, or wherever you are.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the following are the most common causes of insomnia:
- Stress including traumatic life events such as death of a loved one or divorce.
- Anxiety including everyday worries and the worry of not being able to sleep itself.
- Depression You might either sleep too much or have trouble sleeping if you’re depressed. Insomnia often occurs with other mental health disorders as well.
- Medical conditions including chronic pain, breathing difficulties or a need to urinate frequently. Other conditions linked with insomnia include arthritis, cancer, heart failure, lung disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), overactive thyroid, stroke, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Change in your environment or work schedule that disturb your sleep-wake cycle, metabolism and body temperature.
- Poor sleep habits including overly-stimulating activities, such as video games, violent movies etc. before bed or an uncomfortable sleep environment.
- Medications. Many prescription drugs can interfere with sleep, including some antidepressants, heart and blood pressure medications, allergy medications, stimulants (such as Ritalin), and corticosteroids. Many over-the-counter (OTC) medications — including some pain medication combinations, decongestants and weight-loss products — contain caffeine and other stimulants.
- Caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. Stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine can disrupt normal sleep cycles as well as alcohol. Alcohol, though it is a sedative that may help you fall asleep, prevents deeper stages of sleep and often causes you to awaken in the middle of the night.
- Eating too much late in the evening
Mayo Clinic recommends starting with several simple lifestyle changes to improve your sleep habits:
1. Stick to a regular sleep schedule
2. Pay attention to what you eat and drink before bed — do not stuff yourself, do not go to bed hungry.
3. Create a bedtime ritual such as a warm bath, reading, etc.
4. Get comfortable — create an atmosphere for restfulness without loud noise, lights, etc.
5. Limit daytime naps, which disrupt your regular sleep-wake schedule
6. Include physical activity in your daily routine
7. Manage stress — set priorities, stay organized and delegate tasks to others where possible. Handle the worries of tomorrow before you lay down to sleep by creating a list of ‘to do’s’.
According to Yogi, Sadhguru, one key, common component of preventing insomnia from ever arising in your life is eliminating stress—an epidemic in the modern world.
“The fact that you sleep at night makes some difference between your mornings and evenings. Your mornings would be just as bad if you did not rest well at night. So what is making the difference is not sleep, but the level of relaxation.” –Sadhguru
Simple Home Remedies for Insomnia and Sleeping Disorders
Experts recommend a few key lifestyle changes to remedy insomnia:
- Eliminate caffeine including soft drinks, coffee, as well as over-the-counter medications, including some common headache remedies (check the labels).
- Get at least 45 minutes of aerobic activity every day.
- Practice yoga and meditation.
- Take a warm bath before bedtime.
Supplemental Support & Herbal Medicines–Replace your daily dosage of caffeine with natural stress-busting, energizing and regenerating herbs to rejuvenate during the day.
- Magnesium and calcium. Oral magnesium supplementation has been shown to improve symptoms of fatigue in persons with low magnesium levels.
- Eleuthero or Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus). Studies show that Eleuthero can help enhance mental activity as well as physical endurance.
- Coenzyme Q10. This vital nutrient is involved in cellular energy production throughout the body.
- Ashwagandha, an Ayurvedic herb prized for its ability to help the body deal with stress.
- Cordyceps, a traditional Chinese medicinal mushroom that may help fight fatigue and boost energy levels.
What Simple changes in lifestyle habits can make a big difference for short-term bouts of insomnia?
- Avoiding Caffeine
- Eating lighter meals at night
- Reducing artificial light or heavy workloads at night
- Establishing a regular sleep-awake schedule
- Using earplugs, a sleep mask or ambient sleep music
How to get a good night’s sleep:
- Set a regular bedtime
- Wake up at the same time everyday
- Nap to make up for lost sleep
- Be smart about napping – limit it to 30 minutes
- Fight after-dinner drowsiness to ensure you don’t wake up in the middle of the night
Sleep Well Tips:
How food and sleep are connected?
