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What can I do to Reduce Insomnia?

Nicole Madison
Updated May 17, 2024
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There are several ways to reduce insomnia, including exercising, decreasing stress in your life, changing your lifestyle, addressing poor eating habits, and undergoing behavioral therapy. If you have been experiencing insomnia, exercising about 30 minutes per day may help. However, the timing of your exercise may prove important in getting your much-needed rest. Exercise in the morning or afternoon for best results. If you exercise late in the evening or too close to your regular bedtime, your insomnia may actually worsen.

Working to decrease stress and anxiety can go a long way toward reducing insomnia. Deep-breathing exercises may help to relieve some of your daily stress. Do them for at least 10 minutes each day. Meditating for five minutes per day may help as well, lowering your heart rate and helping you to feel an overall sense of calm. If you are a natural worrier, you may need to make a list of things that weigh on your mind and spend a set amount of time focusing on how to fix them each day. When that time is up, make a concerted effort to concentrate on other things.

A change in your lifestyle may be necessary if you want to reduce insomnia. If you normally watch TV in bed, you should avoid doing so. This goes for reading at bedtime as well. Making your bedroom a calm, peaceful place that is just for sleeping and cuddling with your spouse may help you to get your rest. If you've recently begun drinking more alcoholic or caffeinated beverages, you may need to cut back to enjoy a more comfortable sleep pattern. Additionally, hanging out with friends and late-night socializing is okay occasionally, but if you start to notice that your sleep patterns are suffering, you may need to spend less time out on the town.

Surprisingly, poor eating habits can have a detrimental effect on your sleep patterns as well. Many people assume that eating a heavy evening meal or late-night snack will help encourage deep sleep. Actually, the opposite is true. While some people may fall asleep easily after eating, they may wake later to feelings of discomfort, including heartburn. To reduce insomnia, eat at least a few hours before bedtime. If you want to have a snack, you can do so; just make sure it's a light one.

Some people may benefit from behavioral therapies to reduce insomnia. This type of therapy teaches participants to change sleep behaviors and create a more restful environment for sleeping. Some people assert that this type of therapy is as helpful as sleep-inducing medications. However, it is sometimes used in conjunction with medication to reduce insomnia.

Certain medications are useful for reducing insomnia if natural methods fail to produce sustained results. Prescription sleeping pills like Ambien, Sonata, Lunesta, and Rozerem may be used as temporary sleep aids; some antidepressants may help as well. However, there are possible side effects with most sleep aids. Some even carry the risk of dependency. For this reasons, it is best to use sleep aids sparingly and rely on more natural methods to reduce insomnia.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
Discussion Comments
By turquoise — On Aug 28, 2014

I never knew that hops can help with insomnia.

There is another great herb for insomnia. It's called "melissa" or "lemon balm." It's a natural sedative. It's made into tea and tastes quite good. It doesn't have any side effects and induces relaxation and sleep. It's great for anxiety and insomnia. A cup right before bed helps immensely. I also have it if I wake up in the middle of the night and can't fall back asleep.

By literally45 — On Aug 28, 2014

@donasmrs-- Absolutely. Foods like dairy and poultry are rich in tryptophan which helps regulate sleep patterns. There are even supplements sold over the counter for this purpose. But it's best to get it from foods. Getting more tryptophan is as simple as drinking a warm glass of milk in the evening or adding more poultry like chicken and turkey to the diet. Beans also have tryptophan and can help fight insomnia.

I don't know too much about herbal remedies, but herbal teas will help. I have terminal insomnia, meaning that I fall asleep easily but wake up too early and can't fall back asleep. When this happens, I make myself some hot chamomile tea and it helps me ease back into sleep. Some days are better than others of course.

By donasmrs — On Aug 28, 2014

Can foods or herbal remedies help reduce insomnia? If so which ones are best? I want to treat my insomnia naturally if possible. I don't want to rely on prescription medications.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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