Sleep Aids to Overcome Insomnia

There are numerous sleep aids available for curing insomnia. Popping pills isn’t your only option. Here are some other suggestions to help you reach that “gentle sleep.”

Invest in the thickest curtains or blinds you can find. Just four minutes of sunlight on the retina are enough to make you feel wide awake.

Soft, relaxing music helps many people fall asleep. Listening to nature sounds is also an excellent way to drift off to slumberland.

© Gekaskr | Dreamstime.com

© Gekaskr | Dreamstime.com

Sleep Masks — Also known as “eye masks” are said to be very effective in helping to overcome sleep problems and obtain restful, relaxing sleep. Other aids that may help are ear plugs, pillow speakers, or soft lighting (BeCalm Bedlight).

Certain bedtime snacks have been shown to help calm you and make you sleepy.

Sound Machines can make you feel like you’re in a forest or at the beach and have been proven to work almost as well as drugs for inducing sleep. They work by blocking out intrusive sounds and are perfect for someone who must sleep during the day or is bothered by external noises. (You can find more information on how sound helps overcome insomnia here.)

Subliminal Messages — Subliminal messaging works deep within your subconscious to calm your mind and slow your thoughts. Over the long term, it can permanently eliminate your insomnia. Watch this audio to learn more about subliminal messaging.

Hypnosis — Insomnia can be cured using hypnosis. It is the natural gateway to sleep, helping you move from alertness through REM all the way to deep, restorative, sleep. No risk 90-day guarantee if it doesn’t work.

Sleep Optimization Program — Learn how to restore your body’s innate ability to sleep naturally. Take the quiz and get a detailed analysis about your sleeping habits. Read the multiple testimonials of success with this program.

Aromatherapy — This insomnia relief scent inhaler is a natural blend of pure essential oils known to have calming effects and help relieve the discomforts of insomnia.

Sleep Deprivation CDs — Binaural beats have been shown to be the world’s most powerful insomnia cure. You will fall asleep in seconds! Money-back guarantee. (Read this article for more information.)

Sleep Deprivation CD

Relaxation CDs — Reach ultra-relaxation with 3D nature soundscape CDs. Listen to the natural sounds of rainforests, waterfalls, and ocean waves. Includes FREE MP3.

Relax with nature sounds

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Sleeping Pills

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Sleeping Pills

Sleeping pills used to be the standard treatment for insomnia. Today, they are increasingly recognized as an appropriate treatment for short-term insomnia but not for chronic insomnia due to their side effects and loss of efficacy with continued use. This focus article will explore the use of the most common sleeping pills, benzodiazepines sedative hypnotics (BZDs), and their benefits and drawbacks.

BZDs and Short-Term Insomnia

Americans spend over $400 million on BZDs annually. Examples of BZDs include Ativan, Xanax, Restoril, and Dalmane. BZDs promote sleep by depressing the neural activity of the brain. They are effective for short-term insomnia because they reduce the time required to fall asleep, decrease the number and length of nighttime awakenings, and increase total sleep time compared to a placebo.

They also work by causing amnesia so that we don’t remember being awake during the night. Although all BZDs are about equally effective, they differ in how long they stay in the body. Those with longer half-lives can stay in the body for more than a day and cause next-day “hangover” effects.

Like most medicines, BZDs can be of value if they are used judiciously. They should only be used as a treatment for short-term insomnia that lasts anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, e.g., if sleep is temporarily disturbed by a stressful event, a medical problem, or jet lag. In these circumstances, BZDs may help prevent short-term insomnia from evolving into chronic insomnia since they can provide needed relief from severe insomnia and break the cycle of insomnia and anxiety.

Some sleep experts also believe that keeping a small supply of BZDs in the medicine cabinet can be helpful for chronic insomniacs because the knowledge that a BZD is available provides a sense of security and minimizes the fear of insomnia. Other experts maintain that short-term use of BZDs may also be appropriate to break the cycle of anxiety and disturbed sleep in severe, chronic insomnia.

