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How to cure insomnia

How to cure insomnia

Last updated November 8th, 2018.

Feeling sleepy? You’re not alone. According to the CDC, on any given day, as many as one in five adults suffers from an insufficient amount of sleep! Insomnia affects adolescents, adults and the elderly. And as we age, sleep can become even more elusive, so developing good sleep habits when you’re younger can pay off later in life.

What Is Insomnia?

Many people think the term “insomnia” refers to a complete lack of sleep. In truth, insomnia encompasses a host of sleep problems, including:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Waking up in the middle of the night
  • Early morning awakening
  • Non-restful sleep

Don’t Be a Hero: The Negative Effects of Insomnia

Ever heard someone brag that he or she only needs six hours of sleep? While it’s admirable to try to put a positive spin on a negative situation, taking a heroic attitude toward sleeplessness can be bad for your health. Most people need between seven and nine hours of sleep. Getting insufficient sleep can:

  • Cause fatigue, irritability, and excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Cause weight gain and make it difficult to lose weight
  • Weaken the immune system, making you more susceptible to getting sick
  • Cause elevated blood pressure and can increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease
  • Contribute to chronic pain
  • Exacerbate mental illness, including depression and anxiety
  • Reduce focus and concentration, leading to decreased performance at work
  • Decrease motor function, making driving hazardous

Techniques for Relieving Insomnia without Medication

Meds can be good for some things. And certainly some natural or herbal sleep products may help you get some rest. But prescription pills for sleeping aren’t always the best solution.

Unfortunately, some sleep medications can actually make the problem worse. Sleep aids frequently disrupt sleep cycles, causing less restorative sleep. Even if they help you sleep through the night, the sleep is not necessarily deep or restful. People can become dependent on these meds, requiring them to sleep, and many develop a tolerance to sleep meds over time, requiring more medication to get the same effect. These meds can also cause rebound insomnia, meaning it becomes even harder to fall asleep without the medication. So before you pop that pill for your sleep problems, try these methods instead:

1. Sleep Hygiene
2. Brief Cognitive Behavioral Treatment Intervention for Insomnia (also called “CBT-I”), which will be covered in part two of this series on insomnia.

What Is Sleep Hygiene?

Sleep hygiene is a collection of habits that can help you fall asleep more easily and sleep more deeply. You can develop good sleep hygiene on your own. Try following our 7 Habits of Highly Successful Sleepers and this list of do’s and don’ts.

Sleep Hygiene: Do’s & Don’ts

  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule (same bedtime and wake-up time), seven days a week.
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes per day most days of the week. Restrict vigorous exercise to the morning or afternoon. More relaxing exercise, like these yoga poses to help you sleep, can be done before bed.
  • Get plenty of natural light exposure during the day. Open your blinds first thing in the morning and get outside during the day. You can even try using a light box first thing in the morning during dark winter days to help your brain wake up and regulate your body’s rhythms.
  • Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine.
  • Take a warm bath or shower before bed.
  • Do relaxation exercises before bed, including mindful breathing and progressive muscle relaxation.
  • Make sure your sleep environment is pleasant and relaxing. Your bed should be comfortable, and your room shouldn’t be too hot, too cold, or too bright. If necessary, use earplugs and an eyemask. Be sure your pillow is comfortable.
  • Associate your bed with sleep and sex only. Don’t work, eat or watch TV in bed.
  • Go to bed when sleepy, and get out of bed if you’re tossing and turning.
  • Turn your clock around so you can’t see the time.
  • Turn off the alert for texts and emails on your phone.
  • Keep a “worry journal.” If something’s on your mind as you’re trying to fall asleep, write it down on a pad of paper so you can revisit it the next day.
  • If you’re unable to fall asleep after about 20 minutes, leave bed and do something relaxing (like reading); return to bed later.
  • Download free screen-dimming software for your computer. Two popular programs are f.lux and Dimmer. These nifty programs help you avoid the stimulation of bright light if you’re using your computer late at night. Better yet: Put the computer away an hour before bedtime!
  • Don’t ingest caffeine after noon. This includes coffee, tea, iced tea, energy drinks and soda.
  • Don’t have that second glass of wine with dinner. While alcohol is known to speed the onset of sleep, it also disrupts sleep–especially causing arousal during the second half of the night, when the body should be entering deep sleep.
  • Don’t take other stimulants close to bedtime, including chocolate, nicotine and certain medications.
  • Don’t eat a large, heavy meal close to bedtime.
  • Don’t watch TV, use the computer or spend long periods on a mobile device before bed. These activities stimulate the brain and make it harder to fall alseep.
  • Don’t use your phone, laptop, or other mobile device in bed.
  • Don’t give in to the urge to nap during the day; it can disturb the normal sleep/wakefulness pattern.

If Sleep Hygiene Isn’t Enough

Sleep hygiene alone is often enough to get you sleeping better. The tricky part is maintaining your good sleep habits–it can be hard to have the self-discipline to stick with good sleep hygiene.

If you’ve diligently applied good sleep habits and still find you’re not sleeping well on a regular basis, it might be time to think about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia, or CBT-I. Find part 2 of our insomnia installment here.

I guess now is a good time to mention something about the sound effects. Since listening to a lecture without visuals can be boring, I will be using sound effects and background music to help hold your attention, make the lectures more enjoyable, and make it easier for you to learn the material. I hope you don’t find them too annoying and they bring you a smile.

