I used to suffer from insomnia, too. It's a good way to get some
reading done, but a bad way to feel your best, isn't it? Here are
11 things that may help:
* Rule out that depression, anxiety, pain, or use of medications is
causing your insomnia. If you're unsure if your medication could be
causing insomnia, consult your pharmacist. To switch medications, talk
to your doctor. And if you're experiencing depression, anxiety, or
pain, do be sure to consult your doctor, also.
* Get more exercise. But do it earlier in the day, not in the evening.
* Relax. Progressive muscle relaxation (see "Progressive Muscle
) helps many people, but even something as simple as taking a warm
bath before bed may work.
* Don't get stimulated. Before bedtime, avoid anything that stimulates
your mind. In addition, avoid things that can trick your mind into
thinking it's not night time. Watching tv, being on the computer, or
keeping bright lights on before bed are no-nos. Keep lights low.
* Cognitive behavioral therapy (see Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:"
has shown positive results in curing insomnia in some people.
* Good sleep habits. Make sure you keep regular bed and wake hours 7
days a week. Avoid naps. (See "How to Set Up a Healthy Sleep
* Make the bed a place for sleep (and sex) only. If you aren't asleep
15 minutes after going to bed, get up and don't come back until you're
sleepy. (See "Stimulus-Control Therapy for Insomnia:"
* Stop drinking (and eating) caffeine Not just before bedtime, but all
day and night.
* Try adding "white noise" to your bedroom. This should be a *steady*
sound (such as a fan running).
* "Imagery Tasks. A 2002 study enrolled people whose chronic insomnia
was associated with unwanted thoughts and worries. They were given
specific positive mental tasks that gave them a sense of positive
control (as opposed to their real life concerns, which felt out of
their control.) Those images distracted them and allowed them to fall
asleep faster. In support of this approach, a 2002 study evaluated
patients with insomnia who were given a problem before sleep. One
group was asked to think of the problem in images and the other in
words. The group who used imagery fell asleep more quickly and woke up
with less anxiety." ("Insomnia:"
* When everything else fails, there are medications that can help you
get to sleep. For a good article on the various medications that may
be taken, please see "How Is Insomnia Treated?"
If you are interested in any of the therapies mentioned above, contact
a local sleep center at www.sleepcenters.org