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How to Overcome Frequent Insomnia

14 Tips to Beat Insomnia

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<a href="http://www.how-to-self.com/sleep/insomnia.php">How to Overcome Frequent Insomnia</a>

This article addresses the longer term issues associated with insomnia. Also see my article How to Sleep Better for tips on sleeping better tonight.

Frequent insomnia can be a symptom of a serious medical condition. Over-the-counter sleep aids or pain relievers can mask serious conditions and may be unhealthy in themselves. If you often sleep poorly, have a checkup by your doctor. This article is not medical advice and is not intended for anyone not in good health.

There are a variety of physical and emotional causes of insomnia. Here are 14 tips to address these critical issues...

1. Establish habits and daily patterns that support better sleep. Set a regular bedtime and allow eight hours before you have to wake up. Reserve the two hours before bedtime for quiet activities that are not stressful, upsetting, or stimulating. Avoid television, conversation, and exciting reading during those hours.

2. Break the cycle of "learned insomnia," in which a pattern of worrying about not sleeping, fear of nightmares, or avoiding going to bed leads to insomnia, which in turn leads to yet more worry about sleeping and further avoidance of going to bed. To help break the "learned insomnia" cycle, don't use your bedroom to watch television, to read, to eat, or as an office. Also reduce stress and relax using techniques like conscious breathing and guided meditation.

3. Exercise every day. Walking is a particularly good choice for exercise, especially walking in a natural setting. Exercise early in the day, and avoid exercise within two hours of bedtime.

4. Adopt a regular daily practice of Yoga, Qigong, or conscious breathing.

5. Try listening to a guided meditation CD either before going to bed or at bedtime. The guided meditation might be specifically designed to encourage sleep, or might be a general relaxation guided meditation.

6. Aromatherapy oils or an aromatherapy burner (diffuser) may help you to fall asleep faster and sleep better.

7. Harsh noises are very disruptive to sleep. Try to make your room as quiet as possible, and consider using earplugs. Alternatively, try using a recording of natural sounds, such as bird or ocean sounds, or use a white noise generator.

8. Total darkness is important to restful sleep. Invest in a sleep mask (eyeshade) if you can't make your bedroom dark enough.

9. An overly dry room can make breathing more difficult and interfere with sleep. If your bedroom is too dry, get a humidifier for your house or for the bedroom.

10. Make sure your bedroom is warm enough, but not too warm, and is well ventilated. If your feet are cold, take a hot water bottle to bed or wear loose-fitting socks at night.

11. Choose a pillow that matches your sleeping position. Use a thin pillow for stomach or back sleeping, or a medium pillow for side sleeping. Get a high quality pillow - a memory-foam pillow may be an important investment in better sleeping. Try both the traditionally-shaped and the wedge-shaped memory-foam pillows to see which suits your sleeping pattern better.

12. Try using a second pillow as a leg pillow. Lie on your right side with your left leg resting on the leg pillow. An extra-long pillow may work best for this.

13. Sleep on a comfortable mattress. A lumpy old mattress is not going to support restful sleep. Invest in a quality mattress if you don't already have one. The choice of a mattress is very personal. Some people sleep best with quite soft mattresses, others with a very firm mattress. If you find your current mattress and pillow uncomfortable, experiment with a wide range of alternatives before you make a purchase decision. Consider investing in a memory-foam mattress. For me, switching to a Tempur-Pedic mattress and pillow virtually eliminated pain in my back, neck, and hip. If you can't afford a Tempur-Pedic or other memory foam mattress, consider a more affordable memory foam mattress-topper combined with a memory foam pillow.

14. Some people swear by adjustable position beds or adjustable firmness mattresses. Give them a try, but don't get sold by sales claims if you don't find they make a difference in your personal sleeping comfort.



Read my other articles on sleep, How to Sleep Better, and How to Fall Asleep Fast.

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