Tips To Beat Insomnia
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Dont Be A Hero: The Negative Effects Of Insomnia
Ever heard someone brag that he or she only needs six hours of sleep? While its admirable to try to put a positive spin on a negative situation, taking a heroic attitude toward sleeplessness can be bad for your health. Most people need between seven and nine hours of sleep. Getting insufficient sleep can:
- Cause fatigue, irritability, and excessive daytime sleepiness
- Cause weight gain and make it difficult to lose weight
- Weaken the immune system, making you more susceptible to getting sick
- Cause elevated blood pressure and can increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease
- Contribute to chronic pain
- Exacerbate mental illness, including depression and anxiety
- Reduce focus and concentration, leading to decreased performance at work
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What Are The Symptoms Of Insomnia
Typically, insomnia can have multiple effects on your health, but it usually starts with having difficulty falling asleep at night, going through disturbed sleep sessions, and waking up early without feeling rested.
During the daytime, many insomniacs will feel tired, irritable, have trouble concentrating, and be subject to memory loss.
Other symptoms may include:
And an increased risk of depression.
Prevent Nighttime Bathroom Interruptions
IIt is not good to be dehydrated but drinking too many fluids may lead to frequent nighttime urination which may interfere with your ability to get enough sleep. If you find yourself getting up to urinate frequently throughout the night, it may be a sign of a medical problem. See your doctor for an evaluation. Limiting fluid intake for at least a couple of hours before bedtime may help reduce or eliminated nighttime trips to the bathroom. Keep a nightlight in the hallway and bathroom so you can find your way easily without tripping and turning on the lights which may throw off your sleep schedule.
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Ok But If That Doesnt Work How Can Insomnia Be Cured
For starters, lets just say that there isnt one proper way to cure all types of insomnias. If you want to know how to cure insomnia, the best thing to do is to find the source of your sleepless nights. And if you cant by yourself, just talk to a doctor.
Here are some general tips that can help you cure your insomnia:
Reduce your coffee and alcohol intake: as both are known to influence the nervous system. No coffee in the afternoon and no alcohol in the evening. The effects of coffee can be felt for a long time, as caffeine can stay in your system for up to 24 hours . As for alcohol, the sedative effect that you feel after consumption fades out and can lead to frequent arousals, hence a disturbed nights sleep
Exercice during the day. You can move your butt all day and as regularly as possible to feel more tired when the night comes. However, stop working out at least one hour before going to bed . Since your body becomes more active when you work out, a full-on workout right before bed might not be the best of ideas.
Avoid large meals before bedtime: if your digestive system is all over the place after digesting a divine meal that your mom made for you, you might have trouble going to bed. Try eating smaller portions for dinner and you should be fine.
Wake up at the same time every day: your body can be trained. If you are prone to insomnia, waking up and going to bed at the same time everyday will help your body create a better sleep routine.
Problems With Sleeping Pills
As I mentioned above, sleeping pills are a quick fix, but why use them if natural sleep aids can solve the problem better? Its really important that you take the time to understand why sleeping pills may not be the best idea.
Theyre placed under a category called sedative hypnotics and include benzodiazepines and barbiturates. Youve probably heard of the benzodiazepines, or psychotropic drugs, called Xanax, Valium, Ativan and Librium, which are also known as common anti-anxiety medications. Because they can induce drowsiness, they can help people sleep, but these drugs can be addictive too and thats not a good thing.
Barbiturates can cause a sedative state because they relax the central nervous system. These are more commonly called sleeping pills and usually the drug of choice for heavy sedation in anesthesia. There are also less powerful, yet still sleep-inducing, drugs that are over-the-counter prescriptions, such as Lunesta, Sonata and Ambien.
If you know me, youre well aware that I always suggest a natural remedy over a synthetic option, and the reason is pretty clear. In the case of sleeping pills, they typically slow your breathing and may cause you to breath much more shallow than normal. This could be problematic, and even dangerous, for someone with asthma or other lung-related problems like COPD, a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that makes it hard to breathe. Sleeping pills also commonly have numerous side effects, such as:
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Behavioral Therapy As A Cure To Insomnia
Behavioral therapy will help you cure your insomnia by guiding you into developing a good sleeping routine. Many of the 10 tips mentioned in the Ok, now, how do we cure insomnia section are behavioral.
