Say Good Night to Insomnia: The Six-Week, Drug-Free Program Developed At Harvard Medical School https://www.amazon.com/dp/0805089586/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_hS...
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"Say Good Night to Insomnia: The Six-Week, Drug-Free Program Developed At Harvard Medical School" by Dr. Gregg Jacobs.
The first few chapters have a weird hucksterish tone. Hold your nose and read on anyway. The program laid out in the book was developed over the course of a decade at Harvard. It has been clinically proven to be effective. I followed the program and found it to be very helpful.
While you are waiting for the book to arrive Google on "Sleep Hygiene" to learn all about little habits that look harmless that can add up to disrupt your sleep.
As others will mention you may want to get tested for sleep apnea. Caveat emptor! Selling the equipment has become a money maker. Insurance companies are also pushing people to take home wrist bands to monitor their vitals as a means of diagnosing sleep apena. The wrists bans are not accurate. If you get test for sleep issues insist on going to a sleep lab where you are monitored for a night while you sleep. It isn't true for everyone, but most cases of sleep apnea ( or snoring ) clear up with weight loss.
There are two kinds of insomnia.
The second type usually indicates an issue with anxiety or depression. Don't let the words "anxiety" or "depression" phase you as they don't necessarily mean big problems. Mild anxiety or depression can get you up in the middle of the night. The human body has "core sleep" that lasts about 5 hours which it uses to keep the basics in the body running. After that the brain starts sorting & processing things and after that point is when people who have trouble staying asleep begin getting up. Unfortunately the only cure for this is sorting out your life. You may find it helpful to open up something to journal in, and divide the page into two columns. The one on the left title it "what is on my mind" and the one on the right title it "what can I do about it". Doing that sometime after dinner can help. If self help like that isn't enough seeking psychological counseling can help.
As far as short term solutions go some people use these things to help them get to sleep or back to sleep
Give Celestial Seasonings "Sleepy Time Plus" a try. It is likely in your supermarket, cost only a few dollars, and is harmless. Many people simply don't make it strong enough. Bring a big pot of water to boil, turn the stove off, and let the tea bags soak in it for 20 minutes. 1 tea bag per 8 fluid ounces ( 1 cup ). Let it cool to room temperature and put it in a pitcher to save in your refrigerator. You will need to drink several cups. You can drink them before you go to sleep to help you get to sleep or drink them when you wake up in the night to help you get back to sleep. If your problem is falling asleep start drinking a cup once an hour after dinner.
There are stronger herbal teas and concoctions out there for you to explore. Anything that relaxes or that decreases anxiety will help as it is mental stimulation in the brain that gets people up keeps people up.
Do not drink alcohol. It will make you drowsy, but it disrupts the electrical patterns the brain needs to go through to sleep and sleep well. If you use alcohol regularly to help you sleep you will contribute to your sleep problems persisting.
Breathing exercises are another thing to try. Research has shown that people doing breathing exercises consistently as little as 15 min a day sleep better, are less anxious, and less depressed. 4-7-8 breathing is extremely relaxing. Dr. Weil has a great audio CD for learning a full range of breathing exercises.
Lastly, I ran across this post from an MD who specializes in sleep problems and saved a copy as I think it applies to many people for their sleep issues as well as their mental health issues:
>ICUDOC 12.3k points 2 years ago3
Sleep doctor here, including someone who has been involved in the treatment of PTSD. Lots of good advice here. The most important thing I can add however is that organizing your thoughts and recalling and digesting impactful, emotional events in your head is actually how the human mind works. Being alone with your thoughts, minimizing external stimulation to focus on the internal dialogue is an important daily activity even for as little as 15 minutes a day.
The problem with the modern lifestyle is you probably go from morning radio to podcast in car to Facebook, to work and Reddit during breaks and then back home to the TV. There are few opportunities for quiet reflection so is there any surprise that the first moment there are no distractions (once your head hits the pillow on your bed) you would start having your inner dialogue?
Your coping mechanism should not be more distraction and sleeping pills, but rather forced routine that involves that internal voice. Here are powerful coping mechanisms successful people use on a daily basis:
1) meditation 2) writing a diary 3) working out with minimal distractions 4) prayer 5) light house work with minimal distractions 6) sitting down and planning your daily agenda 7) opening your thoughts to a close friend or psychotherapist over regularly scheduled periods
These routine activities force you to confront your inner thoughts and you will have these necessary internal dialogues during appropriate times rather than moments you are trying to sleep.
People with PTSD (for example) who get in trouble are the kinds of people who ratchet up the distractions in their life because an inner thoughtful reflection on the horrors of life would be too painful. After awhile, distracting yourself becomes ineffective and sleep is often the first victim of a distracted lifestyle.
Good luck, I know this is hard!
- Make your bedroom dark, quiet and cool
- Get a memory foam pillow
- Install blue-light filter on your phone, laptop or desktop (Twilight on Android, f.lux on Mac & Windows)
- Have your Vitamin D levels checked, take supplements if necessary
- Take 0.3 mg of Melatonin if you're having trouble sleeping
- Read Say Good Night to Insomnia