I've suffered from insomnia in some form since high school, typically mind not turning off and random thoughts popping into mind. Now at 54 that's been quite some time, and it seems to get worse. I now find myself waking up several hours after falling asleep. It's very frustrating. And even when I do get to sleep, according to my fitness band my sleep is mostly light.
I've tried all the suggestions, exercise more, drink less caffeine, warm milk, ramp down an hour before sleeping, etc. I've also tried using white noise but that doesn't do it. Nothing has really worked for me.
My Doctor has prescribed Ambien CR and I take that 3-4 nights. Even with that I can't get to sleep on some nights. I have also taken Lunesta in the past, find that Ambien seems to work better for me. I also find that some nights taking a OTC night time sleep aid (doxylamine) works (half the 25mg dose). I've also tried melatonin, but only 3mg dose or less or I have headaches the next day. I have also found that taking 5HTP also helps to relax me.
When all else fails what works for me is getting out of bed, go to the couch and watch some light TV (house hunter shows seem to work well, Pawn Stars too). Within an hour I'm usually sawing logs. I'll get up and then can go to bed. Seems the TV creates enough distraction to stop my mind from going down paths I don't want it to do when I'm trying to catch some Z's.
What I've determined after all these years is everyone's cause/symptoms are different, everyone's solution will be different. I'm hopeful that with ER this year I'll be less focused and not give my mind a reason to think after hours.
After last night I found that several Stormy Night martini's seem to work wonders, but don't think I want to take that regularly