Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep which may be chronic and can lead to feeings of tiredness. The condition is more common in women and elderly people of both genders.
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Waking during the night
- Difficulty falling asleep if woken during the night
- Mood swings
- Feeling unwell
- Poor diet
- Asthma and other breathing problems
- Poor Sleep Environment
- External Stimuli (noise pollution, snoring partner, light sensitivity)
Remedies and Tips
Taking Supplements for Insomina
If you suffer from anxiety taking L-theanine may help with restful sleep. Some of the B vitamins from vitamin B complex family can help with aiding sleep such as Vitamin B3 and Vitamin B6 as well as NAC supplements.
Make sure to take these 2-3 hours before the time you want to fall asleep.
Melatonin supplement may help for extreme cases but caution is advised as too much can cause havoc. Melatonin supplements are a quick fix for emergency situations where you are not getting any sleep. Like most supplements melatonin has side effects that can range from mild to extreme.
Tryptophan can also be used as a sleep aid.
Changing Your Sleep Environment For Better Sleep
Insomnia due to disruptions to circadian rhythm can be helped by melatonin which is regulated by this essential hormone, although supplements can be taken it is better to allow the body to produce this naturally as not much is known in terms of health risks associated with supplemental intake of melatonin. The circadian rhythm is the body’s natural clock and works according to sunrise and sunset. Naturally our mind and body should be awake or awakening during sunrise and feeling sleepy after the sun sets. It is also important to get natural sunlight as you awaken after sunrise as natural daylight helps to regulate the hormone serotonin (“feel good hormone”) which is essential for the production of melatonin. Low serotonin levels are common in those who suffer from depression, a condition which is linked to insomnia.
Melatonin is a natural hormone the body produces and you can enhance this by changing your sleep environment such as blocking out as much light as possible. It is recommended that your bedroom uses blackout curtains or blinds so the room is darker. Your bedroom should also be pitch black. You can keep your door closed to block out light from the hallway if this is left on.
Avoid technology as much as possible. Artificial lights from phones, tablets etc will interfere with your body's ability to naturally produce melatonin.
Do not use LED lamps, instead opt for incandescent lamps as this light is more beneficial for you.
Your room should be clean and free of clutter.
Use neutral pastel colors as this will help produce a sense of mental calm.
If noise is an issue use a white noise audio or ear plugs.
Make sure the temperature in your room is not too warm, cooling temperatures help aid with sleep. At the same time you also do not want to be freezing cold as this will also disrupt your sleep. Aim for 16C or check if changing temperature by using different layers of blankets help. You may also want to have a hot bath or shower at least 2 hours prior to sleep as this will help the body to cool down as you sleep.
It is better to avoid central heating, layers of blankets are ideal. If your body gets too hot which could be one reason of sleep disruption pull away a few layers of blanket until you reach ideal temperature and consider sleeping naked. Use bedding sheets made of natural material such as cotton.
Silk and cotton pajamas or sleeping gowns can help regulate body temperature.
Make sure your mattress is also comfortable as it can be either too firm or too soft for your body type.
Avoid sleeping with your pets as animals have different sleep requirements and can interfere with your sleep pattern.
Avoid Stimulants and Eat Healthy To Reduce Insomnia
Eating a healthy diet is paramount for good overall health which also will dictate how well you sleep. Avoid stimulants such as alcohol and caffeine especially from the afternoon and onwards as this will keep you too alert.
Eating turkey in the afternoon or for supper can help set the mood for better sleep in the evening. It is the amino acid tryptophan found in turkey that can help with sleep. Tryptophan does not easily cross the blood brain barrier and is best utilized when taking at least a teaspoon to 1 tablespoon honey with the turkey.
Chamomile tea may also help aid sleep.
Handling Stress That Keeps You up at Night
Use Relaxation Techniques
Write a list of things you need to deal with for the next day such as work, goals or other details. Put this list away which may help you to not overthink the details and help you focus on sleeping.
Use meditation or a Tibetan singing bowl to pave the way for sleep
White noise may also help with relaxation
Practice Proper Hygiene Before Bed
Always floss and brush your teeth prior to sleep to aid in good overall oral hygiene. Poor oral hygiene can lead to all kinds of disorders. Use a natural toothpaste and mouthwash.
Other Tips That May Help With Dealing With Insomnia
Reading a book, perhaps one that is related to reference or something that you would find tedious can help you too feel sleepy. It is important that the material is not too engaging or have any importance to set the mood.
A calming monotonous activity such as knitting or crocheting can also set the mood for sleepiness.
Some physical activity such as brisk walks can also set the mood for sleep. Try to exercise at least 3 times a week.
Some essential oils such as lavender oil may help with sleep or consider using lavender pillows.