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Epic Wellness Clinic

We provide psychotherapy to individuals, couples, and families

Tips for Reducing Insomnia without Medication

If you have insomnia, healthy sleep habits help. These guidelines are recommended for everyone, but they are especially important for people who can’t fall asleep or stay asleep on a regular basis otherwise known as, insomnia.

  1. Create a sleep schedule. Stick to the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends. This helps to regulate your body’s circadian rhythm (otherwise known as your body’s internal clock). This can be hard if you’re tired and want to sleep in on the weekends, but for many people it helps to set an alarm and wake up at the same time every day.  Eventually, you might even be able to wake up without your alarm!
  2. Avoid naps, especially in the afternoon. A power nap may help you get through the day, but if you find that you can’t fall asleep at bedtime, eliminating even short powernaps may help. If you must nap, no longer than 20 minutes or you may disrupt your sleep cycle making it difficult to fall asleep in the evening.
  3. Exercise, but not close to bedtime. Exercising can help regulate your body and make you sleep better, but working out too close to bedtime can energize you and make it harder to settle into sleep.
  4. Fix your bedroom. Make sure you have a clean, comfortable, quiet, and dark sleep space. Use a sound machine or a fan to block noise from inside or outside the house, and install darkening blinds for streetlights and morning light. Only use your bed for sleeping. This will help program your brain to associate your bed with feelings of sleepiness.
  5. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes, and heavy meals in the evening. Alcohol and cigarettes can disrupt sleep, and eating big or spicy meals can cause discomfort that can make it hard to sleep. Also, caffeine stays in your system for longer than you might think!
  6. Wind down. Your body needs time to shift into sleep mode, so spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity such as reading or meditating. For some people, using an electronic device such as a laptop can make it hard to fall asleep, because the particular type of blue light emitted from the screens of these devices is causes alertness. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid electronics before bed. There is a night-time setting on some phones which switches the phone from blue to red light which is easier on the eyes and does not disrupt brain signals.

Following these tips is a good first step. If you have questions or if you adjust your sleep habits and still have insomnia, talk to a professional. In many cases, another form of treatment is necessary for someone with insomnia to get a full night sleep.

Sometimes people with insomnia might be experiencing a combination of other issues. Anxiety, depression, and stress are common causes of insomnia. If you think you might be struggling with any of these issues it is recommended you speak with a psychologist or therapist. Epic Wellness Clinic in Miami Beach, FL has licensed psychologists and therapists who are trained in these areas and happy to help.

 

24 thoughts on “Tips for Reducing Insomnia without Medication

  1. Great tips for insomnia. I especially like the caffeine information as this is something I never really knew. I always thought coffee would leave my body within an hour at most. It’s no wonder it’s 2am and I’m awake right now posting a response to this blog. Im going to try some of these tricks. It’s not going to be easy to do the sleep schedule challenge but I’m going to force myself and make it happen. Sleep is so important.m and these strategies are much better than relying on medication.

  2. Good to read such helpful tips. Sleeping is an important factor in our lifestyle, it influences how we think and how we develop ourselves in our routine. If we don’t rest enough we will be tired and wont be able to do our tasks correctly, in the other hand, if we do sleep well and rest enough we would be able to give all from us. During high school I had this friend that wasn’t resting enough during the nights so he usually felt sleep during classes, as a consequence his parents where usually called into the school to try to solve the issue and also it affected him in some classes like history or physics. This was because he usually slept about 5 hours or less everyday so he had to change it and establish a sleep schedule for college. I realized I have been practice some of them for a while now, my mom didn’t let me take naps at the time I was in high school forcing me to stick to a sleep schedule. After reading this blog I also noticed that a fan can be really helpful at bedtime, the wind helps you keep a fresh temperature constantly, unlike air conditioners that sometimes turn off for a while, and also I personally think that the noise they produce can be relaxing, maybe not so many people will relate to that but it helps you keep your mind a little bit busy so you don’t stay awake overthinking. Besides those mentioned tips there is one that we should pay more attention than the others nowadays, referred as wind down in this blog, I think is one of the most important if not the most. A while ago I read an article about the importance of sleeping in our routine and how professional athletes should keep an strict schedule. In said article they took for example a well known footballer as Cristiano Ronaldo, it is mentioned that he keeps electronic devices away an hour or half an hour before going to sleep if I remember well. In conclusion sleep is important in our life and insomnia is a serious issue that should be handled, if necessary, with a psychologist.

