The Blog

How to Beat Insomnia Without Any Drugs

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Credit: Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Pretty much everyone has suffered through a night of tossing and turning. But for some people, it's the norm. If you have trouble getting consistent, high-quality shut-eye, but aren't quite ready to go the Ambien route (or even the Tylenol PM route), make sure you try these tips first.

Credit: Shutterstock/

Use the reverse psychology approach
If you can't sleep, don't wallow in your misery; get out of bed. Having a good relationship with your bed (as weird as that sounds) is essential to a good night of sleep, and tossing and turning might establish or reinforce a negative connotation -- and this is completely terrible for you. Dr. Cathy Goldstein, a neurologist at the University of Michigan Sleep Disorders Center, says that if you're lying there in a state of no-sleep agony, walk around for a bit, or at least change your location. "The bed should only be used for sleep and sex," she explains.

Make sure you're moving enough when you are awake
Exercise is crucial, not only for your overall well-being, but for a good night of sleep. If you typically sit around like a lump of flesh all day long, get moving. Moderate exercise during the day makes it easier to fall asleep at night, and gives you better quality of sleep once you do drift off. In fact, research has shined some light on how moderate exercise can help even those with chronic insomnia experience better slumber, and conversely, trained athletes had crappier sleep when forced to be sedentary for a day. Your goal? Try for 25 to 50 minutes of moderate exercise at least three times a week (at least three hours before bedtime). You can do it.

Change up the bed itself
Remember that advice about having a good relationship with your bed? Well, negative associations between you and your bed may be eliminated if you sleep in a different bed. Makes sense, but while this sounds exciting and all, buying a new bed or moving to a new house is likely out of the question every time you experience insomnia.

Instead, you can do a few things to change up your own sleep area to break that association, whether it's rearranging your room, getting a new comforter, switching the side you sleep on, or getting a new pillowcase. Change it up, sleep better.

More from Thrillist:

Like Thrillist on Facebook: