Based on a recent survey, insomnia affects 33 % of the adult population in America. However, a small percentage of young people are also affected by this condition. Before we get to know why adults are mostly affected, let us first define insomnia. We will also know the signs and symptoms of insomnia.
We will also get to learn how to relieve insomnia without medication. Insomnia is a condition whereby you have difficulties falling asleep. Insomnia can make you wake up earlier than usual in the morning and not be able to go back to sleep. This condition is more common among old people due to the prevalence of illnesses in later life and reduced socialization. There are 5 types of insomnia, that is:
- Acute insomnia– Acute insomnia affects you due to situational stress. This could be a new relationship or an upcoming interview.
- Chronic insomnia– This one is may be caused by an underlying medical condition or your basic lifestyle.
- Onset insomnia-Onset insomnia results when you are unable to sleep when you want to.
- Maintenance insomnia-This type of condition occurs when you have challenges in maintaining your sleeping pattern. If you are suffering from this condition you’re likely to wake up several times in the middle of the night.
- Behavioral insomnia of the childhood-This type of insomnia affects children. Children who suffer from this disorder have difficulties falling asleep.
How can you know that you are suffering from insomnia?
As you have seen, insomnia is a serious sleeping disorder that can affect both the young and the old population. This is how the condition presents in most cases:
- Waking up early than usual.
- Difficulties in falling asleep.
- Inability to focus while driving.
- Feeling sleepy during the day.
Insomnia can lead to poor memory, lack of concentration in the workplace, depression, and also anxiety if uncontrolled. However, there are remedies for insomnia without medication. This is how you can relieve insomnia without medication:
Meditation is one of the approaches that you can consider if you are having difficulties getting sleep. This technique involves conditioning yourself to focus and redirect thoughts. It is highly recommended for those suffering from insomnia since you can do it from your living room or in the restroom. The only requirement is that the environment needs to be quiet and free from distractions.
How will meditation helps you to sleep?
Research shows that meditation helps in improving your relaxation techniques and the nervous systems and reduces how easily you’re awakened. When you start meditation, your body organs function normally. This includes physiological processes that initiate sleep. Since your biggest problems result from stress, anxiety, and worry, meditation helps you to relax and enhance your relaxation response. This is how you can meditate:
The first thing that you need to do is to get a quiet place. A place where you can sit or lie is ideal. This may depend on how you would wish to meditate. The other exercise that you can do is to start breathing in and out while your eyes are closed. Thereafter you can start to let go of all your thoughts that pop up while you continue breathing.
One thing to note is that you can begin your meditation for 3 to 5 minutes before you go to bed.
After practicing for some time that’s when you can do it for 15 to 20 minutes. It is also very important to be patient when meditating since it requires time.
Which are the recommended meditation techniques to relieve insomnia without medication?
- Body scans meditation technique-During this type of meditation you can lie down on your back or sit down and try to stretch. Close your eyes and breathe slowly. Remember to focus on areas in which you have tension or pain. Try to acknowledge where you have pain discomfort and accept yourself without the way you are. If you feel angry and frustrated avoid judging yourself for such emotions. During this session, the essence is to release your negative emotions by releasing a specific body part that is making you feel pain through imagination as you breathe slowly.
- Practicing Deep breathing-This entails engaging the diaphragm while breathing to make you relax. During this technique, you breathe for 4 seconds, and then hold your breath after which you breathe for close to 7 seconds. Thereafter you then breathe for 8 seconds.
- Mindfulness meditation-This is the practice of training yourself to unleash negative thoughts. The exercise is meant to slow down your negative thoughts by making you calm your body and mind. During meditation, you focus on your current situation. You also acknowledge the presence of negative thoughts by accepting how you are feeling. You also focus on your sensations without labeling yourself.
- Guided imagery-This the relaxation technique entails focusing on a specific object or experience to calm you down. Your ultimate goal in this technique is to have a calm state through relaxation and mindfulness. That is, when you have something in your mind that is disturbing you, your body becomes tense. The main idea of this exercise is to shift away from the stressor by focusing on Pleasants scenarios to have your body and mind relax. This technique improves your coping mechanism and hence improves your quality of sleep.
Pros of meditation
Meditation is best suited for those who have challenges in sleeping as it can also help reduce physical pain.
Meditation in general helps controlling of stress levels and also your perception of stress.
Meditation can cause stiffness of the muscles, especially in people with physical limitations.
Meditation is not a one-day event. If you’re not patient enough you may not see its benefit.
2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
This is a program that is geared to help you identify thoughts and behaviors that cause or worsen insomnia. Unlike the medicines, this program helps you deal with the underlying cause of your sleeping problems. During this program, the therapist might need to assess your sleeping patterns for like one to two weeks to understand your condition.
How does Cognitive Behavioral therapy relieve insomnia without medication?