Pay attention to what you eat and drink: Don’t go to bed either hungry or stuffed. Your discomfort might keep you up. Also limit how much you drink before bed, to prevent disruptive middle of the night trips to the toilet. Nicotine, caffeine and alcohol deserve caution, too. The stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine take hours to wear off and can wreak havoc on quality sleep. Alcohol might make you feel sleepy, but it can disrupt sleep later in the night.
Include physical activity in your daily routine
Regular physical activity can promote better sleep, helping you to fall asleep faster and to enjoy deeper sleep. Timing is important, though. If you exercise too close to bedtime, you might be too energized to fall asleep. If this seems to be an issue for you, exercise earlier in the day.
When you have too much to do — and too much to think about — your sleep is likely to suffer. To help restore peace, consider healthy ways to manage stress. Start with the basics, such as getting organized, setting priorities and delegating tasks. Give yourself permission to take a break when you need one. Share a good laugh with an old friend. Before bed, jot down what’s on your mind and then set it aside for tomorrow.
If Insomnia becomes more frequent many turn to:
Do you really need Trazadone to sleep?
Trazodone is a serotonin reuptake inhibitor—it is a sleep deprivation drug that is in the same class as many common antidepressants. Trazodone is specifically prescribed by doctors for patients who complain of having trouble staying asleep through the night. If you are experiencing frequent spells of sleep disruption in the middle of the night, before you resort to medication, you should first rule out a common sleep disorder called ‘sleep apnea.’
What are Sleep Apnea Symptoms?
If you have insomnia characterized by frequent awakening during sleep or an inability to stay asleep through the night, there is a possibility that you may suffer from sleep apnea. There are many sleep apnea symptoms:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Loud snoring
- Observed episodes of breathing cessation during sleep
- Abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath
- Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat
- Awakening with chest pain
- Morning headache
- Difficulty concentrating during the day
- Experiencing mood changes, such as depression or irritability
- Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
- Having high blood pressure
More about Sleep Apnea
Periods of silence between periods of snoring occur when soft tissue at the back of the throat collapses causing an obstruction that blocks the airway. This type of sleep apnea is called ‘obstructive sleep apnea’. Blocked breathing while you sleep stimulates a startle response that jolts the body awake, disturbing normal sleep patterns. In sleep apnea, these partial sleep-wake cycles can happen so quickly that you are not even aware of it.
If the sleep cycle is disturbed frequently enough, in severe cases, as many as 30 times per hour, the restful process of sleep is completely disrupted. Over time this can cause serious sleep deprivation leading to daytime sleepiness, headaches, mental confusion and debilitating fatigue.
CPAP Machines/ CPAP Masks
Many who want to stop loud snoring or who struggle with the debilitating symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, end up resorting to the use of CPAP Machines. CPAP machines create a steady flow of air pressure, or “continuous positive air pressure” that maintains a steady opening at the back of the throat preventing the soft tissue obstruction that causes sleep apnea. Sleep apnea sufferers wear a CPAP mask that supplies pressurized air through the night. You may have tried this but why spend on CPAP masks and supplies when there is a way for you to get sleep without CPAP machines.
What are the types of Sleep Disorders?
Each of these are clickable to get more details.
Snoring – Occasional snoring is usually not very serious and is mostly a nuisance for your bed partner. However, if you are a habitual snorer, you not only disrupt the sleep patterns of those close to you, but you also impair your own sleep quality.
Parasomnias – Parasomnias are disruptive sleep disorders that can occur during arousals from REM sleep or partial arousals from non-REM sleep. Parasomnias include nightmares, night terrors, sleepwalking, confusional arousals, and many others.
Nightmares in Adults
Nightmares in Adults – When you wake up terrified from a disturbing nightmare, you might think you’re the only adult who has them. After all, aren’t adults supposed to outgrow nightmares?
