Insomnia Treatment

Mark Sandoval, M.D.
Lifestyle Medicine
1. Go to bed early at the same time every night (Early to bed, early to rise…)
2. Have a regular bedtime routine that is calming (warm bath, foot massage, read devotional materials, pray)
3. Avoid stimulating things (news, movies, TV, radio [except calm Christian/Classical music], novels, caffeine, alcohol, etc.) and don’t use electronics within at least 1 hour of bedtime.
4. Don’t exercise within 2-3 hours of bedtime
5. Don’t drink much after 5 or 6pm to avoid having to get up in the night to go to the bathroom.
6. In the evening, write down a list of the things that are still on your mind/heart that you usually “worry” about or that you still need to accomplish. Then present that list before God and ask Him to take care of it for you. Any time one of those thoughts come into your mind after you lay down to sleep, remind yourself that you gave it to God, and then let Him take care of it. Don’t keep thinking about it.
7. Maintain the best physical health (practice the WELLNESS Principles) Water (Drink at least 1 ounce daily for every 2 pounds that you weigh, bathe daily, use warm baths/showers for relaxation) Exercise (walk frequently, garden, do yard work, help a neighbor, lift weights) on a daily basis Live Temperately (Avoid alcohol, sleeping pills, caffeine, tobacco or other substances that will ruin your ability to sleep) Lots of Fresh Air (Practice deep breathing with the 4-7-9 technique. Breathe in for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 7, and exhale slowly for a count of 9. Do this 7-10 times, at least 4-5 times daily. Keep windows/doors open.) Nutrition (eat a whole-food, plant-based diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and moderate nuts/seeds. Avoid all animals or animal products in your diet. Cut out free sugars, chocolate, fried or other fatty foods, and avoid MSG-containing foods. Eat at regular meal times with absolutely no snacks. Two meals daily is better than 3 for most people. Avoid eating in the evening, as this negatively impacts sleep. Entire Trust in God (Foster a strong personal relationship with God through study/memorization of the Bible, constant prayer, and service to others. God is your key to success, so never leave Him out of any problem/joy/situation you find yourself in. Sunshine (Get outside and soak up the rays of the sun. Spend at least 30 minutes [unless you burn easily or have a condition that prohibits direct sunlight] in the mid-day sun, not using lotions, oils or other substances on your skin. Sufficient Rest – (Avoid afternoon or evening naps, as these tend to make nighttime sleep more difficult. Besides sleep, rest has to do with peace. Peace is a gift of God that is given in a trusting, dependent relationship with Him, where you are obedient to His will for your life, and He has forgiven you for your sins and is living in you to work out His will. It is believing His promises to you, like Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
8. Purchase a “Blue Light” and sit in front of it at 6am each morning for 15-20 minutes. Or, better yet, get outside at 6 and enjoy the early morning sunlight for 15-20 minutes. This sets your melatonin cycle.
9. Set the alarm, and then turn all clocks away from you so that you cannot see what time it is. It is not so important how many hours you sleep during the night as it is how rested you are during the day.
10. Keep the way to the bathroom clear of obstacles at night, for if you wake up during the night, you want to keep the lights out.
11. Place an ice pack behind your neck as you lie down.
12. When you lie down to sleep, make sure the room is cool, dark, quiet, and the bed is comfortable, then close your eyes and lie still. Resist the urge to move your legs or move about.
13. When you lie down to sleep, this is your time to intercede in prayer for others. Spend your awake time (with eyes closed and lying still) praying for the needs of others. If you go to sleep while you are praying, praise the Lord! Don’t focus upon staying awake to intercede, simply intercede. God is now in control of your nights. If you spend more time awake, interceding for others, God is using you for that intercession. If you spend more time asleep, God is in control of your sleep. Either way, God is in control.
14. If you need additional help, you can try using chamomile, lavender, hops, valerian, passionflower, or catnip tea to assist in sleep.