  3. This video was very helpful to me. Coming from a coffee drinker, I slowly moved into energy drinks, with no knowledge about the half life of caffeine. I had no idea that the half life of caffeine was 4-5 hours. Recently, I drank a 12 oz Red Bull almost exactly four hours before bed, and let me tell you, I was awake the whole night. Constantly wondering in my head why I’m still awake if I had drank the RedBull hours ago. A problem that I have as you stated in the video, is using your bed only for sleep. I’m constantly in bed whether it’s watching TV, playing video games, studying on my laptop, even listening to music. I’ve noticed that the more I actually lay in bed while doing these things actually does bring out the feeling of sleepiness and especially for myself, feelings of laziness and procrastination about important things in my life that I should be dealing with.
    Something else that caught my eye in your video, was coping with stress. I tend to always get into bed (just before going to sleep) and start over thinking or worrying about the things going on in my life, good or bad. I have never thought about maybe trying to face them throughout the day and not before sleep.
    I believe that my optimal sleep time is somewhere around seven hours. Although everynight I do struggle to get into “sleep mode,” I can never manage my time wisely and make it to bed at the same time every night, that’s something I will definitely need to look into.
    This video was very, very helpful to me as I do suffer from insomnia myself from time to time. There are alot of factors you have mentioned in your video that I had not the slightest idea about.

    Thank You!

  4. This topic is important to me because I suffered with insomnia for years and had no understanding what was going on. I was constantly depressed and could not sleep. It was approximately 4 years before any form of treatment began. It was started only when my primary care physician signaled that my issue was beyond his area of expertise and referred me to a psychiatrist. Can you imagine showing up to your doctor’s office always complaining and it was nothing that could be done about it? The psychiatrist original diagnosis was Major Depression Disorder. Things continued not to get better. Sometime later I was diagnose with having bi-polar disorder. Needless to say, I was being medicated during these periods of time. Finally after a combination of psycho-tropic medications and sleeping sedative’s, I was able to end my bout with the inability to sleep. I must add that there were times of suicidal/homicidal thoughts and a array of mood swings. At the end of the day, I simply must take medications for the rest of my live and be under a doctor’s care. If its not broke, don’t fix it. This is absolutely alright with me.

  5. Contrary to popular demand, I differ on who one can end insomnia without medication. Today I take medication and take care of myself, mentally spiritually and physically. My day starts at 7:00am. I go to bed at a normal time every night (no later than 9:30). I live a drug and alcohol free lifestyle. One good thing that I got going for me is that I have never smoked. I work a wellness program that allows me to minimize the stress in my life. I focus on things that I enjoy like exercise and working out, playing music, listening to jazz and enjoying a good cup of Starbucks once a day. I practice balance living or living without the clutter. I’m in school at 63 and I’m enjoying myself. There is nothing like feeling joyous, happy and free. There were times when these things were impossible. I tried winging it alone. I almost died. There are those who may subscribe to the idea that insomnia can be overcome without the use of medication. I applaud you. But going out and seeking the help of a good psychologist and psychiatrist was the best thing I could have ever done. Between the both of them, they were able to identify what was going on with me. Living in a constant state of dark and loneliness, suffering with both suicidal/homicidal thought days in and out had become not much of a life. Being in a constant state of hopelessness lack of energy, the list of misery goes on and on. It took some time and some work but I was able to began to see the light at the end of the tunnel and it wasn’t a freight train. My psychiatrist has me on a regiment of psycho-tropic medication which works also with my external efforts. I realize that people are looking for answers. I definitely recommend professional support. No reasonable offers should be taken of the table.

  6. As someone who struggles with sleeping a proper amount of hours on a daily basis, this video was very helpful to me. For as long as I can remember, waking up about two hours after falling asleep has taken part of my life. Through time after taking medication for my heart diseases, the insomnia has only gotten worse. I’ve been recommended plenty of solutions for insomnia; yet, one that I refuse to use is medication. While being on a prescribed drug to help insomnia, your body will get used to the drug as time goes by and at some point a higher dose will be needed. Distractions have made my sleeping schedule more dysfunctional than before. I’ve noticed that insomnia has become an obstacle in succeeding. Making it difficult to concentrate in class and sometimes stay awake during the day at work, I’ve come to use energetic drinks like Gatorade and Red bull. Not only have these energetic drinks not functioned to better my insomnia, but also they have only made my heart diseases worse. The caffeine information in this video is something I’ll always keep in mind. The first solution people always tend to use including myself is caffeine. What most people don’t keep in mind about caffeine is that a high consumption of caffeine can actually increase insomnia. Something that has helped with my insomnia has been exercising daily. In exercising, I’ve found a stress reliever and the most natural solution for my insomnia. Exercise has helped the quality of my sleep. Distractions only increase insomnia. I enjoy Netflix shows at night after taking a shower and getting ready for bed. But instead of going to bed to sleep, I turn on my TV and watch shows for hours. I’ve tried to keep technology away and out of reach from me at least one hour before sleeping. Being informed about insomnia in this video has given me the tools to better my sleeping schedule in the future.

