For many years of my life I've had an awful time falling asleep. I would have no problem staying asleep once I actually became unconscious, but there was no telling how long that would take.
Night after night I would lie in bed staring at the ceiling. Once morning came by I’d be too tired to get up and would just hit the snooze button thinking I might as well sleep while I still can. This led to many days of skipping classes at my University and negatively affecting my grades.
Does this sound at all familiar?
After years of bad sleeping habits I have come across ways to actually fall asleep more naturally. I’d like to share these tips for anyone who is having a similar situation, because I know how frustrating it can be and how it can negatively affect your days.
Beware of Sleeping Pills
I’ve taken many over-the-counter sleep aids over the years and for a while my sleep aid of choice was Diphenhydramine. A became worried that taking diphenhydramine each and every night was negatively affecting my health, so at my yearly physical checkup, I asked my health care physician about it.
Basically all he told me was that there were no long term studies done, but as far as he knew it was safe.
Gee, thanks a lot, doc.
So my choices were to lose sleep or take the risk of taking Diphenhydramine every night and maybe or maybe not screwing up my health.
Personally, I would not recommend Diphenhydramine. My personal experience after taking it for over two years pretty much daily was memory issues and night terrors. After a while, taking Diphenhydramine would cause me to have mild to severe panic attacks in the middle of the night.
Definitely not a sleep aid you want to take long term (although it may affect you differently, I am not a doctor)
Natural Sleep Aid
Not too long ago I discovered Melatonin. I take Melatonin in intervals of a few weeks on and a few weeks off (just to be on the safe side).
The nice thing about Melatonin is it is a natural chemical produced by our bodies.
So why take it as a supplement?
Well, Melatonin is actually produced by our bodies when it gets dark. Because of modern technology, we have lights all over the place and it screws with our Melatonin production. Many believe this is a major factor to why so many people are having issues with sleep.
Get drowsy naturally.
Still, taking a supplement to help sleep (even a natural one) is not ideal. I’d rather not take anything and I bet so do you.
Fortunately, I have gotten into the habit of doing things that naturally make us drowsy at night.
One of the greatest things of all time is also the simplest. Exercise.
It really is quite magical. I never used to exercise much but when I started it became much easier to fall asleep. Thirty minutes of a strenuous workout will have you sleeping like a baby. But don’t exercise to close to bed time! It will get your heart pumping and blood circulating making it even harder to fall asleep. Preferably, do it early in the day or in the morning.
Another little trick is to switch up night-time television with reading.
Electronic screens such as computers or disrupts sleep patterns because the electronic light exposure before messes with our natural body rhythms excites your visuals and suppresses the release of the melatonin. Reading as an alternative actually does the opposite and makes you drowsy.
Other methods I’ve used include relaxation techniques. Learn Tai Chi, start meditating, use a foot massager or anything that promotes relaxation.
Another method of becoming drowsy at bedtime isn’t really a method at all. And that is avoid any stimulates such as caffeine a few hours before bed. You’d be surprised how much easier it is to fall asleep without Coca Cola in your system.
Seek Professional Help
Hopefully some of these tips can help you fall asleep naturally but sometimes there is a stronger underlying factor that is preventing you from falling asleep. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help on this matter. If you are experiencing high levels of anxiety or depression, this could most certainly affect your sleep patterns.
There are forums online that provide support. Search Google and talk it out with those going through similar issues.
Good luck with your sleep!
As someone who has personally had troubles with naturally falling asleep I know how debilitating it can be to one’s life. I sincerely wish you the best of sleep!