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By Alan Knight

As far back as the late 1800s, doctors have been recommending hydrotherapy as a drug-free treatment of insomnia.  Dr. Irwin H. Hance’s 1899 lecture explained the benefits of hydrotherapy, noting that drugs were unreliable where the treatment of insomnia was concerned.  Even in the 1880s, Washington D.C.’s St. Elizabeth Hospital would use wraps, showers and baths for treating insomnia in their patients.

Almost everyone has occasional sleepless nights.  Rather than just swallowing a pill, which can lead to more problems in the long run, there are some other options for getting a good night’s sleep.

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  1. DON’T FORCE IT.  The very attempt of trying to force yourself to sleep actually keeps you awake, and makes it more difficult to find sleep.
  2. AVOID LOOKING AT AN ALARM CLOCK ALL NIGHT.  When was the last time you had an early morning flight scheduled and you had to be up at a specific time to make the drive to the airport?  What did you do?  Like most people, you probably checked the clock about every hour (even though you had the alarm set.)  Nocturnal time monitoring promotes anxiety and obsession with time.  Remove the clock from view and try to avoid looking at any source for time.
  3. TRY TO STAY AWAKE.  One study showed that actually trying to staying wake helped people fall asleep.  Research on the effects of the paradoxical directive “to try to stay awake for as long as possible” consistently reports significant reductions in sleep onset latency for insomniacs. 
  4. GO TO BED ONLY WHEN YOU ARE SLEEPY.  Stay up until a reasonable bedtime even if you felt sleepy earlier.  Go to bed only when you are feeling really tired and sleepy.
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    make you anxious and worsen insomnia.
      So, if you are not asleep within 15-20 minutes go into another room, read, or do a quiet activity using low light until feeling sleepy.
  6. SEX IS GOOD FOR INSOMNIA.  Sex is a well-known stress reliever, and if performed at bedtime can help with insomnia.  It enhances relationships, relaxes the body, releases “happy” chemicals, and even promotes wellness.  The old joke of the guy rolling over and beginning to snore immediately after sex is pretty much, dead on.
  7. ROOM TEMPERATURE.  Keep your room temperature cool and comfortable.  Typical recommendation is 65 - 72 degrees Fahrenheit 
  8. KEEP THE BEDROOM DARK.  Try keeping the nighttime bedroom dark.  Even a small amount of light in the bedroom may cause functional changes of the circadian system.
  9. DON’T EAT A HEAVY MEAL LATE IN THE DAY.  If you eat a heavy meal before bedtime, it can interfere with sleep.  It is harder to digest late meals, since the digestive system slows down at night.  Lying down with a full stomach can make you uncomfortable.  Make sure to finish a heavy meal at least four hours before bedtime.
  10. BEDTIME SNACKS MIGHT BE GOOD.  An amino acid called tryptophan, found in milk, turkey, and peanuts, helps the brain produce serotonin, a chemical that helps you relax.  Try drinking warm milk or eat a slice of toast with peanut butter or a bowl of cereal before bedtime.
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    common myth found among people is that alcohol helps with sleep.
      The fact is, alcohol may initially act as a sedative, but it produces a number of sleep-impairing effects in the long run.  Alcohol causes awakening later in the night.  In addition to causing the release of adrenaline, alcohol impairs the transport of tryptophan into the brain, and because the brain is dependent upon tryptophan as the source of serotonin (an important neurotransmitter that initiates sleep), alcohol disrupts serotonin levels.
  12. BOTH CAFFEINE AND NICOTINE are stimulants and may disrupt sleep.  Discontinue four to six hours before bedtime.
  13. One great way to induce sleep is TAKING A HOT BATH.  Our temperature naturally dips at night, starting two hours before sleep and bottoming out at 4-5 am, based on the study done by New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center in 1997.  When you soak in a hot bath your temperature rises and the rapid cool-down when you step out of the tub immediately begins to relax you. This can be any kind of bath tub, especially our elegant clawfoot tub that is designed for you to sit comfortable, in a relaxed position.
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  14. Hydrotherapy can be a God send. For those of you who have used the new WALK IN TUB you know what I mean.  As you sit down in the tub as the tub fills with warm water, every inch of the body begins to relax.  When it is filled, and you engage the hydrotherapy jets, you move into the stage of nirvana.  You feel that you could stay there forever.  Then after the warm water treatment, you step out of the tub, the sudden drop in body temperature adds another pleasant sense of relaxation.  You get sleepy.
The Walk in Tub has been used to treat almost every ailment known to man.  That would include arthritis, sore muscles, poor circulation, hypertension, injuries, and yes, INSOMNIA.  Nothing is better than lying down on clean sheets after spending a twenty minutes in a Walk in Tub with its warm water hydrotherapy Jet and air bubbles soothing away your stressful day.  It might be the best cure for insomnia we have found in recent years.

In this article I have provided 14 different ways to deal with insomnia, including using the hydrotherapy of the walk-in tub, so that you can get a restful night slip. These 14 ways will help most people without prescription drugs, which often are addictive or make the problems worse over time.

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Have a question? Feel free to contact me at the number or email listed at the end of this article and I will personally get back to you. It’s been my pleasure sharing this information with you.

Alan Knight is the owner of Tub King, Inc., and SeniorBathtub.com  in Jacksonville,  Florida
He has many years of experience in the antique and senior bathtub industries. In addition to providing superior products, Tub King has been honored with “Best of Jacksonville Chamber Awards” for four years running. If you would like to contact Alan Knight, call (800) 409-3375 or (800) 843-4231; or send an email to alan@tubking.com.

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