When You’ve Tried It All: 6 Tips for Struggling Insomnia
Updated: Jan 6
Insomnia can be very disruptive, causing you to feel listless and irritable during the day, and anxious and fretful when you wish you were sleeping at night. For most people, treating chronic insomnia is a matter of trial and error. It might even require a combination of strategies. Consider these tips for when you’ve tried everything and still need to find something that will put you on the path toward sleeping better with insomnia.
1. Make sure you’ve eliminated the most likely culprits.
If you’ve struggled with insomnia for a while, you’ve probably already tried a lot of the typical strategies. You stopped drinking anything with caffeine at night since the caffeine can prevent you from falling asleep. You gave up indulging in alcoholic drinks in the evening, since they tend to make you wake up in the middle of the night. You stopped eating large meals at night, too. You avoid the temptation of a cozy nap during the day because you know it will interfere with your nighttime sleep. But if it’s been a while since you committed to these behavioral changes, take an honest look. Are you still avoiding those potential culprits? If you’ve backslid, you may find that you need to try again.
2. Banish your electronics from your bedroom.
For many people, insomnia or not, banishing the smartphone or tablet from the bedroom is absolutely a last resort. But it probably should be one of your first steps if you are struggling with insomnia. These devices emit a blue light that can make it harder for you to sleep. Blue light suppresses the secretion of melatonin, which can throw off your circadian rhythms and prevent you from sleeping. You could wear blue light-blocking glasses while you scroll through all your social media platforms before bed, but putting away your devices a few hours before bedtime may be more effective.
3. Take stock of your medications.
You could be unintentionally sabotaging yourself and your sleep by taking a medication for a totally unrelated condition. For example, you may be taking a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant or an asthma med that’s interfering with your ability to sleep (and stay asleep). Certain medications used to treat high blood pressure, such as alpha blockers and beta blockers, are also notorious for contributing to insomnia. And there are other sleep-disrupting drugs you might want to watch out for. Talk to your doctor about your medications to find out if you could switch to something less disruptive.
4. Get checked out for other health conditions.
It’s entirely possible you may suffer from an undiagnosed health condition that may be causing your insomnia–and once you treat that condition, you may find you can sleep better. For example, you might have sleep apnea, in which you stop breathing periodically at night. Or you might have restless legs syndrome, where twitching in your legs or feet can wake you up out of a sound sleep. Untreated depression and anxiety can also trigger sleeping problems. Treating these conditions can help improve your sleep and your overall health.
5. Try deep breathing techniques for insomnia.
If only the key to success for sleeping better with insomnia was breathing, since you have to do that anyway, right? But actually, engaging in some slow, deep belly breaths really can help, and you might not even think of this as a possible solution. As you control your breath, you can actually reduce your heart rate and your stress levels. It sends a message to your brain to relax, which in turns helps your body to relax, too. Try inhaling through your nose while counting to four or five. Then slowly breathe out through pursed lips. Repeat several times until you start to feel your muscles relax and your anxiety ebb.
6. Acupuncture is the proven and best alternative approach for insomnia
Acupuncture has a calming effect on the nervous system. It clears obstructions in the muscle and nerve channels, facilitates the flow of oxygen enriched energy and relaxes the system. Common noted benefits of acupuncture include deeper breathing, improved digestive abilities, better sleeping patterns, decrease in various pains and a general sense of well being, which are all excellent treatments for insomnia.
Acupuncture works to strengthen the function of your organ systems, helping to uncover the root cause(s) of a particular problem. Acupuncture treatment is very calming and relaxing, promoting blood flow, the release of endorphins and a boost in physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
You can start feeling better as soon as today!