Is there a cure for insomnia? Yes. A friend of mine on Facebook posted this morning to say she had not been to sleep at all last night. I can relate to that very well. When I am stressed out it's very difficult for me to sleep. However, I have learned some strategies over the years that have helped to almost eliminate insomnia.
Most people get on a rollercoaster of sleep deprivation and it's very hard to break the cycle. They don't sleep well, so they get a big cup of coffee in the morning. Soon, they are hooked. Caffeine is an addictive substance. Plus there's the comfort of the coffee ritual, the looking forward to that aroma, that taste. There's the social aspect of it, chatting at the coffee machine at work. I understand all that really well because I did the same thing, for years.
One day I decided to just stop all caffeine because I was tired of not sleeping well. I won't lie. I had a raging headache for two days. I only drank a couple of cups of coffee a day, but I also drank Diet Coke at lunch, then maybe another one at dinner. Those have caffeine too.
I am Southern, so I also love my iced tea.
I advised a lady on Facebook to not try to cut out all caffeine in one day, due to withdrawal, but to gradually cut down. If you cannot give up your caffeine, limit it to just morning. Try drinking no caffeine after noon. If that doesn't work, no caffeine after 10 a.m. Try cutting back from two cups of coffee to one, or gradually cut out caffeinated coffee and drink decaf. Figure out what works for your body.
What has finally evolved, over the years, is that I drink one cup of tea in the morning, then water the rest of the day. No sodas. No fruit juice. Nothing but water. If you hate water, try squeezing in some lemon juice, or try some infused waters.
The main reason I cut out sodas was the carbonation gave me indigestion. I cut out fruit juices because they are always full of sugar.
I keep a big 28 ounce plastic cup by me all day and just sip water every few minutes. When I go out, I always have a bottle of water in my purse. Staying hydrated is important. (I also know where to find the bathroom in every public place I ever go...)
Another important key to sleeping is to have a routine at night, and stick to it. I watch TV or a movie every night after dinner for a couple of hours. Then I help my mother get ready for bed, come upstairs, to my desk, and listen to some relaxing music while I check email and scan Facebook for a few minutes. I will sometimes read for a few minutes before bed, too.
I take 5 mcg. of Melatonin every night. I won't take more than that, but that's what I need to get the job done. I only buy it from GNC because I've learned the hard way, over the years, that cheap brands often don't have enough Melatonin and they don't work as well. They aren't regulated so they get away with substandard ingredients. GNC stuff can be ordered online if you don't have one near you. Also, RiteAid usually carries GNC products.
However, there are nights when I take the Melatonin and I still can't relax enough to sleep.
If you are constantly checking your phone or your tablet or watching TV right before bed, try going screen-free for at least 30-60 minutes beforehand. Read a book. Listen to music. Pet the dog or cat. Just power down your brain.
Also, go to sleep about the same time every night.
If possible, get outside every day. I walk my dog 2-3 times a day, for a total of about 30 minutes, no matter what the weather. I only skip it for really bad rain or snow.
What I have to do to fall into a good sleep, even after taking the Melatonin, really involves a combination of things.
My routine is the same, every night. I listen to music, brush my teeth, pee, wash my hands, and put some coconut oil on my lips at night. When I run the heat at night, I fill up and run my humidifier also, to keep my nose from drying out. It stays on all night, right by my bed. In summer, I run a box fan near my bed.
When I get in bed, all lights are off and all electronics are silent. It is DARK DARK DARK. That's important.
I start by getting really comfortable, then silently say my prayers. I also start with the same words every night: God please let me have a good day tomorrow. If it's not going to be good please be with me and help me. Please watch over, guide and protect my children, and help them make good choices. Watch over all those I love, and all who love me. [Then I pray specific things for specific people]. Sometimes I drop off to sleep right after praying. Other times, not.
I realized a while back that I do visualization, or self-hypnosis, every night. When I was young, I would plan the details of my future wedding - mentally decorating the church, designing the bridesmaid's gowns, the flowers, etc. After I turned 40 I stopped that because I figured marriage wasn't in the cards for me. So now, I mentally design my dream house. I go through and choose colors and furnishings for every room. I have mountain houses and beach houses. Usually by the second room I am asleep.
I have read articles that say mentally powering down your brain every night, the same way, and keeping to your routine, is important.
The human body can do without food or drink, but you HAVE to have good sleep. For some of us, that's just always going to be a challenge.