    Thank you for the information.

    1. This very good to read sometimes it’s hard to practice good sleeping habits at times when there are so many things going on. The constant late nights doing work or just staying up to do anything. It seems like there is no problem but I now see that doing these on a regular basis isn’t healthy for my body. These simple suggestions can make a big difference and I just want to say thank you. We as people should nuture ourselves and by getting the proper rest our bodies need is also a very important way to make sure we are having, healthy and properly functioning.

  7. I just quit my job of 7 months at Wendys I worked the graveyard shift until 3 am and I believe my circadian rhythm is off because I tend to sleep more during the day and I get my bursts of energy during the night. Everytime I try to fix it I just get tired in the daytime again. The sleep techniques I use work sometimes but not often and I’d rather not sedate myself with drugs or alcohol. Is there a plan of action I should take to get me back to a non-nocturnal schedule

  8. I really love this article, I’ve learned so much from it. I do have a friend who had insomnia and If he ask me for help I will surely refer him to this article.

  9. This information was very helpful because I was trouble from insomnia before. But I thought it was brought on due to stress and I couldn’t relax my mind. But after reading all these tip I learned new ways of over coming insomnia without medication. So I’m the future I can look back on this for reference or help and I can also refer a friend to this website. Very good and helpful information

  10. I enjoyed reading these tips and realize that I already use them in my life. I currently have a sleep schedule now that I follow because I found myself to be a victim of insomnia. I was always up night.. late night. It’s like my mind woke up, when it was time to go to sleep. Naps during the afternoon throw off my sleep schedule. If I sleep during the day, just know that I will not sleep tonight. Honestly, I could go in to all these steps of how to reduce insomnia and explain how that they are helpful, but I recommend taking some time out of your day and just practicing these steps. Thank you for this tip because the best part is that it’s completely natural. There’s no medication. Thank you so much for writing this blog.

  11. After reading the article and watching your video, you shared some really great tips that can help with Insomnia. I myself suffer from falling asleep at night due to stress and anxiety sometimes. The one thing that I need to practice in to wind down since I’m so used to being on my phone and my laptop at night. Another thing that can be added on the list that in my opinion think that is a good when you have trouble sleeping is to drink Chamomile tea. What it does is when you drink it, it helps your body to relax and fall asleep. Another thing that I need to practice is to not take naps before I go to work, because I do notice that it takes longer for to go to sleep at night. These practices will take some time for me to adjust, but it’s important to treat this disorder since it can lead to serious health issues. Taking medicine is something that I personally do not like taking since I have done some research on different types of medicine in my other classes, and also looking into the FDA website on medicine that is approved and not approved. Thank you for sharing these important tips on how to treat this disorder, It’s good that there are alternatives out there on how to treat these disorders rather than taking a pill that has side effects.

  12. Insomnia has been affecting my life for about a year now. I’ve had trouble controlling how I feel because of this. On good days I’ll just walk around almost lifeless without a care in the world, but there are times when I just feel irritated at anything and everything. So, I feel bad for those who are around me because they put up with my mood swings, but I’ve been trying to figure out a good way to help or shut down my insomnia. The most sleep I usually get is about five hours if I’m busy the whole day. As for figuring out why I have insomnia it’s because of my meal time and using the bed for studying, watching videos, and so on. Due to this, I believe my brain is functioned to think that my bed is not for sleep. Furthermore, the tips given for reducing insomnia is easy to accomplish.

    The first tip was to create a sleep schedule so, I’ll do that by using my phones bedtime clock and set it so that I sleep at 11:15 pm and wake up at 6:30 am which will give me seven hours and fifteen minutes of sleeping time. Next, avoiding naps is the second tip on the blog. I usually don’t take naps because I’m always on my phone so that just makes me even more energetic. Moreover, exercise is the third tip which I believe not only helps you reduce insomnia, but it helps you relieve stress. For the third step, I’ll be using the Broward College gym (for the free thank goodness). The fourth step is to tidy up my room or make it comfortable and that’s a step I have down to a t. I can’t do any studying without tidying up my room. As for the fifth and sixth step, I know that I have to plan my meal times better and wind down with meditation.

