We all have trouble sleeping sometimes. When insomnia strikes, learn the ways you can get your zzzs. From easy fixes to scheduling a doctor visit, there are quick, actionable approaches to consider. Solutions to sleep struggles can be easier than you think. Let’s look at how to cure insomnia in 12 minutes.
Light in the Morning, Dark in the Evening
Exposure to bright light first thing in the morning can help your body get on a sleep schedule. Take in 5 minutes of sunshine first thing every day.
Keeping your blue and white light to a minimum in the evening can help you fall asleep faster. Devices such as computers and smartphones emit high blue and white light levels unless you use a blue light filter.
If you must use an electronic device in the 2 hours before you want to sleep, turn the light brightness down to the lowest setting and use your blue light filter at maximum.
Have you ever tried to study something boring and fell asleep? Or were you at an event listening to a speaker drone on and on and found yourself nodding off?
You can recreate that sleepy feeling by keeping your focus on something you find boring. Listen to an ebook about a subject that does not interest you.
Or read a book that you don’t understand. Just read the words, and don’t worry about whether you comprehend what it is saying. If you are a worry wart or find yourself too excited to sleep, this technique can work wonders for your ability to sleep.
Use Your Imagination
Think about something repetitive, like literally watching sheep in your head. Count as each imaginary sheep jumps a fence. Consider how the landscape looks and focus on how each piece of grass waves in the breeze. Is the sky full of fluffy clouds? Create your world until you get lost in it and fall asleep.
Or imagine yourself spending time in your favorite place. Imagine somewhere that you always feel happy or relaxed. Add details to your imagery. Feel the sand under your toes or watch the waves crash on the beach. Go to peaceful places in your imagination and get lost in a dream world.
Meditate or Pray
Stop overthinking everything. This brain activity is called rumination, and it causes your body to feel anxious. Creating worrisome scenarios in your head amps you up. Catastrophizing causes your body to think that scenarios you imagine are happening now.
Your body can enter a fight or flight mode when you incessantly worry. Your body ends up staying too awake and aware because it senses from you that there is danger.
Instead, imagine the good things that could happen. Most of what we worry about never comes to pass except in our own heads. Try yoga or other formal meditation techniques to find release from worry and anxiety.
Or, if you believe in God, pray about your problems and turn over your worries to your higher power. Many addiction programs recommend giving up control and letting God handle your issues. Knowing that the buck doesn’t stop with you can feel comforting and help you relax.
Cure a Stuffy Nose
During the winter, the air can feel dry and make a stuffy nose from a cold feel worse. Use an essential oil diffuser, vaporizer with Vick’s vapor rub or similar menthol, or a humidifier to put some moisture in your room.
Or try a nasal irrigation system available at many drugstores. Use any nasal irrigator with the proper saline solution. Never use tap water to fill a nasal irrigator.
Use a decongestant nose spray, but never for more than 3 days in a row. Using a decongestant spray can help short-term for a cold, but can cause rebound stuffiness if you use longer than 3 days and quit.
Exercise 12 Minutes Per Day
Exercise for 12 minutes in 2-minute spurts throughout the day. This is called HIIT or High-Intensity Interval Training. If you do six 2 minute spurts of high-intensity, high-energy aerobic activity throughout the day, you never even have to break a sweat.
Do jumping jacks, pushups, jump rope, etc 4-6 times per day and you may sleep better when you hit the sack. An added benefit is that HIIT also improves metabolism more than other types of exercise.
Or try taking a fast walk or jog for 12 minutes. A little bit of exercise is always better than none at all.
Try taking a mineral or electrolyte supplement to relax your body and take care of any dehydration issues you may have from a busy day. Health food stores sell mineral supplements you can try, or just drink some electrolyte-infused water or sports drink.
You can also buy potassium chloride or magnesium chloride online and add it to your water with a sugar-free sweetener, or just eat a banana for added potassium kick. Watch your dosage carefully with these types of supplements so that you don’t cause a health issue (instead of fixing one).
Watch out for added sugar or caffeine in sports drinks, which can give you a spurt of energy rather than help you relax and sleep.
Melatonin can help some people fall asleep. If you try a melt tab, you can literally hit dreamland in under 12 minutes. Some people find if they use melatonin every day that it doesn’t work as well, but others do fine with 1-2 mg or more per night.
If you do shift work that disrupts your sleep rhythm a few days a week, this can be a panacea for you.
Drink Herbal Tea
So many varieties of herbal tea give your body natural chemicals to help you sleep. Hit the natural food stores to find your favorites. Valerian, skullcap, kava, and chamomile are all popular sleep remedies, but other herbal blends may also help. Try a different one each night until you find a winner.
If you are the type of person who drinks 5 cups of coffee per day, you may want to consider cutting back, especially after 4 pm. Your body needs time to come down from caffeine. Some people do better coming off of caffeine completely while others can handle it only in the morning.
Dig Through Your Medicine Cabinet
Take occasional sleep meds when you feel truly desperate for a good night’s sleep. Getting your recommended sleep is crucial to your daily health and safety.
Drugstores sell many medications for occasional use. If you find yourself needing sleep meds every night though, see your ENT doctor to find out what may be causing your insomnia issues.
See the Doc
You may have a physical issue that is preventing your sleep. If you suffer from a medical issue, you may need a different type of medication or a sleep device to get your ZZZ’s. Your ENT doctor may suggest a sleep study to find out what your sleep issues are.
You may need a medical device to sleep well. If you suffer from a disorder called sleep apnea, your ENT doctor may prescribe a:
- Inspire (an implantable FDA-approved device to help you sleep with sleep apnea)
See your ENT doctor if you struggle from severe issues such as:
- Waking up gasping for air
- Needing to use the bathroom several times each night
- Waking up early every morning after limited sleep unable to sleep more
- Trouble breathing while sleeping
We Can Help
At Enticare, our ENT doctors specialize in sleep disorders. If natural remedies just leave you disappointed, you may have a sleep disorder. Our ENT doctors can work with you to determine the cause of your insomnia. A considerable percentage of our population suffers unaware from a condition called “sleep apnea.”
We want to find the root cause of your sleeplessness and help you find the way back to waking up refreshed each morning. Often, only a sleep study can help you determine precisely what causes your insomnia. Contact us today to set up an appointment or schedule your sleep study. Let us help you feel good again when you wake up in the morning.