According to the National Institutes of Health, 30 percent of adults complain of sleep disturbances, and 10 percent report having trouble functioning during the day as a result of insomnia. If you are suffering due to poor rest, you may be seeking ways of how to improve your sleep.
There are many reasons why your sleep can be affected; stress, anxiety, depression, prescription medication, and/or hormonal fluctuations can disrupt sleep quality. If the issues behind sleep problems are not addressed, acute or even chronic insomnia can develop.
Insomnia can be extremely frustrating, making you feel helpless and even angry. A poor night’s sleep can wreak havoc on your mind, your emotions, and your productivity.
The good news is that there is help for anxiety and insomnia. Natural remedies, prescription medication, therapy, and alternative practices can offer relief from sleep disturbances.
1. What is hiding under the covers?
Insomnia can seem like a monster that has crawled into your bed. Anyone who has wrestled with sleeplessness understands that insomnia can feel like an insurmountable force.
We tend to build up insomnia as this separate energy that consumes us but insomnia is a condition that is created inside of us. That monster under your covers is your panic and anxiety building to a point where it robs you of your sleep.
To learn how to sleep better, you need to stop fighting. Once you cease the struggle, you can then examine what is causing your insomnia.
Stress is a major contributor to sleep problems. Stress can be caused by multiple life factors and it can put you in a state of hyperarousal, which can affect the quality of your sleep.
Hyperarousal kicks your body into high alert, where your body and mind feel a sense of danger, even in the absence of immediate threats. “This state of elevated tension makes it hard to relax, fall asleep, and stay asleep.”
Hormonal changes-particularly in perimenopausal women-can greatly affect sleep quality. When hormones fluctuate, such as a drop in estrogen, this can cause symptoms such as hot flashes and sleep disturbances.
A cruel twist is that poor sleep quality can also affect hormone production, causing a vicious cycle. Poor sleep can alter ovulation, which in turn can influence functions such as fertility and even sexual desire.
Clinical Depression can also cause an inability to sleep. As with hormonal changes, sleep disturbances can further mood disorders and depression, thus worsening the conditions on both ends.
Do you lay in bed worrying; “how can I get better sleep?” In understanding the root cause(s) of your insomnia, you can help dispel it’s frustrating mystery; from there, you can seek relief from the direct issue(s) at hand.
2. Accept Your Reality; Welcome The Night
Part of what can make insomnia so maddening is your inability to accept your current situation. Tossing, turning, and panicking over a predicted outcome will only increase the intensity of your sleep disturbances.
You may be consumed with the fear of not being able to function the next morning. Or maybe you are so excited about an upcoming trip that your mind is racing over making it to the airport on time.
Stress then creeps into your psyche, creating a disconnection between reality as it is and what you want it to be. Being wrought with anxiety can also affect your breathing; making it impossible for your mind and body to completely relax.
As Eckhart Tolle states; “Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future, and not enough presence.”
Turn on a soft light and try reading a book. Or get out of bed and move about; watch some TV or fix yourself a snack.
Ease yourself with soothing self-talk, allowing yourself permission to remain awake, if needed. Tell yourself that whatever happens tonight, you will be ok and that the world will not fall apart.
Whenever it is possible to do so, learn to accept the reality of your insomnia; give up the fight, and welcome the night. Once you stop struggling against what is, your mind will then be able to adapt and settle itself.
3. Best Treatments for Insomnia
There are many options available to treat insomnia; remedies can be highly individualized. What works for one person may not work for you, so it is important to explore various offerings.
While over-the-counter sleep medication promises an accessible, inexpensive, and ‘quick fix’ to sleep issues, their results are not always consistent with each individual. Some users have even reported such side-effects as grogginess or even excitability; making this remedy counterproductive.
In addressing disturbances with sleep, we recommend looking into natural remedies that offer a more holistic approach. Incorporating exercises such as breathwork and meditation can provide full-body relaxation, which is a more sustainable solution in the long run.
If you prefer more natural remedies for sleep, you can explore alternative medicine and practices. Recent research on cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has been making its way into the mainstream as effective treatments for insomnia.
CDB is more widely available because unlike THC, it is not psychoactive and thus, will not get you ‘high.’ THC can be available with a prescription from a doctor; consult your health care professional to see if CDB or THC are right for you.
Finally, sleep therapy is another option for those struggling with insomnia. This is offered as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, that is specific to sleep disturbances.
However, sleep therapy can also in the form of other, non-invasive methods such as using special pillows, breath work practices and recommendations on better sleep hygiene.
A good night’s sleep is crucial to our well-being. Proper rest improves our cognitive functions and helps to regulate our mood, as well as biological processes in the body.
While sleep disturbances can be frustrating, you can learn how to improve your sleep. We invite you to explore the various options so that you can kick insomnia out of your bed for good.