Not getting enough sleep because you have insomnia can be wreak havoc on your health. Not only that, but it can cause you to have trouble concentrating at work, put you at higher risk of having some type of accident and it can lead to memory loss.
When you have insomnia – especially if your insomnia is chronic – you’ll want to do whatever you can to treat it so that you can get back to sleeping well at night. There are plenty of options available for you – ranging from the natural to traditional methods.
How a White Noise Machine Can Help
As your home settles in for the night, it will make noise. There will be creaks. You might hear the refrigerator kick on and hum. Same thing with your heating or air conditioning system.
If you have pets, they can keep you awake by moving around in another room, by the sound of their feet on tile or hardwood flooring. You might hear them lapping water or growling in their sleep.
These things can jar you from sleep – even if you’re not a light sleeper. Having a white noise machine can help drown out the sounds that occur in the night that wake you up and prevent you from getting back to sleep.
White noise consists of sounds, too – but these sounds each occur at a different frequency. When you use a white noise machine, you’re not actually hearing these frequencies because your hearing range isn’t able to tell each of these signals from the other.
What the machine does is it covers up or takes in any of the regular noises that you hear at night that might prevent you from falling asleep. Not only does it cover up sounds that keep you awake, but the sound that the machine does produce is very tranquil.
It helps you feel drowsy. The reason that this type of noise works is that you can’t really figure out what it is that you’re hearing because of the frequency. So because of that, your mind doesn’t focus on it the way that it would with the sound of a dog drinking water or a refrigerator humming when the motor comes on.
A white noise machine is not only recommended to people with insomnia, but it’s also recommended for people who have a medical condition, like tinnitus, which keeps them from falling asleep.
You can find these machines in models that will only give off a plain white noise. Some of these machines, however, do have masking sounds. The most popular kinds are the ones that have white noise that simply sounds like air.
But you can buy models that will allow you to customize the white noise sounds. These are frequencies that sound like rain, the ticking of a clock or of a hair dryer on low speed.
Some of them will also produce sounds like a rain storm, or like the sounds of wind chimes moving in a breeze. These machines are great for people who work odd hours or have jobs that require them to work third shift.
Melatonin Treats Insomnia
Whenever insomnia hits, many people will automatically take a prescription medication to help them get to sleep. Other people, however, want something that’s more natural that won’t have any lingering side effects.
One of these more natural treatments is the use of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that’s produced by your body. The location for the production of this hormone is found in the pineal gland – a tiny gland that rests at the base of your brain.
It works like a natural alarm clock. What this hormone does is it helps regulate your sleep and awake times. Everyone has this hormone. When it’s working right, it kicks in and starts a series of changes within your body in preparation for sleep.
The first thing that it does is to drop your body temperature. Not by a lot, but enough to make you feel tired. When your body temperature drops, your body – as well as your brain – begins the shift from awake mode to sleep.
As this shift begins to take place, you’ll start to get drowsy and then you’ll drift off to sleep. That’s the way that your body’s natural production of melatonin is supposed to work.
However, as you grow older, your body produces less of this hormone. Many people think that this step begins in middle age of 40 and over. But the loss of melatonin actually starts once you reach the age of thirty.
Once you reach the point where there’s less of this hormone being produced, your body will then experience trouble trying to regulate your sleep cycle. You won’t have the same restful nights that you once did.
You’ll find that it’s more difficult to fall asleep and when you do get to sleep, you wake suddenly for no reason. People who have too much melatonin are often excessively sleepy, which can lead to insomnia because they sleep so much, it creates a cycle of oversleeping, then not being able to sleep.
You can find melatonin in the health food or natural remedies section of your grocery store. You can also find it through online shops. The amount of the supplement that you’ll need to take will depend on the brand that you buy.
It can take a few weeks for melatonin to build back up in your body so that you gain the benefit from it. When it does, you’ll get your sleep cycle restored. However, in the meantime, there are some other things that you can do to help find relief from the insomnia.
Use Aromatherapy to Treat Insomnia
When you’re tossing and turning in bed, it can cause you to feel a sense of frustration at the thought of losing even more sleep because of your insomnia. There is something that’s easy, inexpensive – and studies have shown that it’s effective at helping relieve insomnia – aromatherapy.
Aromatherapy is basically just treatment for a condition using the way a body draws in scent to create a behavioral change. There are certain scents that we associate with specific activities or times of the year.
For example, the smell of wood smoke might immediately make you think about the fall or winter months sitting in front of the fireplace. We associate scent with a lot of good things in our lives.
Scent is a powerful tool that can be used to break the cycle of insomnia and help get you on the road to resting the way that you need to sleep. The way that aromatherapy works is that it can set up the conditions that bring your body to its sleep cycle.
