Ten lesser-known insomnia remedies

Limiting caffeine to cure insomnia? That’s almost as groundbreaking as florals for spring. But just in case the standard spiel on sleep aids makes you yawn (out of boredom), you may want to review these lesser-known tips:

  1.  Go outside in the morning.

    • If your nocturnal tendencies have been making you feel vampiresque (minus the cool perks like immortality), go do something Dracula can’st. Catch rays during the day. Morning sunlight exposure helps your body produce melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone, at an ideal evening hour.
  2. Drink tart cherry juice.

  3. Get more magnesium.

  1. Try CBD.

    • Cannabidiol (CBD) is THC’s chiller, non-psychoactive cousin on the cannabis family tree. It won’t get you high, but it might knock you out. Although scientists still haven’t discovered exactly how CBD works, some research shows that it can soothe anxiety and induce slumber by binding to certain receptors in the endocannabinoid system. If it’s legal in your state, you can purchase CBD in a variety of forms like tinctures, capsules and creams.
  1. Crack your bedroom windows at night.

    • So, you’ve cultivated a seemingly perfect bedroom atmosphere for sleep – comfy pillows, dark curtains, a white noise maker – but you still wake up feeling tired. Something that doesn’t meet the eye could be amiss. If your bedroom is poorly ventilated, the CO2 that your body generates while you sleep will accumulate around you, and studies suggest that this can degrade the quality of rest you get. To combat this, try cracking a window or leave your bedroom door open. Check out our article on the subject to learn more.
  1.  Avoid blue lights.

    • This piece of advice is becoming more and more common, but it begs repeating. The artificial blue light that emanates from laptops, phones, TVs and other electronics can really corrupt your body’s internal clock. Not only does evening exposure to blue light make it harder to fall asleep by delaying melatonin production, it can worsen your quality of slumber by reducing REM sleep. If you want to fall asleep earlier, try to chill without Netflix at night.
  1. Get acupuncture.

    • As a primary modality of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture involves the insertion of needles into specific points across the body to treat a huge range of conditions, including insomnia. There isn’t a ton of research yet regarding acupuncture’s impact on sleep, but this study suggests it can improve slumber, and this one shows a correlation between regular acupuncture treatments and an uptick in subjects’ melatonin production.
  1. Soldier through it.

    • Imagine if you could will yourself to fall asleep in two minutes. Are humans capable of such a super power? During World War II, the U.S. military developed a relaxation technique to help soldiers fall asleep – not just at night – but anytime during the day. It involves using conscious awareness to progressively release tension from your entire body, top to bottom, with the kind of methodical intention that a combat aviator would use to land a plane. The key here is to tackle one muscle group at a time. Instead of telling your entire face to go limp at once, the technique instructs you to relax the eight muscles around your eyes, and so forth. Supposedly, trained practitioners can complete this exercise in a total of two minutes.
  1. Play it cool.

    • You could also do the opposite of #9. If sleep tends to hit you up at around 3 a.m. every night, you might want to change your relationship with it. Sometimes the harder you pine for sleep to arrive at a decent hour, the longer it keeps you waiting. Of course, set yourself up for success by avoiding things like caffeine, alcohol and blue lights. But when the sun goes down, try some reverse psychology. Or, in scientific terms, approach your efforts to fall asleep with “paradoxical intention.” Clinical studies show it works.


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