How to Fight Insomnia: 13 Steps (With Pictures)

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How to Fight Insomnia: 13 Steps (With Pictures)
How to Fight Insomnia: 13 Steps (With Pictures)

Insomnia is defined as an inability to fall asleep, stay asleep, or get a deep enough sleep, which creates numerous physiological problems over time. It is estimated that up to 95% of people in the US experience periods of insomnia at some stage in their lives. High levels of stress (often due to financial worries, problems at work, or problems in romantic relationships) are the most common cause of insomnia. However, other factors can also play a significant role, such as your diet, medical problems, or prescription medications.


Part 1 of 3: Improve Your Sleep

Prevent Insomnia Step 1
Prevent Insomnia Step 1

Step 1. Create a relaxing bedtime ritual

It is important to perform a relaxing ritual before going to bed. Having an activity that you do regularly before bed can help signal your mind and body that it is time to sleep. Relaxation techniques before bed can also help the brain relax.

  • Deep breaths can help you sleep. Place one hand on the lower part of your stomach and inhale so that your hand rises with each breath. Hold your breath for three seconds and then exhale.
  • Try tensing your toes. Curl your toes inward, count to 10, release, and then count to 10 again. Repeat 10 times.
  • Relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation (PMR), can help you relax before bed. You can find progressive muscle relaxation techniques online. RMP involves hyperfocusing on one region of the body at a time. This can help put you in the present, avoiding any annoying thoughts that keep you from sleeping.
  • A hot shower or bath can also help you sleep. Consider getting into the tub about an hour before bed. Make sure the water is not too hot as this can actually be stimulating.
Prevent Insomnia Step 2
Prevent Insomnia Step 2

Step 2. Make changes to your sleeping area

To help prevent insomnia, make your bedroom or sleeping area as cozy, quiet, and relaxing as possible. Simply improving your sleeping area can lead to a better quality of sleep.

  • If you live in a noisy apartment or area, consider a white noise machine. This can drown out unwanted sounds. You can also download white noise apps on your cell phone.
  • You should strive to keep your bed and sheets comfortable. If a certain fabric irritates you, replace it. Experiment with the temperature in your bedroom. Keep it cool; it tests around 16 to 18 ° C (60 to 65 ° F), although this might be too cold for some people. Keep bright lights and electronic screens out of the bedroom.
  • Try placing a fan in your room, which can provide white noise as well as move air and keep your room cool.
  • Your bed should only be used for sleeping and for having sex. Avoid working or reading in bed. You shouldn't associate the bedroom with anything except sleep.
  • Avoid trying too hard to sleep. Wait until you're sleepy to go to sleep. If you can't sleep, get out of bed after 20 to 30 minutes and do something relaxing until you're sleepy.
  • Remove the clocks from the bedroom. Once you set your alarm clock, hide all clocks from view. Seeing the time can increase anxiety and make insomnia worse.
Prevent Insomnia Step 3
Prevent Insomnia Step 3

Step 3. Pay attention to what you eat before going to bed

Heavy meals a few hours before bedtime can cause indigestion and discomfort. This can result in an inability to sleep. Stick with healthy, light snacks before bed, like whole grain products, fruit, and low-fat dairy.

Prevent Insomnia Step 4
Prevent Insomnia Step 4

Step 4. Do not take stimulants before sleeping

Another common cause of insomnia is consuming certain chemicals that disrupt sleep very close to bedtime. Alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine are well established sleep-disrupting chemicals and their effects can last up to 8 hours.

  • As a general rule, avoid caffeine after lunch, avoid alcohol within 6 hours of going to bed, and avoid nicotine (tobacco) a few hours before bed. Caffeine increases the action potential of neurons in your brain, causing more thoughts to run through your head. Drinking alcohol, while making many people sleepy, leads to poorer quality sleep.
  • Coffee, black tea, green tea, hot chocolate, dark chocolate bars, most sodas, and energy drinks are sources of caffeine. Even caffeine-free energy drinks contain stimulants like guarana, kola nut, or ginseng. Avoid such drinks near bedtime.
  • Sugar is also a stimulant and should be avoided for at least an hour before sleeping.
Prevent Insomnia Step 5
Prevent Insomnia Step 5

Step 5. Find ways to turn off your brain before sleeping

If stress is causing your insomnia, finding ways to turn off your brain before going to bed can help. Establish a bedtime routine that allows you to relax and de-stress before bed.

  • Consider a calming activity before bed. Read something light and fun. Take a hot bath. Meditate However, avoid activities that are stimulating, such as using your computer or watching television.
  • You can also try writing down your thoughts earlier in the day. Spend 10-15 minutes each day writing down your worries or at least taking time to think about what is bothering you. Then at night those thoughts will be out of your brain. This can make it easier to fall asleep.
  • If you find yourself worrying in bed despite trying to relax, keep busy with mental exercises. Try to think of 50 men's names that begin with the letter A. Make a list of as many fruits and vegetables as you can that begin with the letter C. As absurd as these exercises may seem, they will distract your mind from worrying and tire you out. occupying your brain with other thoughts.

Part 2 of 3: Make Lifestyle Changes

Prevent Insomnia Step 6
Prevent Insomnia Step 6

Step 1. Reduce your stress

Worries about work, school, and social life can lead to stress, which later leads to insomnia. Trying to reduce or manage your daily stress can help ease the symptoms of insomnia.