  13. As somebody who battles with dozing off and a hardship of appropriate measure of hours to rest or sleep, this video was exceptionally useful to me. For whatever length of time that I can recollect, awakening around two hours subsequent to falling asleep has controlled a portion of my life. I’ve been prescribed a lot of answers for sleep deprivation; yet, one that I won’t utilize is drug. While being on a recommended medication to support a sleeping disorder, your body will become accustomed to the medication as time passes by and sooner or later a higher portion will be required. Diversions have made my sleeping plan more broken than previously. I’ve seen that sleep deprivation has turned into an impediment in succeeding. Making it hard to gather in class remain alert amid the day at work. The caffeine data in this video is something I’ll generally remember. What a great amount of people don’t remember about caffeine is that a high utilization of caffeine can really expand sleep deprivation. Something that has assisted with my sleep deprivation has been practicing day by day. In working out, I’ve discovered how working my body and tiring my muscles and brain can do so much justice for my sleeping disorder also by meditation and calming music with the sense of spiritually calming the body into a deep sleep. I could go in to every one of these means of how to decrease a sleeping disorder and clarify how that they are useful, however I prescribe removing some time from your day and simply rehearsing these means. Much obliged to you for this tip in light of the fact that best of all, it’s totally common. There’s no drug that will truly help you. As you continue to exercise your mind and train yourself on this task it will become easier, not to say it is easy at all, but to say practice makes perfect.

  14. We are literally walking batteries and we Depend on nutrition and rest in order to keep ourself up and running properly. Keep in mind that yes we do need our sleep and keep ourself well fed can contribute to a better life style and avoid future health issues. Now I do agree on creating a sleep schedule because we are creatures of habits and by creating a routine to help us achieve the amount of sleep requieres to avoid insomnia. With my work and school schedule creating a bed routine is nearly impossible but I am able to function with 4 to 5 hours of sleep. I tend to eat big meal late in the evening and thanks to this information I can understand why sometimes it’s hard for me to stay asleep. As for the drinking part of going to then gym near bed time I am guilty of both because of my work hours or school hours. Even thou I do all of the things I read above beside the sleep schedule I never really suffered from insomnia. It could be since I’ve been doing this since I was 19 and my body just got used to it. But now I know if I ever suffer from insomnia now I know how to tackle the problem.

    Thank you

  15. I was actually thinking that it was interesting that I came upon this post. I have 2 friends who have insomnia; and another friend who just has issues with their sleep schedule. And so, reading the, u will be passing this information on to my friends. Obviously this post caters to individuals with insomnia, but it also gives examples as to how you can prevent it.

    The three most important takeaways that I got from this post was creating sleep schedules, not taking naps in the afternoon, and avoiding alcohol and other drugs. The most pertinent tip for me is just having a solid sleep schedule. I think this is important since our body responds well to repetition. Being that our body takes 14-21 days to get accustomed to something, having a solid schedule and making that commitment will prove to be beneficial over time. Taking naps in the afternoon would obviously contradict a normal 8 hrs a night sleep schedule. Sleeping in the afternoon takes time away from your evening slumber. Staying away from drugs is a good idea simply because it improves your overall performance.

  16. Insomnia is a very important topic because it can impact yourself or a person you know in a negative way by affecting your brain, you need sleep and rest to perform important tasks and being sleep deprived due to insomnia affects your judgement, causing you to make poor judgement, can lead to memory troubles and decreased concentration. The tips provided in the article are great ways to help you deal with insomnia. In my personal case, the tip i would take away from this article would be avoiding caffeine in the afternoon and at night. When i would drink coffee close to late night i would be unable to sleep and would find myself staying up most of the night, then realizing i have to wake up early morning. Throughout the day making poor judgments and not concentrating during classes. All in all these are great tips for avoiding insomnia without taking taxing medications.

  17. I’ve been dealing with insomnia for the past three years now, ever since my sophomore year of high school. Staying up late nights doing work for school almost every week affected my sleeping habits for the worst. I would go to sleep for about 3-4 hours during the weekday and get up super early for class the next day. My days would drag on and on and I couldn’t remember half of the things that I learned that day. Electronics also play a role in my ongoing battle with insomnia. I would stay up for hours and hours on end watching videos and scrolling through social media like no tomorrow. I would do this while lying my bed at night time. I would also use my laptop in my bed for doing work if I didn’t want to sit at my desk.