BZDs and Chronic Insomnia

Although BZDs should only be used for short-term insomnia, they are often taken on a regular basis for long periods of time — in many cases for years on a nightly basis. Chronic use of BZDs can become very problematic for a number of reasons:

  1. Many people do not have the self-control to use BZDs occasionally and therefore risk becoming dependent upon them psychologically or physiologically. Dependency can result in the belief that one cannot fall asleep without the pill and may also result in withdrawal symptoms that can include anxiety and rebound insomnia. That’s why BZDs should always be tapered on a gradual basis.
  2. Sooner or later, BZDs lose their effectiveness if they are used on a nightly or near-nightly basis. This is because the brain receptors that respond to BZDs become less sensitive to their effects, or “down-regulated”. In fact, most BZDS lose their efficacy and are no more effective than a placebo in as little as three to four weeks of nightly use. If someone reports that their BZDs give them a good night’s sleep despite the fact that they have been taking the pill nightly for years, the effect is likely due to the placebo effect, not the medication.
  3. BZDs suppress deep sleep and dream sleep, resulting in a lighter sleep.
  4. They can produce a hangover effect the next morning that produces greater adverse effects on cognitive functioning than sleep deprivation. This effect is particularly problematic with BZDs that have a long half-life; and, the later the sleeping pill is taken. Thus, it is a myth that BZDs will improve next-day performance.
  5. There is no evidence that treatment effects persist upon termination of BZDs. This means that, even if they are effective, insomnia will often return when they are stopped.

All of these side effects are more likely to occur the larger the dose, the more frequently taken, and the older you are (as we age, we metabolize medication less effectively, which makes their effects more pronounced).

Newer-generation non-benzodiazepine hypnotics such as Ambien offer multiple advantages over traditional BZDs including consistently documented efficacy, short half-life (2.4 hours) with no active metabolite and rapid onset of action of 30 minutes, and minimal residual effects.

Furthermore, Ambien does not accumulate during repeated administration, causes minimal disruption of sleep architecture, has lowered potential for abuse due to more selective binding properties at GABA receptor subtypes, and is the most commonly prescribed sedative hypnotic.

For these reasons, Ambien is the best choice of a hypnotic for sleep-onset insomnia. If you are taking a sleeping pill other than Ambien, you should talk to your doctor about the advantages of Ambien over your present sleeping pill.

Minimizing sleeping pill side effects

You will minimize the likelihood of side effects and dependence if you follow these guidelines:

  1. Use the smallest possible dose and do not use it for more than two to three weeks at a time.
  2. Use sleeping pills intermittently only after two consecutive bad nights of sleep and never on consecutive nights. This means that you should not use a sleeping pill more than two to three times per week.
  3. Never escalate the dose and use sleeping pills with a short half-life.
  4. Use cognitive-behavioral techniques in conjunction with sleeping pills so that you can taper the use of sleeping pills over time.

A recent randomized trial published in the Journal of the American Medical Association by Dr. Charles Morin and his colleagues directly compared pharmacotherapy to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in the treatment of insomnia and found that a combined pharmacological and CBT intervention was more effective than either therapy alone over an eight week period.

This suggests that, in the short-term, the most efficacious treatment for insomnia may be pharmacotherapy and CBT in combination, which may enhance treatment efficacy by combining the more rapid improvements of pharmacotherapy with the more durable effects of CBT.

In the long run, Dr. Morin found that cognitive-behavioral therapy alone was the most effective treatment for insomnia. So if you use sleeping pills, use them in combination with non-drug techniques so that you can minimize the use of sleeping pills in the long run.

natural cure for insomnia guaranteed

Cure for Insomnia — Guaranteed

If you sleep like a baby all night every night, then this message is NOT for you!

However, if you regularly suffer from insomnia or any other form of sleep deprivation, then I bet I know what you’d give for a good night’s sleep … JUST ABOUT ANYTHING!

Am I right?

The endless hours staring at your bedroom ceiling … the thoughts and worries that play full volume in your head and just won’t leave you alone … shuffling aimlessly around the house waiting for sleep to come … trying to cope the next day when everyone else is wide awake and refreshed … only to return to bed, exhausted, and STILL not get a good night’s sleep.