Apart from the techniques already mentioned, behavioral therapy could help you cure your insomnia with the following techniques:
Light therapy: if you tend to fall asleep in the afternoon and cant sleep when night comes, getting more light could help you stay awake during the day and sleep during the night. During the summer, try to go outside as much as possible when its sunny. You could also buy a special light that will mimic sunlight
Remaining passively awake: when you go to bed, try to stay awake instead of trying to sleep. This way, less stress is less likely to build-up since the emphasis is not focused on the I must sleep, now! thought
Sleep restriction: staying out of your bed as much as possible and avoiding naps. This way you will feel more tired and will be more likely to fall asleep easily
Keep Your Internal Clock Set With A Consistent Sleep Schedule
Having a regular sleep schedule helps to ensure better quality and consistent sleep.
Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day sets the bodys “internal clock” to expect sleep at a certain time night after night. Try to stick as closely as possible to your routine on weekends to avoid a Monday morning sleep hangover. Waking up at the same time each day is the very best way to set your clock, and even if you did not sleep well the night before, the extra sleep drive will help you consolidate sleep the following night. Learn more about the importance of synchronizing the clock in The Drive to Sleep and Our Internal Clock.
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Turn Down The Lights To Get Better Sleep
Bright indoor lights inhibit the production of melatonin, the hormone that helps you fall asleep. Put dimmer switches on indoor lights and lower the lighting level in your home for at least 2 to 3 hours before bedtime. If you like to read before bed, read by a light using a low wattage bulb to avoid being exposed to levels of light that will make it hard to fall asleep. Use heavy black out curtains on bedroom windows to keep light outside from sneaking in and wreaking havoc on your sleep schedule.
When To See Your Gp
Make an appointment to see your GP if you’re finding it difficult to get to sleep or stay asleep and it’s affecting your daily life particularly if it has been a problem for a month or more and the above measures have not helped.
Your GP may ask you about your sleeping routines, your daily alcohol and caffeine consumption, and your general lifestyle habits, such as diet and exercise.
They will also check your medical history for any illness or medication that may be contributing to your insomnia.
Your GP may suggest keeping a sleep diary for a couple of weeks to help them gain a better understanding of your sleep patterns.
Each day, make a note of things such as the time you went to bed and woke up, how long it took you to fall asleep, and the number of times you woke up during the night.
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Enjoy A Little Passionflower
For years, passionflower tea has been used as a natural cure for insomnia, anxiety and stress.
If that alone isnt enough to make it worth a try in your efforts to finally reclaim your sleep, this will. It tastes delightful.
Typically found in southern parts of the United States and in South America, this tropical plant comes from the same family that gives us the passion fruit, so you can imagine how delicious it is.
In this instance, the plants leaves, flowers and stems are dried and used to create a tea that has natural relaxing properties.
In one study conducted in 2013, a combination of passionflower and valerian was proven to be just as effective at improving sleep quality as Ambien, a prescription medication used for curing insomnia.
Twelve Simple Tips To Improve Your Sleep
Falling asleep may seem like an impossible dream when youre awake at 3 a.m., but good sleep is more under your control than you might think. Following healthy sleep habits can make the difference between restlessness and restful slumber. Researchers have identified a variety of practices and habitsknown as sleep hygiene”that can help anyone maximize the hours they spend sleeping, even those whose sleep is affected by insomnia, jet lag, or shift work.Sleep hygiene may sound unimaginative, but it just may be the best way to get the sleep you need in this 24/7 age. Here are some simple tips for making the sleep of your dreams a nightly reality:
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Are Natural Sleep Remedies Safe For Pregnant People
Certain natural sleep remedies like yoga, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques are great for pregnant people to maintain a healthy, relaxed body and mind. If these techniques also aid in sleep during pregnancy, that is even better. However, some supplements, aromatherapies, herbs, and teas may not be safe to use while pregnant, and you should consult with your physician before trying any of these methods.
