We’ve all been there: lying in bed, near tears because we just cannot fall asleep, no matter how hard we try. It’s 2 a.m., you have to get up for work in a few hours, and you are about to give up and take one of those stupid Tylenol P.M.’s or some other drug that will make you feel just terrible the entire next day. But wait! Don’t pop that pill yet. There are many natural ways to fall asleep.
The “Do-Not” List When You Cannot Sleep
1. Avoid caffeine as much as you can. Never drink coffee past noon. While caffeine is considered relatively safe, it is nevertheless classified as a stimulant, and it can deter a good night’s sleep.
2. Avoid late meals. Eating less than a few hours before bedtime can cause your stomach to be more active, leading to restless sleep.
3. Remove bedroom disruptions, like your television, telephone, and computer. While some people can sleep with them, insomniacs cannot. Move them to some other room of your house.
Some of these ways to fall asleep may seem overly demanding, but every little bit can help when you are desperate for sleep.
Getting Ready For Bed …
4. Remove background noise. This includes shutting off your dishwasher, television, and washer and dryer. If other people are in your house, make sure your door is shut. The only sound in your room should be white noise or soft music without lyrics.
5. Removing all light from your room is a way to fall asleep faster. Light is disruptive to our natural cycles of sleep.
6. Take a warm bath. Add chamomile or lavender to the water for a soothing aroma to help relax you.
7. After you brush your teeth, drink a small glass of water–not too much, or you will wake up with a full bladder! Try drinking about 4 ounces, just to clear your mouth and throat of any lingering tastes.
8. Collect everything you will need for the following morning. This may seem kind of silly, but having everything prepared for the next day can sometimes permit your mind to stay relaxed and not focused on tomorrow.
9. Collect everything you will need for the following morning. This may seem kind of silly, but having everything prepared for the next day can sometimes permit your mind to stay relaxed and not focused on tomorrow.
While In Your Bed … But Still Not Sleeping
10. Massaging your temples can be a way to fall asleep faster. It helps to calm your muscles and clear your mind.
11. Play soft music to help relax you. Good bedtime music consists of no lyrics and a smooth transition from one song to the next. Make sure you set the music to play continuously throughout the night.
12. Make sure that you wear comfortable night clothes and that you sleep on a relaxing mattress with clean, soothing sheets and pillows.
13. Use a fan to circulate oxygen in your bedroom. This can be doubly effective because it is also a source of white noise, which has been proven to help people reach a state of deep sleep.
These natural ways to fall asleep may not work overnight. They also may not cure insomnia except with time and with a combination of different techniques. However, they are infinitely safer and ultimately much more effective than any prescription medication. [by Jessica Shuemake]