Chronic insomnia or persistent sleep deprivation really is a waking nightmare. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone.

I’ll wager you have spent a small fortune trying various ‘cures’ over the years … and nothing has worked. Am I right again?

Well, good news! You may have just come across the solution you’ve been looking for!

It’s based on a radical new use of a fairly old technology, discovered by a German research scientist way back in 1839 and involves the “binaural beat,” which has been proven to produce a state of relaxed awareness.

What happens is a tone of, say, 400Hz is played into one ear and 410Hz into the other ear. Inside the mind, a third beat (the binaural beat) is generated. This is what produces the relaxed state and allows you to fall asleep. Go here to try it out.

If you’re an insomnia sufferer, you should be dancing on the table right now, because this is the real deal – a permanent cure for your sleepless nights. PLUS, it is 100% safe, 100% effective, does not involve taking drugs and -– this is best part -– it requires absolutely NO effort on your behalf.

Want to learn more? Click on the banner below to discover permanent and guaranteed insomnia relief.

CBT and Chronic Insomnia

Help for Chronic Insomnia Isn’t Always Found in a Pill

Recent reports of bizarre sleepwalking behaviors, including middle-of-the-night binge eating and even driving a car, among patients taking the popular sleeping pill Ambien have led some health professionals to focus on drug-free methods of treating chronic insomnia.

Sleep therapists have demonstrated the effectiveness of a brief form of psychotherapy called cognitive behavioral therapy. Through it, patients learn to restructure their thinking about sleep, which is often erroneous, and to change counterproductive bedtime habits.

Should insomnia recur after formal therapy ends, patients have the tools to make corrections on their own. Or, if self-help fails, they see the therapist for a refresher session.

Jack D. Edinger and his psychology colleagues at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Durham, N.C., reported five years ago that, among 75 patients with chronic primary insomnia, cognitive behavioral therapy — known as C.B.T. — produced “clinically significant sleep improvements within six weeks,” and these improvements persisted for at least six months, the length of follow-up in the study.

It found the therapy to be significantly better than readjusting sleep habits or teaching patients progressive muscle relaxation to help them fall asleep and stay asleep.

Patients treated with cognitive behavioral therapy reduced by an average of 54 percent the time they spent awake in the night. Those undergoing relaxation therapy reduced awake time by only 16 percent. Those receiving the behavioral placebo therapy achieved a 12 percent reduction.

The patients were randomly assigned to groups and were unaware of the therapy they were receiving.

Plagued with chronic insomnia that for years had left her lying awake for hours, Dr. Rachel Norwood, a psychiatrist at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver, visited Dr. Edinger to learn his techniques. After successfully applying them to her own problem, Dr. Norwood adapted the method to help her patients.

She has found that not only does cognitive behavioral therapy produce startling results in people whose insomnia has no underlying cause (so-called primary insomnia), it can also help those whose insomnia is more complicated than simply being unable to fall asleep and stay asleep.

One of Dr. Norwood’s patients, Karen Hagler, has suffered for three decades with restless leg syndrome that, she said, turned her bed into a battleground, left her tired and crabby all day, and hurt her marriage.

“I’m now able to have quality sleep for about six hours a night, and I’m no longer tired during the day,” Ms. Hagler said. “C.B.T. has given me quality of life. I don’t even have to think about it anymore.”

Dr. Norwood explained that the therapy retrains the part of the brain that controls a person’s sleep-wake cycle and helps patients become experts on their own sleep. Patients learn that they cannot talk themselves into sleep. They figure out how much sleep they really need and how to budget it.

Important to reprogramming an errant brain is establishing a regular bedtime and, even more important, setting a specific time to get up each morning.

Taking naps to make up for lost sleep at night can make insomnia worse, Dr. Norwood said.

With the therapist’s help, patients explore what seems to help and what hurts their ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Some patients need a dark, quiet, cool room; others may need a constant sound to help them sleep. If it takes more than 20 minutes to fall asleep, patients are told to get out of bed and do something distracting until they feel sleepy again.

