How to Stop Insomnia Forever

Everyone can deal with an occasional sleepless night. You may not be your usual bubbly self the following day, but you know your insomnia is just a passing phase. Temporary insomnia is usually caused by stress. If you’re moving, taking a new job, getting married or per­haps divorced, you’ll probably have trouble sleeping for a few nights. But if your insomnia persists, it may start interfering with your job, your family time, and your social life.

Insomnia usually falls into one of two categories. If you can’t fall asleep, you have what is known as sleep-onset insomnia. If you fall asleep easily, but wake up every two hours, or at 4 a.m. every day, you have main­tenance insomnia. Either way, you’re not getting enough sleep, and you want help.


When you’re desperately counting sheep, and you still can’t fall asleep, you may be tempted to reach into your medicine cabinet for help. However, sleeping pills can be addictive, and may make your insomnia worse in the long run. See your doctor to make sure your insomnia isn’t caused by a medical problem. Then, try some of the self-help suggestions below before you reach for an over-the-counter solution.

  • Wind down slowly. You’re lying in bed unable to sleep, the day’s events going round and round in your head. Try to head off this problem by taking about 30 minutes before bedtime to relax and wind down. Read a good book, take a warm bath, or work on a hobby. That way you’ll be calm, cool, and collected when you get into bed.
  • Don’t push it. You can’t force yourself to sleep. If you’ve been lying in bed staring at the ceiling for more than a half hour, get up. Try to do some quiet activities, and then go back to bed. Repeat this as often as needed.
  • Warm milk may work. Warm milk has been a home remedy for insomnia for years. Milk con­tains tryptophan, an amino acid that researchers say can help you sleep. Other foods high in tryp­tophan include meats, poultry, and beans.

The long-range plan for insomnia

Do you find yourself nodding off at awkward or even dangerous times during the day? If so, you need a long-range plan to make sure you get your sleep at night — not while on the job or at the wheel.

  • Comfort is the key. In the fairy tale The Princess and the Pea, the princess couldn’t sleep because she felt a pea underneath a hundred mattresses. While most people aren’t quite that sensitive, it is much easier to snooze in a comfortable atmos­phere. Make sure you have a good mattress, and wear comfortable clothes to bed. The temperature shouldn’t be too hot or cold, and your bedroom should be quiet and dark to help you sleep.
  • Get in a rut. While it may sound boring, getting into a sleep schedule “rut” can help you sleep bet­ter. Go to bed at the same time every night, and get up at the same time every morning.
  • Limit your in-bed activities. If you use your bed to eat, read, watch television, or work, you may be asking for trouble. Going to bed should signal your body that it is time to go to sleep. If you use your bed for too many other activities, your body may get confused at bedtime. It won’t automati­cally relax for sleep like it should.
  • Exercise for sound sleep. Regular exercise can improve your snooze time. About 20 to 30 min­utes of exercise three or four days a week should help, but avoid exercising just before bedtime.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and smoking. You proba­bly know that you shouldn’t drink coffee before going to bed. Caffeine is a stimulant and can keep you awake. You may not realize that nicotine in cigarettes is also a stimulant. And although drinking alcohol may make you sleepy, it may also cause you to wake up during the night.

Filed Under: Health & Personal Care


About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

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