(music tapers out>
In its simplest terms, this course tells you what you can do to sleep better so you can stop feeling like crap and start functioning more successfully in your work and life.
Already tried, me like you: Since you’re attending this course, you have probably already tried everything under the sun to improve your sleep, but without success. You can take comfort in knowing that I was like you. I had insomnia for decades and had resigned myself to a life of poor sleep. My insomnia was triggered by several young children who woke me regularly each night. Added onto this were job stresses and financial anxiety. This set me up for a pattern of sleepless nights and bleak days.

Over the years I had developed several techniques to help with sleep solutions with various levels of success. For instance, I meditated at bedtime and found relaxing audiobooks and podcasts that helped me return to sleep when I was awake in the middle of the night. But it wasn’t until I interviewed several sleep experts and researched the science of sleep that I discovered an evidence-based method of how to cure insomnia called CBTi or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia for sleep solutions.

The results of that research and testing have resulted in this course. Today I normally have good night’s sleeps, feel refreshed and function well. This podcast is designed to save you the many hours and thousands of dollars I spent to find a way to a better night’s sleep.

The Course If you complete this course, by the end of the last lesson you will have the knowledge and skills you need to sleep much better. As mentioned, the course is based on CBTi or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia. This is a technical sounding name, but I present the material in a very hands-on, non-technical fashion. As you will learn, CBTi is the most evidence based, thoroughly researched and endorsed method to cure insomnia, but you have probably never heard of it. We will learn more about CBTi and why it is not promoted in the popular media in future lessons.

Since listening to a lecture without visuals can be boring, I will be using sound effects and background music to help hold your attention. I hope you don’t find them too annoying and they bring you a smile. A warning is in order. . This is not a list of quick fixes and tweaks to your lifestyle. It is a challenging, difficult transition requiring you to sacrifice and be persistent. You took months or years to develop your insomnia. It will be hard to dislodge your unhelpful habits and beliefs. You know firsthand how difficult insomnia is to shake. You will benefit from this course exactly to the degree that you are willing to do the assignments. If you doubt your ability to persist and accurately follow the instructions, I will offer a variety of supports to help you on your trek. So, if you are up to it, join me on this journey of discovery and experience as we tackle your insomnia once and for all.

Introduction of guests: The Sleep to Healthy course is not a solo effort. Sleep experts will be helping with the lessons. They’re seasoned professionals at helping people, like you, to learn how to improve their sleep and cure their insomnia. They will appear from time to time during the course so you can benefit from their expertise.

The first is Dr. Daniel Erichsen… Dr. Erichsen, can you please introduce yourself [Daniel Intro]. Thank you Dr. Erichsen.
Next up is Michael Schwartz… Michael, why don’t you tell us who you are. [Michael Intro] Thanks Michael (Michael has monitored thousands of patients in the sleep lab. You are oblivious of what is happening during your sleep, but Michael knows first-hand what is going on, so his perspective is invaluable).

All of our sleep experts have been a great help in achieving the goal of having a podcast-based course on improving sleep. Now many people from around the globe can benefit from this amazing method to improve sleep. Thank you to our special guests.

Before telling a bit more about the course, podcast and how it works, I would like to leave you with some words of encouragement from Michael Schwartz:
That wraps up our lesson for today. The next episode is lesson #2 and is titled “Sleep, Insomnia and You” <5 Play a audio clip – Daniel -– no negative health effects from low sleep>. Lesson #2 is an important episode to listen to because it will introduce the concepts that will be used in all the future lessons, so be sure to tune in to that one. . I look forward to seeing you there.
(6 transition) My mission for this course is to offer the best cure for insomnia on the internet. I have one burning question for you to answer: What would I need to do for you to recommend this course to someone else with insomnia? Leave me your answer by going to sleeptohealthy.com and using any of the many contact methods on the site. Or you could text me or leave a message right now at 1-408-9903882, or email me at [email protected], that’s Dennis with 2 N’s.

You can also use the same methods to contact me with any questions you have that would help you on your journey to a better night’s sleep. As a bonus, if you go to the website and click on the Infographic button, I will send you my exclusive infographic that displays the 6 CBTi elements and how they work together to cure your insomnia. This is not available anywhere else on the web. :
This podcast is not a substitute for advice from a qualified healthcare professional. The sole purpose of this podcast is to educate and entertain. As we do not know your particulars, we cannot and do not provide professional or medical advice or services. We strongly encourage you to consult a healthcare professional before incorporating any ideas in this podcast.
Listeners who use the information in this podcast do so at their own risk. The guests on this podcast express their own opinions, beliefs and conclusions which is neither supported nor opposed by the podcast and host. The podcast does not fact check information provided.

You don’t need tons of sleep trivia and people’s opinions about sleep. You just need to know proven instructions on what you can do today, to sleep better tonight, so you can feel and function better tomorrow. This allows you to repeat lessons as it’s hard to absorb all the knowledge the first time through, and the information will make more sense after you have the context of the whole course.

You, like most people, will likely benefit from repeated listening. The lessons will be updated based on student feedback. So, the next time you listen to the same lesson, it may be improved since last time. And that’s about it. Thanks for joining my in my sleep class. I look forward to seeing you again on the next episode of the sleep to healthy podcast. See you then.