Dr. Norwood said that most patients with insomnia harbor erroneous beliefs that impair rather than aid their ability to sleep soundly. For example, one patient thought that if she didn’t sleep for seven hours, her next day would be ruined. Another believed that she could not sleep unless the bedroom temperature was exactly 65 degrees.

And while many insomniacs think they need a drink to help them fall asleep, alcohol is a common cause of middle-of-the-night insomnia, the experts say.

Melatonin as a Dietary Supplement

Melatonin as a Dietary Supplement

Melatonin is probably the most studied and best understood natural sleep remedy for insomnia, and can be particularly helpful if you suffer from initial, or sleep onset, insomnia – difficulty falling asleep.

A hormone that occurs naturally in the body, melatonin is secreted throughout our lives by a tiny pea-sized organ at the center of the brain called the pineal gland. The release of melatonin is controlled by your body’s circadian rhythm – your internal 24 hour time-keeping system, or body clock, which plays an important role in controlling when you fall asleep and when you wake up. Darkness stimulates the release of melatonin and light suppresses its activity.

Although the pineal gland is capable of producing melatonin through life, there is evidence to suggest that its production slows as we get older. This may well be one explanation for the fact that younger people find it easier to fall asleep than older people and reinforces the view that melatonin can be especially useful as a sleeping aid for older people.

As well as occurring naturally in the body, melatonin is also available today in a synthesized form, available through health food and drug stores as a dietary supplement. It can also be purchased as natural melatonin, made from the pineal glands of animals, although its purchase in this form is not recommended because of the small, but nonetheless significant, risk of virus transmission.

If you suffer from initial, or sleep onset, insomnia then you might like to consider taking melatonin about thirty minutes before going to bed. The dosage will vary from person to person but melatonin is typically available in tablet form ranging from 1mg up to 3mg.

It is recommended that you start with a low dose and increase this only if necessary. For many people a dose of 1mg is more than sufficient and you may well find that starting with just half a tablet, or 0.5mg, will do the trick. You should also experiment with the time at which you take melatonin as, although the majority of people find that thirty minutes before bedtime is about right, you may find that taking it slightly earlier, perhaps an hour or even two hours before bedtime, will suit you better.

Melatonin can also prove extremely useful as an aid to countering the effects of jet lag. For many long-haul air travelers taking a very low dose of melatonin at the start of their flight and a slightly higher dose when going to bed at their destination has been shown to reduce the effects of jet lag insomnia.

Melatonin can also be very helpful when it comes to weaning yourself off those long overused sleeping pills. Although the benefits of discontinuing sleeping pills are considerable in the long-term, in the short-term giving up can add to your sleeping problems. One way to help in this process is therefore to replace your sleeping pills with melatonin.

Although melatonin is widely used as a dietary supplement, and has been available over the counter for many years now, its use is not regulated by any statutory authority and so there is little information regarding its interaction with other medications. If you do wish to use melatonin therefore and are currently taking any form of medication you should proceed with care and, if in any doubt, consult your doctor first.

Melatonin is nature’s own sleeping pill and helps many thousands of people to overcome the problems of insomnia every day. Insomnia is a common problem, but it is also a condition that can be addressed with simple natural remedies, that include the use of dietary supplements such as melatonin.

sounds of insomnia

Are Noises and Sounds Keeping You Awake?

Have you had nights when you were attempting to fall asleep but kept hearing wind whipping outside or water dripping from the faucet that kept you awake? Regardless of how hard you try to relax and calm down, the possibility of sleep does not seem promising as you continue to hear noises throughout the night. A few minutes turn into hours as you uncomplainingly stare at your alarm clock. Unfortunately, it’s not merely the insomnia that is bothering you, but you angrily realize how much your loss of sleep will have an effect on how well you function on the following day.

