Skip the Pills and Sleep Naturally: How to Fight Insomnia Without Drugs

35% of people experience symptoms of insomnia. With numbers like that, the odds are good that you’re going to have trouble sleeping at some point in your life. Knowing how to fight insomnia without the use of drugs is essential for a healthy, happy sleep cycle.

But what exactly is insomnia? And short of a pill, how do you tackle it?

Here’s a primer on insomnia: what it is and how you can combat it without medication.

What Is Insomnia?

When people think “insomnia” they typically think of a complete lack of sleep. In actuality, insomnia includes a range of sleep-related problems. These include:

  • Waking up during the night
  • Difficulty getting to sleep
  • Waking up too early
  • Not getting a restful sleep

So if you’re experiencing any one of these things, you might be dealing with insomnia.

The Negative Effects of Insomnia

In our busy world, it can be all-too-easy to romanticize a lack of sleep. After all, you’re getting so much done! In actuality, insomnia can lead to a slew of health issues.

If you’re not getting between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night, you risk:

  • Fatigue and irritability
  • Weight gain
  • A weakened immune system
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Decreasing motor function
  • Exacerbating mental illness
  • Reducing concentration and focus

So now you know how important sleep is, how do you go about getting it naturally?

Address Physical Issues

Sometimes insomnia is a physical issue rather than a mental one. If you’re uncomfortable while trying to sleep, odds are your sleep quality is going to suffer.

If you haven’t upgraded your mattress in a few years, then investing in a better bed might be enough to cure you of your sleeplessness. Matrasses with memory foam are ideal as they support your back and neck fully while you sleep.

You should also look at your pillows. Ensure your neck and head are properly supported and that the pillow and casings are clean.

Practice Sleep Hygiene

Sleep hygiene is the label for a collection of habits that, when practiced, can help you sleep better. These habits include:

  • Going to bed and waking up at consistent times, even on weekends
  • Regular exercise
  • Getting plenty of exposure to natural light
  • Establishing a relaxation routine before bed
  • Not working, eating, or watching TV in bed
  • Turning your clock so you can’t see the time
  • Not using screens while in bed
  • Not ingesting caffeine after midday

Consistent practice of these habits is one of the best ways to tackle insomnia free of medication.

Practice Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy aimed at teaching you how to relax. It encourages techniques to help control your breathing, mood, and thought processes.

CBT is the gold standard for treating insomnia. It’s typically taught by trained psychologists but simple mindfulness techniques can be learned on one’s own.

Use Natural Remedies

Before reaching for the prescription pad you’d do better to reach for your tea strainer. There are many natural sleep-aids that you can roll into your bedtime routine, and some of them are delicious.

For help sleeping, try:

  • Chamomile tea
  • St. John’s Wort
  • Valerian
  • Kava
  • Passionflower
  • Melatonin
  • California poppy

Just remember, when trying natural remedies be sure to tell your doctor. Some natural sleep remedies can affect the way other medications work in your system.

Now You Know How to Fight Insomnia

Knowing how to fight insomnia is essential for your health and wellbeing. By addressing physical issues, practicing sleep hygiene, using CBT, and turning to natural remedies, you’ll be able to kick insomnia to the curb and get a good night’s sleep.

Looking for ways to treat your anxiety? Here are some alternative ways to do just that.

Melissa Thompson
Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn't know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.