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How to get better sleep

23rd October 2019

Are you suffering from insomnia? There are many potential underlying causes of being unable to sleep. Millions of people rely on sleeping tablets to get the rest they need. There may be steps you can take to minimize your need for sleep pills. The following are things you can do which will potentially let you experience a better night's sleep.

Keep a regular schedule for sleep

The amount of sleep necessary for healthy adults is seven to eight hours. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. Many people keep a different schedule on weekends than they do during weekdays, which is a mistake if you are suffering from insomnia.

Why do this? You must train and reinforce your body's sleep/wake cycle, also called the "circadian rhythm". This pattern determines when you go to sleep and when you wake up. Being inconsistent in your sleeping patterns can disorient your sleep/wake cycle, making it more difficult to get a good night's sleep.

Pay attention to your diet

Food can certainly affect your sleeping pattern. You should not go to sleep when overly full or hungry. Both can cause discomfort, preventing you from going to sleep. In addition, vices such as caffeine or nicotine can be stimulants which make it harder to go to sleep.

While alcohol can make you sleepy, it still can prevent proper sleep patterns, making you oversleep or receive a poor quality sleep. Try to avoid alcohol if you are suffering from insomnia.

Create an environment conducive to sleeping

A place for sleeping should be of comfortable temperature, dark and quiet. If you are unable to get to sleep, double-check that your resting place sufficiently meets the above three criteria. You may have to get thicker blinds, earplugs or a fan to help adjust the situation more favourably for sleeping the night through.

Skip naps

In general, naps can interfere with night-time sleep. If you must nap, limit it to no longer than 15 to 20 minutes. Naps can make insomnia worse, especially naps during the late afternoon.

Keep in mind that the above applies to healthy people. If you are ill, or elderly, daytime naps may be necessary. If you suffer from sleep deprivation, you should take naps.

Naps of 15 to 20 minutes may be beneficial. The following is taken from Harvard Health Publishing:

In fact, studies in shift workers, airline crews, and others show that "power naps" as short as 20 minutes can improve alertness, psychomotor performance, and mood. And a 2007 study from Greece linked voluntary siestas to protection from cardiovascular disease, especially in working men.

The bottom line on naps - they are something you should consider excluding from your schedule if you are suffering from insomnia but otherwise healthy.

Get some exercise

Physical exercise can contribute to better sleep. However, if you are suffering from insomnia, you should limit your physical activity near your bedtime. Spending time outdoors may be helpful.

Avoid anxiety

Anxiety is a major cause of insomnia. Worrying about situations can prevent relaxation. If you suffer from anxiety which, in turn, causes you to experience insomnia - it is a good idea to treat the underlying source of anxiety. Some people who have really bad cases of anxiety take a medication called propranolol. It helps reduce heart rate and decreases the physical effects of anxiety on the sufferer.

Other than prescription medication such as propranolol, you can consider other relaxation techniques which will help you to overcome anxiety and anxiety-induced insomnia.

Treating insomnia with medication

If you have tried other avenues and are at your wit's end, you may consider either prescription or non-prescription based sleep medication. An example of a common prescription medication for the treatment of insomnia is Zopiclone.

An example of a good over-the-counter medicine which helps people fall to sleep is Nytol, which you can purchase without a prescription.

Sleeping medications are best for temporary use. The problem with sleeping aids such as Zopiclone or Nytol is tolerance. Tolerance makes the medication less useful as your body becomes accustomed to it so that it has diminishing usefulness over time.

Can sleeping pills make insomnia worse?

As mentioned above, sleeping tablets are for short-term use because of tolerance. You should avoid long-term use of sleeping tablets, as they can make insomnia worse. Most doctors will hesitate to prescribe Zopiclone for more than four weeks.

If you are suffering from insomnia and have taken prescription or OTC sleep medication for too long, what options do you have? You may want to ask your doctor about using melatonin.

What is melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the sleep/wake cycle. Unlike other sleep medication, Melatonin does not cause withdrawal or symptoms of dependence. People who take Melatonin do not develop a tolerance to it, as they would other sleep medicines.

People use Melatonin when they have problems falling asleep or staying asleep. It is also helpful for people who suffer from insomnia caused by "delayed sleep phase disorder". If you have an odd sleep schedule because it is demanded by your work, you may want to consider using Melatonin.

Where can I buy sleep medications online?

If you believe that medication is a good route to treating your insomnia and wish to buy it online, we sell both OTC and prescription-strength sleep medication here at UK Meds. The links through the article will take you to our sleep medication page, and also individual product pages such as Zopiclone, Nytol or Melatonin.

UK Meds is a registered online pharmacy. We have overnight shipping of sleep medication most nights of the week. If you feel that prescription sleep medication may be right for you, our online prescription service can guide you into getting a prescription online from the convenience of your home.