In all honesty, falling asleep under these conditions can become a very frustrating and futile task. Surprisingly, one of the most effective and natural remedies to help insomnia caused by noise is ironically more noise. The difficulty people have in finding this to be true is based on the belief that pure silence is the only possible and effective environment for healthy sleep, which is partly true. However, there are certain noises and sounds that can actually induce sleep. This might seem difficult to consider, but it’s important to know that the noises you might need to cure your insomnia may have been expressly created for that sole purpose.

Research has shown that special sounds and noises heard by individuals can enhance the capacity to sleep. The sounds often differ from person to person but in general they fall under several distinct groups or categories. These noises are then transmitted onto a recording device and a consumer who suffers from insomnia can purchase the device. These items are frequently referred to as sound machines or noise apparatuses.

This premise is solely built on the concept that if an individual hears specific sounds that are comforting to his or her body, these sounds will assist them in falling asleep. Sounds of nature, like rushing water or birds chirping, are general sounds used to help insomnia. Certain styles of music are also useful in helping insomnia sufferers cure their insomnia. This category of music is produced to be relaxing and it’s often repetitive, which causes the insomniac to fall into a deep state of relaxation which ultimately leads to sleep.

For someone who suffers from insomnia, a sound machine can be their best cure for insomnia. It’s natural and it has no side-effects at all. The person using it will become so familiar with hearing the sounds which will eventually trigger the sufferer to fall asleep.

Buying a sound machine isn’t a difficult process at all. There are many retail outlets that now offer these sound machines. If you love to shop over the internet, you can type in the phrase “sound machine for insomnia” in any search engine and you’ll find yourself paging through a wide and diverse listing of online retailers.

In addition to sound machines, there are also other cost efficient items that use sound to help treat insomnia. If investing in a sound machine is unbefitting, due to your finances, you can still enjoy the sounds of sleep without having to pay as much. Numerous companies have prepared music CD’s that you can purchase to help treat insomnia through music or recorded sounds. These sleep CD’s can include many of the same sounds as a sound or noise machine.

Any of these sleeping devices or aids can be very useful and convenient anywhere, especially if you travel a lot. Insomnia can happen whether you are at the house, away on a business trip or enjoying a vacation. The convenience of being able to carry these sleeping aids will enable you to treat your insomnia every night from any location.

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Why is Sleep So Important?

Studies have shown that a good night’s sleep is extremely beneficial to your health and well-being because it can result in:

  • Longer Life — In a study conducted by the American Cancer Society and the University of California, San Diego, it was shown that people who sleep 6 to 7 hours each night actually live longer that those who sleep less than 4 hours or over 8 hours.
  • Retained Memory and Learning Skills –- Researchers in neuroscience have carried out a variety of studies (in both humans and animals) that provide clear evidence that sleep is important for at least some types of memory and learning. Moreover, scientists have found that sleep improves performance and often gives individuals a “competitive edge.”
  • Obesity Prevention — A little-known fact is that sleep also helps in preventing obesity. A study conducted by Stanford University’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute found that people who sleep 5 hours a night had higher levels of ghrelin (a hormone that causes hunger) than people who sleep 8 hours each night. In addition, if you are sleep-deprived, levels of the stress hormone “cortisol” increase. Animal and human studies have demonstrated that cortisol is associated with increased appetite, cravings for sugar, and weight gain in stressed individuals.
  • Better Immunity — Sleep also plays an important role in building immunity, as well as enhancing the success of vaccinations and the treatment of certain diseases.

On the other side of the coin, in the short term, poor sleep is linked to irritability, poor performance, lowered immunity and mood swings. In the longer term, it can lead to depression, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Poor sleep has also been linked to marital problems and divorce, time off work, and unemployment.

One in five car accidents is caused by tiredness — more than the number caused by drink-driving.

Don’t overlook the importance of sleep. If you are suffering from even an occasional bout of insomnia, try one or more of these easy remedies:

  • Lie on your back with your knees propped up on a small pillow.
  • Wiggle your toes gently until you fall asleep.
  • Rub your stomach lightly.
  • Squeeze all your muscles together tightly for a few minutes and then relax.

We insist that our children ‘wind down’ before bedtime. Adults need to do the same, physically and mentally.