The scents that you use in aromatherapy will be oils that are known to produce a calming, drowsy effect on the body. When you use aromatherapy to help prepare your body to sleep, through the use of the scents, your brain begins to release the triggers that it’s time for you to go to sleep.
There are a ton of different scents on the market that you can use in an aromatherapy treatment. However, not all of them are good to help you get to sleep.
In fact, some of them have stimulating properties and will actually do the opposite of what you want to accomplish. There is one scent, however, that’s well known for producing a calming, drowsy effect.
That scent is lavender. This scent contains sleep-inducing properties that can help you. Lavender is a shrub and its flowers are used for the making of the essential oil used in aromatherapy.
It’s known to help with the treatment of anxiety and stress, so if you have insomnia that’s caused by worries, this is a great treatment for you to choose. Besides being in the essential oil form, you can get lavender in bath soaps, lotions, and in tea.
The scent can be used by inhaling it once it’s diluted with water. You can simply put some drops into a pot of boiling water. It’s the vapors from the hot water that you inhale that helps.
What some people do is buy diffusers to use with lavender essential oil. These are inexpensive containers that will mist the scent into the air. These containers are especially helpful if you place them in your bedroom and let them release fragrance into the air about twenty minutes before you go to sleep.
A Temperature Control Pillow Helps Treat Insomnia
When you start to fall asleep, your body is supposed to lower your temperature. But in many cases, this doesn’t happen. That’s one of the first steps to the natural rhythm that your body is supposed to undergo.
When it doesn’t, everything gets out of rhythm. Your sleep cycle then begins the first stage where it’s heading toward sleep loss and the possibility of insomnia. There can be several reasons for this out of rhythm failure.
It can be tied to your body not producing enough melatonin. That’s usually one of the first things that your doctor might mention if you tell him you’re having trouble sleeping.
But this failure can also be linked to hormonal changes, like the ones that are found when menopause occurs. Poor temperature control can also be linked to medical conditions that impact your adrenals, your thyroid, or your autonomic system.
But regardless of what’s causing your temperature control problem, the end result is the same for you. Poor temperature control means that you end up not being able to sleep.
This can lead to insomnia. Thankfully, however, there are some things that you can do to help fix this. You can get a temperature control pillow. Reducing your temperature will make you feel drowsy enough to fall asleep.
An example can be found by what happens to your body after you take a bath. No matter how warm your bath water is, when it’s over, you feel sleepy. That’s because not only does a warm bath relax you, but it lowers your temperature.
That might not seem feasible since the water is warm. But what happens is that when you step out of the bath, your body temperature immediately starts to drop. So you feel sleepy right away.
When you use a temperature control pillow, the pillow will respond to your body by lowering the temperature within the pillow. This lowers your body temperature. These pillows are also called temperature adjusting pillows and temperature regulating pillows.
Many of them contain gel inside the pillow. The gel can react to your body by telling when it needs to cool you down. So the gel will actually grow colder. The majority of these pillows are also hyper-allergenic and can be machine washed.
Anti-Stress Comfort Wraps Can Break the Cycle of Insomnia
Besides a lack of melatonin, one of the top reasons that insomnia occurs is because of stress. Stress can create feelings of anxiousness, fear and anger. It can leave you worried about what’s going to happen the next day when you have to get up.
It can also make you wonder about your future. There are known stressors. You know when something has happened that causes you to feel stressed. Things can go on at work that make you feel like you just can’t handle one more issue.
Driving home from work, and dealing with the people who don’t act right during the commute can raise your stress levels. At home, dealing the things that go wrong – such as repairs – can stress you out.
So can a disagreement with your significant other. Finding out that your child has to have something for school the next day and you’re just now finding out about it can cause you stress.
Most people understand these kinds of stressors. Though they can cause some unrest and maybe make you lose a night of sleep, they’re not usually linked to long term stress that can cause insomnia.
However, what a lot of people do have that they may not even realize is stress that’s not 100% in their conscious mind. This can be a lingering ache from a car accident that happened years ago.
An area of your body can have some pain still associated with that. The pain bothers you and causes you stress because it’s linked to that past trauma. When you experience a stress, you carry that stress in your body.
Whether it’s at the forefront of your mind or not, as you try to drift off to sleep, your body will experience the feelings from that stress. You might not even be able to put your finger on the why of it all.
But anti-stress comfort wraps can help. You have to get the tension released from your body before you begin to try and fall asleep. A comfort wrap is a simple terry cloth covered wrap with filling in it that you warm up.
You can usually warm these in the microwave. What most people do is to place the wrap at the back of their neck or across a shoulder, alternating sides about half an hour before bed.
The wrap helps relieve the tension and stress that’s within your body. These wraps are relatively inexpensive. You can usually find a good one for twenty dollars or less.