Insomnia can wreak havoc on your life, and if you’ve been struggling with insomnia for some time now, you might know how challenging it can be to overcome. The good news is that help is at hand, and there are some natural solutions that you can use to minimize the impact insomnia has on your life. Keep reading to discover some of the best tools Dr. Valerie Cacho at Sleep Life Med shares to provide support in combating insomnia, none of which require you to take medication.
One of the biggest challenges when overcoming any obstacle in life is maintaining a positive attitude and mindset. Working to shift your mindset is something that mindfulness often focuses on, and a great way to get started is with meditation. Mindfulness meditation encourages the individual to remain present in the current moment without judging their thoughts, feelings, or behaviors. Practicing mindfulness allows you to cultivate self-compassion enabling your body and mind to reduce the suffering you may be feeling because of your insomnia. This practice focuses on impermanence, while strengthening your understanding that thoughts are not always facts. One way to start mindful meditation is to imagine yourself as you would, looking up watching the clouds as they gently float across the sky. Now, instead of clouds, visualize your thoughts stretched out in right front of you. If these thoughts don’t serve you, simply envision them floating off and away until they are gone and out of sight. Sit with your thoughts through meditation a few minutes each day before building up to longer sessions. Relaxing your mind and body through this exercise can help to improve your sleep.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I)
One of the treatments for insomnia available at Sleep Life Med is cognitive behavioral therapy. This is an excellent, well researched tool for anyone who would like to wean off sleeping pills or is looking for a natural solution to overcome difficulty with sleeping. Whether you have been struggling with acute insomnia or chronic insomnia, you’ll find this to be a useful treatment option to help you drift off to sleep. CBT-I is the leading non-pharmacologic treatment for insomnia and is endorsed by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and American College of Physicians. Dr. Valerie Cacho and you will work together to address any dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors that get in the way of maintaining a healthy sleep routine. Within a period of two to six visits, you should be able to note a significant improvement in your sleep, health, and overall quality of life.
Before starting any form of treatment, one of the first considerations that you should look into is your sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene is one component of CBT-i. Having awareness of any sleep inhibiting habits you may exhibit during the daytime or evening, while replacing them with more effective sleep promoting habits, can improve your comfort levels during the night. As far as sleep hygiene, it’s important that you develop regular schedule of going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day, while also avoiding naps in the daytime. Decreasing or eliminating alcohol is recommended while trying to overcome insomnia, as it can disrupt the quality of your sleep. If you spend your whole day working on electronic devices, this can also be a key factor when considering sleep hygiene. Try to minimize your use of electronics an hour or two before bed each night, and switch this out for relaxing activities such as having a bath or reading.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
If you struggle to fall asleep at night or find yourself waking up and unable to fall back asleep, progressive muscle relaxation is a great tool for you. This technique aims to reduce anxiety in your body, with the help of a script or audio guide that encourages you to tense and then release the muscles in your body from head-to-toe or from toe-to-head. This exercise strengthens the awareness of your own body, and will help increase the feeling of relaxation. You'll find that muscle tension and stress levels in the brain are simultaneously reduced. As the mind relaxes, you’ll feel less anxious about insomnia and sleep will soon follow.
Yoga offers a huge range of benefits to individuals who regularly practice, and find that it has the ability to transform your physical and emotional health. If you are looking for a way to shift your mindset about your insomnia, yoga may be the answer to this. With so many different styles of yoga to choose from, there really is something for everyone. For anyone trying to relax and fall asleep with ease, consider yin yoga or yoga nidra. Yin yoga involves holding positions a bit longer than the typical yoga class, which strengthens the parasympathetic system aka the relaxation system of your body. Yoga nidra is a meditation technique that requires very little effort or concentration but can help to relax your body ready for bed through breathing and visualizations scripts. It is an ancient wisdom practice from India known to improve sleep, making for a great tool to add to your daily routine to help you relax before heading to bed.
Daily Exercise and a Healthy Diet
You probably know the benefits of exercise for your physical and mental health, but did you know that regular exercise can also improve insomnia? The great thing about adding exercise to your daily routine is that there are a variety of options available, giving you the ability to choose any form of exercise that gets your body moving while increasing your heart rate. Exercise is known to promote feelings of sleepiness and result in deeper sleep. When you exercise along with eating a healthy balanced diet low in sugar and simple starches, you’ll find that your insomnia may naturally be reduced. Look for foods that are high in melatonin to eat in the evening, such as tart cherries, pistachios, mushrooms, and lentils.
By trying out a few of these tools and working with a board-certified sleep doctor, you can work to overcome insomnia naturally. Contact Dr. Valerie Cacho today for more information about holistic solutions for insomnia and learn how to regain your energy levels and improve your overall quality of life by overcoming insomnia.