1. Try an easy type of meditation called candle gazing. This is done while sitting with your legs crossed in a comfortable position in a dim room, and gazing at a lit candle. While doing this try to keep your eyes open as long as possible, without blinking. Or gaze at the candle for a minute and then close your eyes and try to focus on the image of the candle flame that you see. Do this for about 20 minutes and slow your breathing down by counting your breaths.
2. Get into some relaxing yoga positions. Search online for yoga positions that help relax the body and mind. Because yoga is a physical movement, it works wonders for distracting the mind as you are busy focusing on maintaining a certain position with your body. There are several yoga positions that require no specific level of physical fitness but can be incredibly relaxing and sleep inducing.
3. Choose a book to read in bed that is not too boring, but not too stimulating. Business books work well for this, or you may want to try some other kind of nonfiction book. The goal is to get your mind interested enough in the subject matter to forget everything else, but then let your mind realize it is too tired to pay attention to the actual reading topic and that the only choice left is to fall a sleep. This is also an easy solution if insomnia keeps you up in the middle of the night. Just keep a book and a book light at your bedside.
4. Stop watching TV 1 to 2 hours before going to bed. Depending on what you are watching on TV, certain shows can get your mind or emotions racing and contribute to insomnia.
5. Have carbohydrates for dinner. If you have ever felt sleepy after consuming a meal laden with pasta or other carbohydrates, use that to your advantage by a having a meal with a little bit more carbohydrates a few hours before going to bed to head off insomnia. Or, try a carbohydrate snack right before bed and see if this helps induce sleepiness.
6. Stay cool. Studies have shown that it is easier to fall asleep and stay asleep when our core body temperature is reduced. Try sleeping in a cooler room, leaving the window open and using a light wool blanket. Wear socks if you need to keep your feet warm. Wool regulates body temperature more effectively than synthetic fabrics can.
7. Clear your mind of impending tasks. If you are feeling overwhelmed and can’t stop thinking about everything you have to do, try writing down a to-do list. Either write down an exhaustive to do list of every possible thing you can think of, or just write a to-do list of the most important items that you need to get done the next day. Large to do lists are notorious for causing insomnia.
8. Check in with your emotions. Perhaps sadness or depression are keeping you from golden slumber. If this is the case, write a gratitude list. Jot down as many things as you can think of that you are thankful for. This could be something as simple as being grateful that you laid your clothes out for yourself the next morning, or something much bigger like being grateful for your wonderful family and friends.
9. Try non-prescription drugs if nothing else is working. Some doctors suggest taking benadryl to induce sleepiness. Benadryl is a simple antihistamine and is worth a try before going to prescription drugs for insomnia. Many over-the-counter sleep medications contain benadryl or another antihistamine.
10. Find a holistic doctor; get tested for vitamin and hormonal deficiencies, and get their assistance to start experimenting with different supplements. There are herbs such as valerian, kava kava and passionflower that can induce relaxation; supplements such as inositol, taurine or melatonin that can induce sleepiness; and other substances like natural progesterone that may help if your insomnia is due to imbalanced hormones.
There are many things to try when it comes to alleviating insomnia. Test each of the items here and see if these help find your way to a better night of sleep.