Useful Tips

How to cope with insomnia: alone or with the help of a specialist?


According to statistics, about one third of all adults periodically suffer from insomnia (insomnia), and in every tenth it takes a chronic form. Often insomnia is manifested by the problem of falling asleep. The consequences of such violations can be quite severe: if you can’t fully rest, then the ability to work is reduced, the activity of the immune system decreases, mood and memory worsen.

If insomnia develops as a result of a disease, the main role in getting rid of it is played by the treatment of the underlying ailment. The doctor can prescribe sleeping pills, although not always: in most cases, a person who has problems falling asleep does not need medical treatment. In this situation, it makes sense to try to cope with insomnia using the methods that we will talk about.

Targeted muscle tension

During sleep, the muscles relax. However, after daily activity it is not always possible to immediately bring the muscles to such a state. It seems strange, but their sudden tension contributes to a quick relaxation of the muscles.

If you can’t fall asleep, try to squeeze and unclench your muscles while lying down. You need to start with the toes, sequentially moving to the calves, hips, buttocks. Then use your arms, shoulders, neck. A sharp alternation of tension and relaxation will calm down and cause drowsiness.

Respiratory technique "3 - 7 - 8"

This is one of the techniques of yoga, based on the saturation of tissues with oxygen and helps to stabilize the nervous system. It is necessary to act as follows:

  • inhale slowly through the nose (the inhalation should stretch for 3-4 seconds),
  • hold your breath for 7 seconds
  • exhale smoothly and slowly through the mouth (for about 8 seconds).

A few minutes of such breathing exercises usually lead to falling asleep.

Limb warming

They say that in a room designed for night sleep, it should be dark, quiet and warm. The first two statements are quite true, but the third is not so clear. According to recent studies, good sleep is associated with inhaling cool air. That is why it is recommended that the bedroom is often aired or air-conditioned. Just do not forget that the cold does not contribute to rapid falling asleep. It is especially difficult to fall asleep when limbs freeze. It means that the sleeping person’s room should be cool, but his hands and feet should be warmed. The easiest way is to put on thin woolen socks before bedtime or put a heating pad at your feet.

Choosing the optimal pose

Any body position during sleep has its pros and cons. For example, sleeping on the back is considered beneficial for the respiratory system and the cardiovascular system, but is dangerous when snoring or apnea occurs. Sleeping on your side is recommended to relieve stress on the thoracic and lumbar spine, although limbs may leak. Sleep on the stomach helps with digestive problems, but it is harmful for the blood supply to the brain.

There is no optimal solution to the question of which position is best to fall asleep in. One thing is clear: do not force yourself to lie in an uncomfortable position - discomfort will prevent you from falling asleep and reduce the quality of sleep.

Kneading under the knees

If you toss and turn and cannot fall asleep, try to lie on your side by placing a roller or pillow under your bent knees (alternatively, hold the roller between your knees). Such a pose will help to relax the back muscles, relieve the spine and bring the lumbar to the most comfortable position.

According to recent studies, sleeping on one side with a roller under the knees is one of the most calm and high-quality. Some bedding manufacturers have even begun to produce small pillows specifically designed for this purpose.

Memories in reverse

Among the reasons that prevent normal sleep, one of the first places is occupied by anxieties and impressions of the previous day. It is possible to reduce arousal by applying a very simple and effective way: “living” the events preceding bedtime in the reverse order. It is necessary to remember in detail and leisurely how you washed, undressed, watched TV, had dinner, drove home from work, etc. The reverse scrolling of events helps to calm down and relax.

Why doesn’t the dream come or pass quickly?

Each person at least once faced with such a situation when a lot of thoughts arise exactly when you need to fall asleep. If such situations are single, it can easily be experienced, but if a person tosses and turns without a good rest all night long, and then another or several nights, it is very painful.

The lack of normal sleep leads to an unbalanced mental state, it becomes difficult to control your emotions, tearfulness, irritability, attention concentration decreases. A person becomes aggressive or lethargic.

For proper treatment, it is important to correctly identify the reasons why there is no sleep, or it is superficial.

