Insomnia can be classified as not being able to fall asleep, not being able to stay asleep, and having a disturbed sleep. Loss of sleep can be short term or long term - leading to chronic loss of quality sleep.
Sleeplessness is not a disease but a symptom. Loss of sleep can be a side effect of other medical conditions or can be the primary condition.
If it’s caused by other conditions then a sleepless night should settle down once the original cause is resolved.
However, it might be more difficult to resolve if the cause is unknown. Many people therefore just resort to sleeping pills. But this can lead to dependence – which is not a long term solution for wellbeing.
If your sleep patterns are disturbed for an unknown cause, try changing your night time routines prior to bedtime.
Eating too close to bedtime can keep you awake as your body is focused on digesting your dinner. Keep caffeine down to a minimum – perhaps have that last cup of coffee or tea 4 hours before bedtime.
Reduce Blue Light and TV
Watching TV is not conducive to getting to sleep. It is actually a stimulating activity; try reading a good book instead, a relaxing novel. Perhaps not a crime thriller or horror story!
Decrease Alcohol Before Bedtime
Don’t consume alcohol prior to bedtime – it may bring on sleep initially but will cause you to wake later and then you will lay awake with your mind racing.
Strenuous Exercise Earlier
Leave strenuous exercise to the morning, but a quiet walk is a good sedative. Have a warm bath or shower just before retiring for the night; the warmth is very relaxing.
Most people would put their insomnia down to stress or worry. This is a difficult thing to control but do try different methods to reduce your stress or worry as the more sleep you lose, the more tired you are, the more the stress and worry impact on your sleep – a vicious circle!
One important thing: anxiety about not being able to sleep or stay asleep will aggravate the situation. Meditation or relaxation techniques can help calm those worries and put you in the mood for sleep.
Consult a Doctor
If your sleeplessness continues for months it is a good idea to consult a doctor as it may have an underlying cause which can be addressed.
Get Enough Sleep
There is a fallacy that says older people need less sleep than younger ones. I can tell you from my own experience that if I am working the same hours as younger people I need just as much sleep as they do to get through the day! So for us oldies, don't be fooled into thinking that your lack of sleep is normal - if you are tired during the day then you haven't had enough sleep.
Essential oils have a wonderful ability to help with insomnia, the natural way with no side effects or addiction.
Valerian and Lavender in particular are superb at helping you drift off and stay asleep. You will only need a few drops of these on a tissue/handkerchief. Use them together or on their own. I prefer Valerian but other people recommend Lavender. Why not use both?
Refer to the page on Methods to see an easy way to use these oils at night.
Drink a cup of Chamomile tea just before bedtime, not coffee or tea. Or you can have a cup of Valerian tea - this tea has a strong taste so you might need to sweeten it with some honey. It is definitely an acquired taste! But worth it...
Have a warm, relaxing bath with your choice of one or more of the above (but only a total of about 6 drops).