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6 Remedies for Sleep Problems—Do They Work?

By Rachel Johnson, Ph.D, M.P.H., R.D., March/April 2008

Can anything we eat or drink help? Here’s what the science says.


READER'S COMMENT:
"For years I have woken at around 2-3 am. I am usually awake for hours, 2-4. I used to try to get comfy and follow my breathing, dream about a warm island holiday etc, hoping to drop off. But I find it is my mind that keeps me awake with...
COMMENTS POSTEDsort icon

For years I have woken at around 2-3 am. I am usually awake for hours, 2-4. I used to try to get comfy and follow my breathing, dream about a warm island holiday etc, hoping to drop off. But I find it is my mind that keeps me awake with worries and thinking through what I did or did not do the previous day.
I have tried warm milk which seemed to help, I have cut out wine and that usually works but not always. I have taken tyrosine but although it worked the very first day I began to take it, after about a week or so I was back to waking. I used to try to get to bed early, at around 8.30, read for an hour and then lights out, but I find now, going to bed early, only leads to more waking. I sleep for about 2 hours then I am wide awake and these days I get up, as I am so wide awake, it seems useless to stay in bed. I jsut toss and turn and get angry!
Now I go to bed around 10.30 and by 12.00 I am usually asleep. If I am warm enough in winter I will sleep almost all the way through the night..... for the last two nights I would say I have had a good night's sleep because I have woken to wee, once and been able to get straight back to sleep.I found sometime that if I didn't turn on a light to get to the toilet that I was able to get back to sleep easily. But nothing is fool proof.
But the real reason for insomnia I believe is about anxiety, perhaps depression, unhappiness with some situation, regret. So I am trying to be calmer by changing my thoughts, using affirmation and re-programming my judgemental thoughts about myself. I am trying to accept my difficult situations in life, yet I still dream and make plans about a better future. I bet exercise will make a difference, as a cousin of mine has proved that and another friend said exercise helped with depression, but for some reason I am resisting exercise as I feel lethargic.... not enough sleep, or just become lazy? However I know this is something that will have to become part of my schedule soon, a 30 minute walk at least.
Dianne

Anonymous

07/10/2016 - 11:58pm

pls help me on this sleepless nites, i m 27 weeks pregnant. I do not sleep more than 5 hour full. My sleeping patern is broken into 3- 4 hours than i m awake

Anonymous

06/20/2014 - 1:00pm

I guess I can join the sleepless club too : ) checked out asmr videos. No luck. Doesn't trigger me in anyway but boredom. I have occasional migrains but relpax takes care of that unless I wake up with one. I find that environmental changes can help. Cooler temp at night; block out /cover any little light in room; fury blanket or pillow; wear comfy loose clothes; wear a scent that you find intoxicating ; find a great pillow and wash it regularly ; untuck that flat sheet (how can you sleep with your feet/legs pinned down); haven't tried this yet but talalay latex mattress seem to be the supreme way to catch some zzz's (sampled a raw piece at a custom mattress factory & it felt hypnotic in ILD26) . I am going to get a new mattress next. We spend about 1/3 of our time there so that can be a huge factor don't you think? Well these are just a few ideas that have helped me. Oh yea I always have ear plugs handy too for just in case. Sometimes I can hear my lab's howling outside & that can drive me nuts. Wishing you all opiate-like sleep.......zzzzzzzz

Anonymous

02/27/2014 - 4:07am

This is 2014 and the problem still persists. I suffer insomnia due to illness - migraine. After taking all the prescription meds some of which contain caffeine, I end up not sleeping at night or when I fall asleep, the migraine pains wake me up and that is it for the that day. It is a vicious circle. I am surprised I even get to work 35hr/wk. I thought the writer will offer something new to try since I already know these 6 steps and have tried them all. They work the first few days for me and the prescriptions take over again..huge sigh!.

Anonymous

01/27/2014 - 1:01pm

Dear author of this article: You say that you are using your sleepless nights to keep on doing research.
Can we as sleepless human sand as readers and as non-scientists find out what amount of effort and financial resources are being put into studying this problem and what seems to be the hard part to crack in this issue of "sleeplessness in America?" Thank-you for your effort. Sleepless Elder Pedro Perez-Ortiz

Anonymous

03/27/2012 - 1:49pm

this article was helpful, its been hard for me to sleep ever since i can remember (even back to elementary school) somethings work for some people, other things work for other people. I think at the end of the day trying everything at one point is a good idea. Over the counter sleep meds do help, but even they loose their power. Exercising seems to help, especially if done only 3x a week, even if your already tired from not sleeping well every other night of the week, getting in 30 mins on a tredmill helps me sleep better. And by "better" I mean waking up 1-2x's a night instead of 3-4... ya know my best advise do whatever helps!

-Washington, 27

Anonymous

10/28/2010 - 12:22pm

Though I have not tried milk's method but I sleep whenever I like

Anonymous

10/07/2010 - 8:57am

I, like most others, would have liked to have seen some remedies. Melatonin is a helpful supplement, but it doesn't help you stay asleep.
Sue

Anonymous

10/05/2010 - 10:10pm

i was thinking everything everyone else wrote except rkayclark......

All it said was what doesn't work

Anonymous

04/30/2010 - 11:42pm

wow. now i'll be able 2 sleep well. :3

Anonymous

03/25/2010 - 5:25pm



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