Get-to-Sleep-Fast Checklist

Tips to ward off insomnia
Naturopathic physician James Rouse recommends these quick remedies when you need to get to sleep (or back to sleep) fast.

Whether you're at home or on the road, a sleepless night can zap your productivity and your mood the next day. But before you pop that sleeping pill, why not try some natural sleep remedies that can help you catch some Zzzz's without unwelcome side effects?

“Approaches like these are effective for the majority of patients suffering from sleeplessness,” says James Rouse, N.D. Not only can they help you get to sleep now, but adopting them on a regular basis can help you establish healthy sleep patterns within one to three weeks.

But remember, when it comes to getting some shut eye, there's no silver bullet. And trying to force it can make the problem worse.

“Success can depend partly on how you approach it,” Rouse adds. “I ask my patients to start by letting go of the idea of having control over getting to sleep, and opening their mind to just letting the body do what it's programmed to do. Most people are surprised at what a difference a simple mental tool like this can make.”

 

QUICK-RELIEF CHECKLIST
WHY ARE YOU AWAKE? WHAT CAN YOU DO NOW?
Mental/Emotional Factors

Are you worried about the future?

Angry about the past?

Frustrated with someone in your life?

Worried about not being able to sleep?

Breathe from your diaphragm. Do some meditation or relaxation exercises. Try to focus on the present. Do some gentle yoga. Massage pressure points such as your temples. Take a warm lavender oil bath or apply rosemary or clary sage oil. Try writing your thoughts down to get them out of your head.
Chemical/Nutritional Factors

Are you chemically stimulated (from caffeine, etc.)?

Experiencing low blood sugar after a sugar high?

Hungry because you skipped a meal?

Eat a sleep-inducing snack such as whole-grain crackers or bread; nuts, oatmeal or cherries; or milk together with whole-grain foods. Drink a soothing herbal tea (chamomile or passionflower). Eat some protein (turkey, tofu), which can help adjust blood sugar levels.
Environmental Factors

Are you too hot or too cold?

Distracted by too much light or noise?

Darken your room. Put on a sleep mask. Adjust the room temperature to 65-68 degrees. Remove or add a blanket. Apply calming aromatherapy oils such as bergamot, marjoram, sandalwood or geranium. Turn your clock away from you. Turn on a white-noise or soothing-sound maker. Open a window and breathe some fresh air.
Physical Factors

Are you in pain?

Do you have restless legs?

Breathe deeply. Do some meditation or relaxation exercises to loosen tight limbs. Drink an herbal tea with anti-inflammatory qualities, such as ginger or chamomile. Take a warm bath scented with lavender oil. Do some gentle yoga. Massage your reflexology or acupressure points.

 

Read our detailed interview with Dr. James on alternative medicine to prevent and treat insomnia for more tips on how you can get to sleep — or back to sleep — fast!

Shop natural sleep aids on Gaiam.com or learn how to combat insomnia with videos on GaiamTV.com.

 

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