Took Sleeping Pills and Still Can't Sleep? Try These Techniques to Get to Sleep

May 18, 2019

A woman sleeps peacefully
Stephanie Dwilson

Took sleeping pills and still can't sleep? Although sleeping pills like Ambien and Lunesta are popular prescriptions , they don't always work for everyone, and it's typically best to only take them for short periods of time. Luckily, there are many alternative techniques to get to sleep that you can try. If you're looking for a prescription-free way to get some much-needed rest, read on.

Sleep-Inducing Podcasts

Some people have found that podcasts designed to help you fall asleep can make a big difference. The "Sleep with Me" podcast, narrated by Drew Ackerman (aka Scooter) is a podcast of rambling, soothing bedtime stories that are designed to be interesting enough to keep you distracted from worrying, racing thoughts, but boring enough for you to fall asleep. Topics include TV show recaps, original stories, holiday themes, and other soothing ramblings. Other sleep-inducing podcasts include "The Auracle," which utilizes autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR), "Game of Drones" (a compilation of Sleep with Me "Game of Thrones" recaps), "Miette's Bedtime Story" podcast, and "Sleep Whispers".

If you're going to try a podcast, consider investing in headphones made especially for sleeping so that you can rest comfortably.

Light Therapy

Light therapy can be a great technique to help you fall asleep. The Philips Somneo Sleep and Wake-up Light, for example, has a RelaxBreathe function that helps you fall asleep to light-guided breathing relaxation exercises. Or you can just go the old-fashioned route and use black-out curtains and a dark sleep mask. Sometimes even the smallest light can make it tougher to fall asleep.

Adjust the Temperature

The temperature might be making a bigger difference in your sleep habits than you realize. Simply turning down the thermostat can make a difference. In fact, a temperature of 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit might be optimal. If you and your partner don't agree on the temperature, technology can help. The Eight Sleep Pod is a foam mattress with a customizable cooling and heating system. It can even use biofeedback to adjust its settings for the optimal sleep environment, and it can be personalized for each side of the bed.

Natural Remedies

If you're staying away from caffeine and your mobile and computer screen at night, which can both disrupt your sleep, and other techniques aren't working, you might want to try a prescription-free, natural remedy. Melatonin is a popular option. Melatonin levels rise in the body before bedtime, so taking a pill can help create that natural effect. With melatonin, less is more, and many people say that smaller dosages actually help them sleep better than larger dosages.

St. John's Wort is another option. It's a wild-growing plant whose extracts have been used historically as a sedative. It's sometimes also used for depression. It comes in pill, tea, or topical form. This medication may interact negatively with some medications, so talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you're taking prescriptions, too.

Valerian tea is another popular herbal remedy. It may reduce how long it takes to fall asleep and help you sleep better. However, there can be some side effects. Start with the smallest dosage and talk to your pharmacist or doctor to make sure it doesn't interact negatively with other medications.

Took sleeping pills and still can't sleep? As you can see, there are many alternative techniques to get to sleep besides prescription medication that can help. You might also want to talk with your doctor to make sure an underlying health issue isn't at play.

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