    But now after reading the article and watching the video, I found some helpful tips that I think could really help me and other individuals with insomnia. So, the first tip I would really find accommodating is finding time to wind down, something things that could help you with winding down are mediation or taking a warm shower or bath right before you go to bed. In my opinion, I feel like taking a warm bath or shower would relax the tense muscles in your body and relieve any built-up nerves. I feel like this would at least help put your body in a relaxed state that would make it easier to fall asleep. Another tip I would look into in regards to reducing insomnia would be to try and minimize the time I spend on my phone while I am in bed. I realized I don’t have a relaxed mind while I am on my phone, so it makes it more difficult for me to fall asleep. So, by using my phone little to none while I am in bed will hopefully lead me to having a more relaxed mind while trying g to sleep at night time. These tips seem helpful and I hope this will help me and other individuals have a better night’s rest.

  18. People receive advisement almost every day. Some counseling come from good professionals that have dedicated their lives to the scientific researches, but there is a common tendency to laziness and stay in the comfort zone. For example, even though we know that caffeine make you feel more energetic and for that reason we should avoid it late in night (if we want to sleep) and the practice of exercise is more efficient during the morning we continue with these bad habits.
    As a result, you are not going to accomplish your goals, you are not going to eradicate insomnia, if that is your problem, if you do not establish a sense of order or direction for everything in your lives. It could be possible that for some people their issue with the insomnia is not so difficult to solve, because sometime the problem is just you and your resistance to change. The bases are formed, the steps to follow are already said, it depends on you. It is proven that there are very good alternatives to medication. Those who are study the human development are telling you what to do and how to do it. What else do you need?
    Thanks Dr. Berry for your blog.

  19. According to the American Sleep Association over 50 Million adults in the United States suffer from a sleep disorder. It is very important that Americans start to address the issues leading to sleep disorders such as Insomnia. As stated in the video above, food and drinks we consume can easily be one of the contributing factors to Insomnia. Drinking coffee early in the morning will not guarantee that all of the caffeine will be expelled from your body by bed time. It’s important to calculate the amount of caffeine you ingest and how fast or slow your body metabolizes it.
    I appreciated the information provided in the video above. Most people do not associate their stress being the cause of Insomnia, but it can very well be. Not managing stress factors in a reasonable time and way can put a strain on your overall health. Stressors can keep you up at night; you’ll be thinking about solutions to there issues when you should really be relaxing and attempting to sleep. Is the stressors in your life become too much to handle it’s important to seek help. Therapy can be the best option to express your feelings and vent about the things that keep you up at night.

  20. This was very help, I knew about some sleeping techniques that were mentioned. Creating a sleeping schedule routine, making sure to wine down before bed, making your bed your rest area and not your social media or tv time. But I had no idea about the caffeine 4-5 hours to last in your system and I’m a everyday coffee drinker but I do not drink coffee at night. I could sometimes drink a cup around 2-3pm which now I can see it could affect my wine down getting ready for bed. I suffer at times waking up in the middle of the night because and then I just start over thinking and over analyzing everything that I’m thinking about. I have also used the technique of listening to a guided meditation while going to sleep which helps. Sleeping is definitely very important to be able to have a healthy mind and be able to do our daily activities. This were great tips that should be apply to our everyday lives.

  21. Insomnia is something a lot of people can suffer from and just affect your everyday life. This video really gave some great tips in how we can be more holistic in trying to better our sleeping habits instead of using medication that could become addicting and make feel groggy all day. I was not aware that caffeine could be in our bodies up 5 hours. Thankfully I’m more of just a morning coffee drinker. My issue would probably be being on my phone in bed and staying late just watching YouTube videos which I could be sleepy but i’ll Just stay up. I could also tend to wake up sometimes in the middle of the night just because I’ve had something I have to do in mind or issue and I will stay overhung analyzing. Also, if I wake up I sometime could get on my phone which is not good because my sleep goes completely away for ay least 40 minutes. Not having a full night rest could affect your following day by just having a bad attitude or not being able to be productive. So I would defiantly taking into consideration of a sleeping schedule and no phones in bed. Our sleeping habits serves our well being and how we could be more sufficient through our day. Insomnia could be detrimental for our mental health, so this tips are to be taking really into consideration to better our sleeping time.

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