  • Be reasonable about your obligations and responsibilities. Many people are stressed due to having too many commitments or being involved in too many things. If you don't have time to prepare a plate for your school food sale, don't promise to do so.
  • Cross items off your to-do list if you find that you won't have time to do them that day. Ask a friend or family member to help you run errands if you have a busy week.
  • Don't hesitate to remove yourself from stressful situations. If you have a family member or colleague who tends to twitch, reduce contact with him. If certain social events cause you stress, stay home one night.
  • Manage your time in a way where you can avoid stressful situations. If you hate being late, go to work a little earlier each day. If you are stressed out by everyday household chores, group tasks that can be accomplished on the same trip. For example, plan to pick up your medications at the same time you go to the grocery store after work.
  • Talk to friends and family about stressful issues. It can be very helpful to have a friend or family member to vent to on stressful days. Simply getting the pesky thoughts out of your system can help. If you don't feel comfortable talking to someone about your stress, consider journaling your feelings instead.
  • Talk to your doctor about your stress level. Your doctor can recommend lifestyle changes that can help your body better regulate stress. They could also provide you with a referral to a therapist who can work with you on stress management.
Prevent Insomnia Step 7
Prevent Insomnia Step 7

Step 2. Exercise

Regular physical activity can help you regulate your sleep cycle. If you don't already have an exercise routine, working to establish one can help you combat insomnia.

  • Aim for 20-30 minutes of regular vigorous activity every day. This should be in the form of aerobic exercises like cycling, jogging, sports, or aerobic routines that you can find online.
  • Establishing an exercise routine can take a bit of work. It can help to keep a regular schedule. Try to exercise every morning or every day after work. Having a set time during which you normally exercise can make exercise feel routine, as much a part of your everyday activity as brushing your teeth or having dinner.
  • The time you exercise is important when it comes to insomnia. While exercise can be helpful, you shouldn't engage in vigorous physical activity too close to bedtime. Try to make sure your exercise routine happens five to six hours before bed.
Prevent Insomnia Step 8
Prevent Insomnia Step 8

Step 3. Limit naps during the day

If you have trouble sleeping, you may want to take naps during the day. However, this can make falling asleep much more difficult. Try to limit naps during the day or, better yet, avoid them altogether. If you can't go on without a nap, don't do it for more than 30 minutes and do it before 3 p.m.

Prevent Insomnia Step 9
Prevent Insomnia Step 9

Step 4. Review your medications

Ask your doctor if any of your current prescription medications could be contributing to your insomnia. If so, consider changing types of medications or altering dosages. Check the labels of any over-the-counter medications you take regularly. If it contains caffeine or stimulants like pseudoephedrine, that drug may be causing your insomnia.

Part 3 of 3: Seeking Professional Help

Prevent Insomnia Step 10
Prevent Insomnia Step 10

Step 1. Schedule a consultation with your doctor

If your acute insomnia has turned into chronic (long-term) insomnia despite your attempts with home remedies, make an appointment with your family doctor. You may have an underlying medical problem that is causing your trouble sleeping.

  • Common causes of insomnia include chronic pain, depression, restless leg syndrome, severe snoring (sleep apnea), urinary problems, arthritis, cancer, overactive thyroid gland, menopause, cardiovascular disease, lung diseases and chronic heartburn.
  • Ask your doctor if any of your medications put you at risk for insomnia. Problematic medications include those used for depression, blood pressure, allergies, weight loss, and mood swings (such as Ritalin).
  • Your doctor will review your medical history and any other symptoms you may have. It may be helpful to make a list of concerns and questions in advance to ask your doctor.
Prevent Insomnia Step 11
Prevent Insomnia Step 11

Step 2. Consider cognitive behavioral therapy

Since insomnia is the result of emotional stress, therapy can help you manage it. Cognitive behavioral therapy, a type of therapy that helps you better control negative thoughts, is often helpful for those who suffer from insomnia.

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is used to combat factors that exacerbate chronic insomnia, such as poor sleeping habits, irregular sleep schedules, poor sleep hygiene, and misunderstandings about sleep.
  • CBT includes changes in behavior (maintaining regular sleep and wake times, eliminating afternoon naps) but it also adds a cognitive (thinking) component. Your therapist will work with you to help you control or eliminate negative thoughts, worries, and any false beliefs that are keeping you awake. He may ask you to do work outside of his office, such as keeping a negative thought journal or participating in certain activities to deal with negative thoughts.
  • You can find a therapist by asking your doctor for a recommendation. You can also find a list of providers through your insurance company. If you are a student, you may have access to free therapy through your college or university.
Prevent Insomnia Step 12
Prevent Insomnia Step 12

Step 3. Explore medication options

If your doctor thinks it's necessary, he or she may prescribe medication to help you address your lack of sleep. Keep in mind that most doctors do not prescribe long-term medications when treating insomnia as medications sometimes treat the cause by addressing the underlying problems.

The Z drugs are a class of drugs that help promote calmness and sleep. They are generally prescribed for two to four weeks at a time as they become less effective over time. Side effects can include increased snoring, dry mouth, confusion, and daytime drowsiness or dizziness

Prevent Insomnia Step 13
Prevent Insomnia Step 13

Step 4. Talk to your doctor about over-the-counter supplements

There are numerous herbal remedies or natural supplements that act as mild sedatives and can help induce sleep and fight insomnia.

  • Valerian root has a mild sedative effect. Valerian root is sometimes sold as a supplement in many health food stores. As it sometimes has an effect on liver function, you should speak to your doctor before taking valerian root.
  • Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain and is essential for circadian rhythms and deep dreams. Research is inconclusive as to how well it treats insomnia symptoms but it is generally considered safe for short-term use.
  • Acupuncture is a medical procedure in which a doctor places needles into your skin at strategic points. There is some evidence that this can help people with insomnia. You may want to consider acupuncture treatment if other methods don't work.


  • Chronic jet lag from traveling long distances and constantly dealing with time changes can trigger insomnia.
  • Most people need 7-9 hours of sleep a night, although some can do well with as little as 3 hours a night without exhibiting any long-term negative effects.


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