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5 Ways to Beat Insomnia and Get a Better Night's Sleep

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It’s Sunday night, the weekend is over, it’s time to turn in early and get a good night’s sleep, so you'll wake up fresh and ready for work in the morning.

You just have time to grab the last piece of cake, hop in bed and turn on Mad Men. That should make you sleepy, right?


It would be great if comfort food and watching TV was the answer to insomnia, but unfortunately, that cake will spike your sugar levels and make your body think it’s time to wake up.

And watching TV in the bedroom just gets your brain going. It might take your mind off tomorrow’s big project temporarily, but you’ll think about it again once the lights go off, insomnia is back.

According to Health magazine, you only have to tweak your lifestyle a little bit to beat insomnia and get a better night’s sleep.

Here’s how:

1. Shut down caffeine after lunch.
If you’ve made a habit of drinking soda, tea, and coffee — including decaf in the afternoon or evening — you may want to cut back if you’re not sleeping. "If caffeine is still in your system when you go to bed, your sleep is going to be lighter, more fragmented, and less restorative," says Ralph Downey III, PhD, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Loma Linda University Medical Center in California.

2. Step away from the electronics.
If you are serious about getting a good night’s sleep, you have to shut down TV, phone, laptop, or anything else that tends to stimulate your brain. Kenneth Lichstein, PhD, director of the Sleep Research Project at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa says, "People should be conditioned to know that this is a place for sleeping, not for other non-sleeping activities.”

3. Lavish yourself in lavender.
Studies have shown that the scent of lavender helps send you into lala-land. A cheap lavender spray on your pillow or soaking in lavender bubble bath before bed can relax your mind and body and promote needed Zs.

4. Boost Your Magnesium/Calcium intake.
If taken together and just before bed, a calcium/magnesium combo promotes a restful sleep before you can say, "I can’t sleep." Take 200 milligrams of magnesium — lower the dose if it causes diarrhea — and 600 milligrams of calcium each night.

5. Calm down and meditate.
Many people don’t think about meditating, but as a remedy for sleep, the idea is not to think. Close your eyes for 5 to 10 minutes and focus on your breathing and nothing else.

“These techniques work best when done right before bed, in a quiet, calming environment. But you can also practice them several times a day,” says Joyce Walsleben, PhD, associate professor at New York University School of Medicine.

Insomnia is tough to beat on Sunday night or any night, but by changing your lifestyle a bit can be the solution for sleeplessness as well as being tired the next day.

Read here to learn more about the different types of insomnia.

Sources and further reading:

4 Simple Lifestyle Changes That Can Help You Sleep Tonight. Health.com. Web. 11, June, 2012

8 Natural Remedies That May Help You Sleep, Health.com. Web. 11, June, 2012

Better Sleep Through Meditation: 4 Techniques to Try Tonight. Health.com. Web. 11, June, 2012 http://www.health.com/health/condition-article/0,,20189101,00.html

Reviewed June 11, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment1 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

These are wonderful tips – thank you. I also find that unwinding with relaxing music, or even better, guided meditation CDs designed for insomnia sufferers really helps me relax and fall asleep easily. Belleruth Naparstek has some more tips about beating insomnia as well on her blog.

June 26, 2012 - 7:15am
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