The first thing that the therapist will do is to identify and change your beliefs regarding insomnia. This entails identifying bad sleeping habits, removing negative thoughts, and reducing worries that might interfere with your sleeping pattern. The therapist also targets behavior changes and helps you go through obstacles. In this case, the obstacles could be changes in sleeping-related behaviors. On that account, you concentrate your energy on changes that are geared to improve your sleep pattern.
This technique also helps you develop sleeping habits and stay away from behaviors that will keep you awake at the night. If you follow your therapist’s instructions, you are most likely to experience changes after 2 to 6 sessions depending on your coping mechanism. During your therapy sessions your therapist may recommend these techniques:
- Sleeping Restrictions-Since lying on your bed when not sleepy is one of those bad sleeping habits; this treatment aims at reducing the time spent in your bed, hence improving your sleep.
- Stimulus Control Therapy-This entails removing factors that make your mind resist sleep. For instance, the therapist trains you to have a consistent bedtime and waking time. You only use the bed when it’s necessary such as during the night times and when having sex.
- Improving your sleeping environment-This involves the creation of an environment that is comfortable. For instance, you can keep your bedroom quiet, and dark, and avoid watching TV while in your bedroom.
- Employing a relaxation Training Technique-CBT also encourages you to practice techniques that will calm your mind and the body. These techniques are muscle relaxation, imagery, and meditation.
Why you should go for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
This technique can is recommended to anyone who is suffering from insomnia. It can help those with insomnia as well as those with physical problems for example anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. The effect of CBT is also long-lasting and has no side effects.
3. Practicing Yoga
This is a form of meditative movement that incorporates physical exercises and breathing.
Research has shown that 85% of those who have employed yoga have reduced their stress levels. One of the things to note here is that stress triggers insomnia. If the stress levels are controlled then you can be able to improve your sleeping patterns.
Is Yoga beneficial to everyone?
This practice is recommended to everyone. That is, the exercise can be carried out by children and the elderly. For instance, sleep disturbances are common among children with autism disorder. Yoga can improve their mental health which can then help improve their sleeping behavior. The technique is also beneficial to pregnant women who have sleeping challenges. Additionally, the technique help reduces depression and prenatal anxiety. For elderly people, this technique helps improve their sleeping routine. Some of the challenges that old people might have include snoring and restless leg syndrome.
When Can You Practice Yoga To Relieve insomnia Without Medication?
There is absolutely no specific time as to when you should practice yoga. However, if you can be able to practice it regularly it helps you improve your sleeping patterns.
Why Yoga is Recommendable as Strategy To Relieve insomnia
- It helps in weight loss-Those who have excess weight are at risk of suffering from insomnia. Yoga practices are geared toward reducing excess weight and at the same time improving the quality of sleep.
- It promotes relaxation-Yoga can help you attain that calm state. Therefore, a technique such as calming yoga poses helps you to relax. Such poses lower your blood pressure and stress hormones.
- Managing symptoms of insomnia-When you do yoga every day you control the triggers of insomnia. Research has shown that those who practice yoga exercises such as tai chi and qigong experience improved sleeping patterns.
- It promotes relaxation-Most people experience insomnia because they are not relaxed. The technique is geared to promoting relaxation to bring your body to a calm state.
4. Having regular Massage
Massage can help alleviate stress and hence be a remedy to insomnia. Reducing stress entails the reduction of cortisol hormone while at the same time increasing your serotonin and dopamine. These are neurotransmitters that stabilize your mood. Massage is also critical in managing your pain and tension that may have been caused by stress. Pain makes it difficult and uncomfortable for you to sleep. The pain could be emanating from the back, stomach, or around the neck. When this pain is successfully treated through massage you are more likely to have quality sleep. Here are some of the massage methods that can help you in relieving insomnia:
- Manipulation-This one entails rubbing stretching muscles, ligaments, and tendons to improve your mobility.
- Trigger point therapy-This one focuses on where you have tense muscles or pain.
It is very important to work with your therapist so to determine which massage method will work for you.
5. Developing Good Sleep Hygiene
This refers to the sleeping habits that you can practice to enhance your sleeping pattern. This is what you can do to better your sleeping patterns: Have a sleeping routine and follow it up.
- Make sure that you bathe using warm preferably before bedtime.
- Avoid working on your computer/laptop while you are in your bed.
- Make sure that your clock is switched off so you don’t see the time.
- Make sure that you get in your bed when you are sleepy and leave your bed if you are tossing.
- Doing exercise every day can also improve sleep.
- Avoid eating a heavy meal when you’re going to sleep.
- Drinking a cup of milk. Milk is believed to affect the brain that making it easier for you to sleep.
In conclusion, meditation, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, practicing yoga, and having a regular massage and sleep hygiene can help relieve insomnia without medication. It is also worth noting that there is a need to have a therapist or trainer to help you understand which technique will work for you.