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Most everyone suffers from insomnia once in a while. That restless, tossing and turning or early rising leave us feeling drained. It’s hard to be productive when you don’t get a good night’s sleep. While occasional insomnia is normal, it’s not fun and you want to get rid of it as soon as possible. Here’s how to practice good sleep hygiene.

· Eliminate caffeine from your afternoon and evening beverages. Switch to caffeine free products after lunch.
· Keep alcoholic beverages to a minimum. Alcohol induced sleep is not restful sleep.
· Don’t use tobacco products in the evening. Tobacco is a stimulant and won’t help you get that rest you desire.
· Use your bed for sleep and lovemaking only. While it may be comfortable to read, write, surf the net or do other things in bed, it doesn’t help your body understand that bed is for sleep. Keep your other activities for other rooms in the house.
· Set up a regular bedtime so that your body starts to recognize that it’s getting time to sleep. Having a routine or ritual before going to bed will help establish a sleep pattern, too.
· Avoid napping if possible. If necessary, keep naps brief, 20 minutes or less.
· Get regular exercise but avoid evening exercise.
· Keep your stress to a minimum. This is difficult as we all lead stress-filled lives these days. But, managing your stress will help keep your sleep from being disturbed.
· Eat a light snack of carbohydrates. Avoid spicy or heavy foods.
· Drink some warm milk or decaffeinated tea.
· Learn progressive muscle relaxation techniques. Deep relaxation will help you drift into sleep.
· Make your bedroom and bed sleep friendly. A cool, well-ventilated, dark room will help you sleep better. A firm bed will, too.
· Avoid using sleep medications with any frequency. Sleep medications help you sleep, but the sleep is not as restful or restoring as natural sleep.

If your insomnia continues despite all your efforts, it’s time to consult your doctor. Keep a sleep diary of your difficulty so that you will be able to answer your doctor’s questions. The doctor will want to know how long you have been having trouble, whether you are having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep and what you have done to help yourself. Your sleep diary will have you prepared to answer and get relief.