Night Terrors – Night terrors in children are distinctly different from the much more common nightmares. Night terror symptoms are frequent and recurrent episodes of intense crying and fear during sleep, with difficulty arousing the child.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea – Here’s information to help you understand how obstructive sleep apnea can affect your life and what can be done about it.
Central Sleep Apnea
Central Sleep Apnea – In central sleep apnea, breathing is disrupted regularly during sleep because of the way the brain functions.
Insomnia – Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is characterized by difficulty falling and/or staying asleep.
Sleepwalking Symptoms – Sleepwalking symptoms aren’t as obvious as they may seem. Get the details here.
Bedwetting – While bedwetting can be a symptom of an underlying disease, a large majority of children who wet the bed have no underlying disease that explains their bedwetting.
Narcolepsy – Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that affects the control of sleep and wakefulness.
Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
Teeth Grinding (Bruxism) – Occasional teeth grinding, medically called bruxism, does not usually cause harm, but when teeth grinding occurs on a regular basis, the teeth can be damaged and other complications can arise, such as jaw muscle discomfort or TMJ pain.
REM Sleep Behavior Disorder
REM Sleep Behavior Disorder – In a person with REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), the paralysis that normally occurs during REM sleep is incomplete or absent, allowing the person to “act out” his or her dreams.
Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder
Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder – Circadian rhythm disorders are disruptions in a person’s circadian rhythm — a name given to the “internal body clock” that regulates the (approximately) 24-hour cycle of biological processes in animals and plants.
Periodic Limb Movement Disorder
Periodic Limb Movement Disorder – Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) is a sleep disorder characterized by rhythmic movements of the limbs during sleep.
Hypersomnia (Daytime Sleepiness)
Hypersomnia (Daytime Sleepiness) – Hypersomnia, or excessive sleepiness, is a condition in which a person has trouble staying awake during the day. People who have hypersomnia can fall asleep at any time — for instance, at work or while they are driving.
Sleep Paralysis – Have you ever felt like you were awake but unable to move? You might have even felt afraid but could not call for help? This condition is called sleep paralysis.
Sleep-Related Eating Disorders
Sleep-Related Eating Disorders – Sleep-related eating disorders are characterized by abnormal eating patterns during the night.
Shift Work Sleep Disorder
Shift Work Sleep Disorder – Shift work sleep disorder is trouble sleeping because you work nights or rotating shifts. You also may have this problem if you have trouble staying awake or alert when you are supposed to work.
Testimonials For Meditation for Insomnia relief:
“Since incorporating Inner Engineering practices into my life, I have experienced many health benefits. I sleep soundly now after years of interrupted sleep. I find I need less sleep but am more energetic throughout the day. I had some problems with gastrointestinal discomfort, which has completely disappeared. I had a reasonably weak immune system-I would catch every cold/flu my daughter brought home, plus exposed to illness working in health care. In the past several years since practices, I rarely get sick. I’m in the best shape of my life.”
“Before Inner Engineering I struggled with insomnia for several years. I was on a variety of sleep drugs including Ambien, Xanax, Valium. I tried everything including anti-depressants, but nothing worked for long and usually even if I slept with the help of these medications I still didn’t get rested when I woke up. I was in a constant state of tension in my body and mind. After attending the yoga class with Sadhguru and practicing the kriya, within a couple of months I began to be able to fall asleep without medication. I began to experience a greater sense of ease and calmness within myself and also a greater clarity of mind. As I continue the practice I experience an increase in my sense of peace, joy, clarity of mind and greater overall energy and enthusiasm for life.”
“I had suffered from insomnia for many years. Night after night, I tossed and turned, looking at the clock and calculating how many hours I could sleep before the alarm rang. Knowing I had to get up for work made me even more anxious. Often I found myself taking sleep aides just so that I could get enough rest through the night and somewhat function the next day. This went on for years until I thought it was just a part of life. After taking Inner Engineering, I began sleeping better and better. Over the years, I could look back and see how my body and mind was beginning to become more balanced as I practiced the yoga and the effect was sound sleep. Now I sleep through the night and am more effective throughout the day.”