Here are some common reasons people lose sleep:

  1. Stress. Scandals at home, the illness of a loved one, the preparation of a responsible report for a long time lead to sleep disturbances or nightmares.
  2. Depression. Insomnia with depression is very common, and a lack of rest enhances patients' well-being. Apathy and insomnia are almost always satellites of a depressed state. Darkness and loneliness dispose to thoughts of worthlessness and own uselessness.
  3. Neurosis. Insomnia often becomes one of the signs of a neurosis. In this case, usually patients fall asleep when they are already quite tired, but then wake up many times during the night, get up very early in the morning. Complaints about aggressiveness, anxiety, fear and apathy, and symptoms of overwork appear.
  4. Diseases that occur with pain, itching or hormonal imbalance. Hyperthyroidism, heart disease, or chronic pain in any part of the body simply keeps you awake. Apnea or bronchial asthma leads to sharp awakenings due to lack of oxygen.
  5. Medicines Various stimulating tablets, injections acting on the central nervous system (hormonal, vasodilator) can act as stimulants to brain activity, general activity.
  6. Caffeine, tinin, stimulants. If, against the background of weakness or personal preferences, the patient is abusing strong coffee, tea, energy or narcotic stimulants, this can lead to acute sleep problems.

In some cases, you can return to a good dream simply by canceling the medicine or, conversely, after drinking a course of sedatives. In other cases, for example, if chronic insomnia, long-term treatment will be required.


Having identified the cause of insomnia, the doctor will select the treatment. Sometimes you may need treatment in a hospital where potent drugs will be used, for example, in case of insomnia in a patient with psychosis.

Most often, you can return the dream at home, without hospitalization.

If the cause is depression or neurosis, treatment is carried out in two directions at the same time:

  • the work of a psychologist or psychotherapist,
  • taking antidepressants or other sedatives.

Insomnia with neurosis will pass along with disorders of the nervous system and psyche. In no case can you arbitrarily cancel the prescribed drugs and visits to the therapist.

If we are talking about an organic disease that interferes with sleep, therapy will primarily be aimed at eliminating pain, itching or discomfort. For example, if the problem is a heart disease, the cardiologist will select corrective drugs, if there is no sleep due to endocrinological problems, a therapy will be proposed that will affect the hormonal balance. Sedatives, in some cases sleeping pills, will also be offered.

In no case should you choose your own medicines! The dosage and duration of the course can only be selected by a specialist.

Recommendations on how to return a dream

Many are interested in how to cope with insomnia without drugs. In some conditions, for example, with major depression, it is very difficult to do without medication. In other cases, in the recovery from insomnia, an independent role, which the patient provides himself, plays an important role. In this case, drugs are not necessary.

In order for the sleep to remain healthy, you need to help the body relax and carefully prepare a place for sleeping.

It is necessary to adhere to the following rules for treating insomnia:

  1. The bedroom should be ventilated, the bed fresh. The air temperature should not be high. Experts advise falling asleep in a cool room.
  2. The bed must be equipped according to your own preferences. Mattress, pillow should be the most comfortable. The correct sleeping position, in which all the muscles are relaxed, will help to take orthopedic products - the spine will not be tense due to the bending mattress.
  3. Before bedtime, drinks that promote vigor should not be consumed. It is best to drink a decoction of soothing herbs or herbal tea.
  4. You should go to bed and get up at a certain time. In the human body, there are daily fluctuations in the hormonal background. The endocrine system adjusts to daylight hours, as well as to a specific daily routine. In order for the dream to work out, it makes sense to stick to the schedule.
  5. It is undesirable to sleep in bright lights. Despite the fact that many patients, when in an alarm state, turn on the light, this is not useful and can cause sleep disturbance. If possible, it is better to leave dim lighting or to do without it.
  6. If you can’t fall asleep in bed for an hour, there’s no reason to suffer. It is best to get up and do something useful - take a bath with soothing herbs and essential oils, do yoga or meditation. Calming helps with depression, and with neurosis, and just with stress.
  7. 2-3 hours before bedtime, it is better to refrain from physical activity, from watching exciting films or television shows, from intellectual work at the computer. The psyche and nervous system need some time to calm down. Reading light humorous stories or watching comedy can help you fall asleep,

There are people who fall asleep while reading a newspaper, or watching TV. They are calmed by the glow of the screen or the movement of the eyes along the lines of text. For others, on the contrary, it’s easier to fall asleep while lying in bed in total darkness.

