Take a walk. In Chinese medicine, insomnia caused by your brain’s inability to shut off the day’s stress is called “disturbed shen qi,” or a disturbed mental spirit. Releasing daytime stress before bedtime by taking a brisk walk or a warm bath is often more effective than taking a sedative.
Turn down the heat. Most people sleep more soundly in a cool room. A 2004 University of South Australia study found that the body needs to drop its core temperature for sleep to initiate normally.
Pump up the serotonin. Serotonin is a natural hormone associated with inducing sleep. Deficiencies in tryptophan, vitamin B6, niacin, magnesium or other nutrients can inhibit the hormone’s functioning. The best way to maintain proper nutrient levels is to eat a balanced diet. A daily multivitamin may help supplement dietary gaps. If you suspect a severe serotonin deficiency, consult your medical health professional.
Take charge with the 20-minute rule: If you lie sleepless for more than 20 minutes, get up and do a task. Get your mind out of the circular problem of being kept awake by the inability to fall asleep. Read, iron that pile of clothes or write in your journal.
Balance your blood sugar: If you’re not sleeping well, ask your doctor about testing your blood sugar levels. People suffering from hypoglycemia can experience blood sugar fluctuations at night. A drop in blood sugar signals the body to produce hormones and neurotransmitters that stimulate sugar release, which may wake you up. If you are hypoglycemic, ask your health care provider whether nutritional measures are appropriate for you.