Turn Those Electronics Off
She also advises patients to turn off all electronics at least 1 or 2 hours before bedtime. This is extremely challenging for many people, but research now confirms that constant screen time, especially late into the evening, may interfere with the quality and quantity of sleep, she notes. The light from devices will have your brain thinking its not time for bed. Then the stress of reading emails or watching shows adds cortisol to the bloodstream, which further interferes with sleep.
Unplugging in the hours before bed has made all the difference for Rich Mallard, a customer service rep who used to stay glued to his laptop right up until he turned off the lights and often ended up tossing and turning for half the night. Since he started shutting the screen down a couple of hours before bed, he says, his sleep has improved dramatically.
Dr. Rothenberg also recommends regular exercise of just about any type walking, running, swimming, dancing, biking which is associated with better sleep.
Apps or online resources that guide you through breathing exercises or mindfulness meditation may also help calm your mind to prepare you for a good nights sleep. UCLAs Mindfulness Awareness Research Center has free guided meditations you can download.
Take Magnesium Vitamin D And Zinc
This is just a scattergun approach here and it aims to treat insomnia on a physical level.
I didnt get any blood-work done but I assumed, seeing as Ive spent the last few months living in wet, dark, and depressing England and freezing cold Canada, that I am deficient in vitamin D the sunshine and happiness vitamin.
I also took a guess that I was deficient in magnesium because
And I thought I might be deficient in zinc because I hadnt been eating much red meat recently and was suffering from low energy.
So I went out and bought magnesium, vitamin D, and zinc and followed this dosing schedule:
- 5,000 iu of vitamin D first thing in the morning
- 30 mg of zinc in the morning/early afternoon with food
- 150 mg of magnesium citrate at night with food
- Foot soak/whole body warm bath in the evening with epsom salts
Youll know you were originally deficient in these minerals and vitamins and youll know theyre working because.
- Youll feel happy
- Youll feel horny
- You will SLEEP
Seriously, magnesium is my favourite out of these supplements because just 30 minutes after ingesting it, your muscles feel loose. You feel relaxed. You feel calm. Anxiety floats away.
I recommend the following brands:
But First: What Is Insomnia Exactly
As you may already know, insomnia is the incapacity to sleep, even though it is the proper moment to sleep and you have enough time to do so.
There are 3 different types of insomnia:
Transient insomnia: The shortest form of insomnia . This type of insomnia is generally caused by changes in your sleep environment, anxiety, or some form of depression.
Acute insomnia: A medium-term form of insomnia. Acute insomnia, a.k.a. adjustment insomnia, can last up to 1 month. This type of insomnia is usually born from a psychological trigger and ends when its no longer present or when the person gets used to it.
Chronic insomnia: This is the longest, most intense form of insomnia. This type of insomnia lasts more than 1 month and is usually linked to chronic medical and/or psychiatric conditions.
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Watch Out For Hidden Caffeine
Many people rely on morning coffee to stay awake, but caffeine consumption after noon may contribute to sleep problems. To maintain good sleep habits, avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening. Caffeine is found in many foods, beverages, and even certain medications. Some hidden sources of caffeine include chocolate, tea, some pain relievers, weight loss pills, soda, and energy drinks. You may need to experiment a bit. People have different abilities to metabolize caffeine. If you are very sensitive, you may even have to avoid decaf coffee which contains a small amount of the stimulant.
Risks And Side Effects
Always make sure you start with small amounts of any new food, herb or essential oil, as different people have different reactions to certain foods. If you notice anything unusually, stop the treatment immediately. Also, if you have been on prescription medication for sleep or any other medication, please consult your doctor first.
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Sleep Hygiene: Dos & Donts
- Dont ingest caffeine after noon. This includes coffee, tea, iced tea, energy drinks and soda.
- Dont have that second glass of wine with dinner. While alcohol is known to speed the onset of sleep, it also disrupts sleepespecially causing arousal during the second half of the night, when the body should be entering deep sleep.
- Dont take other stimulants close to bedtime, including chocolate, nicotine and certain medications.
- Dont eat a large, heavy meal close to bedtime.
- Dont watch TV, use the computer or spend long periods on a mobile device before bed. These activities stimulate the brain and make it harder to fall alseep.
- Dont use your phone, laptop, or other mobile device in bed.
- Dont give in to the urge to nap during the day it can disturb the normal sleep/wakefulness pattern.