Many help breathing exercises and focus on inhaling and exhaling, deep, measured, monotonous.

You need to use sleeping pills only in extreme cases. Their constant use can lead to the fact that the body gets used to and ceases to respond to such medications.

Insomnia in pregnant women: features of sleep disturbance

Insomnia in pregnant women is a common complaint with which women turn to a therapist, endocrinologist, psychotherapist or psychologist.

In most cases, expectant mothers cannot fall asleep in the first trimester of pregnancy due to changes in hormonal levels, constant toxicosis, and in the last trimester - due to an uncomfortable, greatly enlarged tummy.

The constant severity and urge to urinate prevent you from concentrating on dreams. Often during gestation, back pain and cramps of the extremities begin. In the third trimester, hormonal changes again occur, affecting the mood and condition of the woman. In addition, stress associated with weight gain, body changes and upcoming births are added to the end of the term. Frequent and nightmares with unpleasant stories.

The question of how to cope with insomnia during pregnancy is asked every second expectant mother. After all, sleep is important for both mom and baby.

It is very important to seek the help of a doctor, since many sedatives are dangerous to the health of the fetus, only the doctor can prescribe acceptable medications and their dosage.

The specialist will offer drug-free methods, such as:

  • relaxation,
  • meditation,
  • massage,
  • psychotherapy,
  • yoga classes for pregnant women.

You should not overeat late in the evening, dine with heavy food.

It is very important to surround the pregnant woman with attention and care, not to strain her with problems, disturbing news, and clarification of relationships.

Insomnia is the scourge of modern actively living people. Against the background of overexcitation, stress and depression, it is impossible to fall asleep, while neurasthenia and other types of neurosis, which also cause sleep disturbance, often develop. Neurosis in some cases may be associated with suppressed aggression. The relationship between aggression and insomnia is not always obvious, but it is expressed in general mental stress. As the patient learns to express and integrate his aggressiveness, the quality of sleep will improve.

You can try to restore sleep on your own if the problem is recent, and insomnia does not greatly affect the general condition, does not provoke apathy. However, if we are talking about panic attacks and nightmares, neurosis, chronic insomnia, you should immediately seek help from specialists and clearly follow their instructions.

Cold water

It is believed that cold water invigorates, but this is not always the case. If you can’t fall asleep, you need to type cool water in your palms and lower your face into it, holding your breath. Doing this several times will make you sleepy.

The effect of reducing excitation in this case is associated with the so-called diving reflex of mammals. This is a natural defense mechanism that slows breathing and heart rate, as well as lowering blood pressure when immersed headlong into the fluid.

Using the sleep paradox

Sleepwomen call the paradox of sleep the reverse reaction of the human brain to attempts to impose negative attitudes on it. If it is difficult to fall asleep, try to convince yourself that a dream is not needed and is not planned at all. Such statements will act on a tired brain as a signal to calm and relax.

The quality of sleep largely depends on how correctly the furniture and decor of the bedroom are selected. In addition, if there are problems with falling asleep, it is worthwhile to find out whether you behave correctly during the hours that precede going to bed. The most common mistakes are a stormy clarification of relationships with loved ones, watching unnecessarily “temperamental” TV shows, listening to loud music. It is very harmful to fall asleep when the TV or computer monitor is turned on: it is established that the light coming from the screens interferes with the production of melatonin (sleep hormone).

Normally, a person falls asleep within 3-10 minutes. If this does not happen, it makes sense to apply any of the methods described. It is important to understand that each of them acts individually, and the method that turns out to be effective specifically for you may not be found right away. And when insomnia goes into a chronic form, you need to see a doctor to diagnose a disease that caused discomfort.

Video from YouTube on the topic of the article:

Education: First Moscow State Medical University named after I.M. Sechenov, specialty "General Medicine".

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