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SpecialistMichael
SpecialistMichael, MS, CSCS
Category: General
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Experience:  Senior Information Specialist
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how to beat insomnia

Resolved Question:

how to beat insomnia
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  SpecialistMichael replied 2 years ago.
Hi my name isXXXXX you for using JustAnswer I will assist you using the information you have provided.

If you have a physician, I would recommend seeing him or her first to rule out anything medically wrong that may be causing this primary insomnia. Perhaps once you exhaust all natural efforts a physician might recommend a prescription aid or perhaps visiting a sleep clinic.

The first recommendation for insomnia prevention is to eliminate anything highly stimulating before retiring for the night. This can include video games and TV which can both stimulate the mind(affecting sleep) both because of the involvement it takes to play video game but also from the amount of light the monitors put out that can "trick" the brain more or less into thinking its time to be awake.

Reading a book(a boring one that wouldn't entice you to stay up to read) can allow you to relax.

Another thing you can do is to keep a notepad near you if you are the type of person who constantly thinks and who may have a cyclic thinking pattern laying awake in bed. Getting it down on paper can help to clear your mind so you don't have to think about it and remember to remember it tomorrow.

Exercise - during the day can burn excess energy forcing the body into a recovery and restore state. Don't exercise right before bed, but stretching is fine. Hard exercise before bed, is viewed by the body as a stress, so it elicits the appropriate stress response(awareness and heightened senses) and this can last for hours - not good before bed.

Stretching - believe it or not a lot of tensile energy can be stored within muscles that can actually keep people tense at night. Following something like a warm relaxing bath or shower, taking the time to stretch and relax can release a lot of energy as well as promoting an actual physiological response of relaxation and serenity.

Food
- Overeating as well as eating foods high in fat and proteins really close to bed time can actually raise heart rate and shuttle blood in the GI tract for digestion - this keeps the body awake. It goes without saying that any stimulants like caffeine and even things like sugar should be avoided before bedtime. Caffeines effects can literally last up to 12 hours, so if you drink coffee make sure that last cup is consumed no later than 10-11am. Light snacks are ok with fluids, heavy meals are not recommended

Conditioning - Sometimes some of the best ways to get ready to fall asleep is to condition the body to a certain smell so it knows when its sleep time. This is partially the idea behind many sleep aroma therapies. Putting a drop of a scented oil(like lavender which is pleasant) under a pillow basically conditions the body into relating the smell of that with the task of relaxation and sleep - but beware if you are not ready to sleep, and continually try this it might have the opposite effect(ie: tricking the body into thinking its time to stay awake in bed)

Conditioning part 2 - Don't lay awake in bed - if you happen to stay awake after being in bed for 30min to 1 hour, get up and do something boring. Don't get into the habit again of laying awake in bed. No TV, no video games, stay bored and relax before trying again

Progressive relaxation - The idea behind this is to methodically, slowly relax your body one part at a time, starting from your toes all the way up your legs, all the areas of your upper body then finally your neck, face and brain.

Forcing yourself to get up early - An easy trick to do this is to set your alarm to progressive getting up earlier, perhaps 45 minutes to an hour earlier(as you have stated you are a noon riser). So if you get up at 12, tomorrow start with 11:15 (alarms so you have to get OUT of bed to turn off), the next day 10:30 and so on. Chances are your body will eventually become normalized from being tired that you will fall asleep at a reasonable time, perhaps even on accident - then you have to maintain that by forcing yourself to get up, catching up on sleep another time.
Unsure if you're going to be able to get up?? - an old trick used by Native culture was to consume enough water than they would have to wake up to urinate simply from a full bladder. This enabled them to wake before sunrise to attack.

Circadian rhythm is basically the rhythm the body has each day for rising and retiring. It is thought its heavily influenced by the sun, which with the advent of modern lights and technology has really goofed up some sleep patterns for some people.

The reverse of this would be to attempt to stay up a full 36-40 hours before sleeping, then setting an alarm. I wouldn't advise this on a day where you will need to do anything requiring concentration or attention(perhaps try on a weekend day) because the lack of sleep can be very detrimental on cognitive performance as well as reaction time - driving, using machinery or anything you wouldn't do after consuming alcohol or being very drowsy you wouldn't want to do when being sleep deprived, even short term. I know this was recommended to a close friend who also suffered from insomnia by an actual sleep clinic before he was admitted(which he never got to, but was their progression of techniques).

Chances are you will need these in combination. Many times you will also need full dedication and commitment to break your undesirable circadian rhythm so you can awake when you want to and fall asleep when you need to.
SpecialistMichael, MS, CSCS
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 507
Experience: Senior Information Specialist
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