Innovative Treatments for Insomnia
When you can’t sleep you notice everything from the gentle hum of the fridge downstairs to the sliver of light peeping through the blackout blind as the sun begins to emerge. Despite trying everything from a hot or cold bath before bed to banana tea nothing works, and life feels harder and harder. You feel obsessed with sleep, spending your day doing ‘the right thing’ so that you can sleep at night. Yet nothing helps and again you struggle to simply fall asleep and stay asleep.
The diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders lists insomnia as a disorder. To meet the criteria you will have trouble falling asleep, maintaining sleep, or waking early and unable to fall back to sleep. This sleep disturbance causes significant distress and affects your life. It occurs for at least three nights per week for at least three months. The sleep disturbance should not be due to lack of opportunity or substance abuse. Neither is it better explained by any other disorder.
There are treatments for insomnia that your doctor can prescribe but many like to try a natural approach first.
How to Cure Insomnia
When I use hypnotherapy to help someone with insomnia, I try to find the root cause of the problem. Whilst this isn’t always possible when it is it’s important to deal with it. For example, if you struggle to sleep because you have excess stress in your life, we will focus on eliminating the stress first. Sometimes the root cause is obvious – when you wake up in the night worrying about something specific for example. Other times it is a complete mystery, and we can work together to explore what could cause you to jump up out of bed in the middle of the night with a pounding heart and sweaty palms for seemingly no reason.
Insomnia correlates in a bidirectional way with various medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and chronic pain conditions. A downward spiral often causes insomnia when a preoccupation with sleep or lack of, causes a feeling of frustration which impairs sleep further. The exaggerated focus on sleep overrides natural sleep onset functions within the body and interferes with sleep further.
You are not a robot with a setting that says, “ability to function naturally in an unnatural world”. Sleep is a part of the human body that works in sync with the rest of your functions. As the cogs of the natural world turn everything fits together so one thing triggers another which sets of something else. To cure insomnia, you might need to adjust things in your life to ensure the cogs fit together, because when one breaks the others stop turning too. Create boundaries and commit to yourself. To help your body function efficiently you need to make time for exercise, nutrition, and your mental health.
Exercise does not have to be intense, neither does it have to be a set work out. The human body needs to move regularly. Certainly, more regularly than a commute down the stairs followed by a ten-step hunt to the fridge and an arms reach gather to the snack packet in front of you. Some people prefer to take a fifteen-minute walk round the block or through the park (if you live close enough) every couple of hours. Whilst others prefer to take one forty-five-minute chunk of time.
If you like intense exercise, try a gym class or free online workout. You might do this before work or during a break. An internet search for ‘5-minute workout’ will help you find something you can do for five minutes every hour if this suits you more. Most of us use our phone mindlessly for at least five minutes each hour, switch to a workout during those five minutes for a healthier option. The healthiest option is to go outside and reintegrate yourself back into the natural world that you are part of.
Your body needs certain nutrients to function. Without them the cogs will get creaky, and things will start to malfunction. The effects of not getting the nutrition your body needs are not always obvious. We live in a world with so many ailments that your feelings might just be another thing to add to the list. When you meet your nutritional requirements, your body is less likely to glitch. It is important to meet other human needs in addition to nutrition but with poor nutrition problems, like insomnia, will occur. Treatments for insomnia sometimes means treating your body rather than the insomnia.
Lack of movement, poor nutrition and many other aspects of life jeopardise mental health; however, you have the power to support your mental health through some daily practices. Committing to daily exercise as per the above suggestions will ensure you take short amounts of time away from work. In addition to exercise make some time for a short meditation or mindfulness exercises.
If you work in an office and feel comfortable you can do this at your desk, otherwise take yourself into a meeting room or toilet for five minutes every couple of hours. Start and end your day with a meditation too. This might feel like a lot of meditating but living a mindful life takes practise. Those in an ashram will meditate for around eight hours a day (sometimes more). In addition, as many aspects of social media negatively impact mental health remove anything that leaves you feeling deflated.
Treatments for Insomnia
When you take a three-prong approach to your life to give your body the nutrition and movement it needs, in addition to giving your mind some space you unwind anything that might impede your sleep. Our world is so unnatural, yet it feels so normal it is difficult to see why our bodies find is so hard to function.
We have huge expectations of ourselves and our abilities and whilst we are not programmable robots, we do have simple requirements that make the body function. When you step slightly outside of the unnatural life that feels so natural and look at it from a different perspective you might find that you do not need to treat your insomnia. Rather you need to treat yourself, not with biscuits and boxes of chocolates, but with all the things your human body needs.
If you want more information on treatments for insomnia and how to help yourself you might enjoy my two articles below