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Put Your Insomnia to Sleep
December 8, 2015 No comments
Here are essential facts you should know about Insomnia
What is insomnia?
Insomnia is a symptom or something you feel (not a disease in itself) that makes it hard for you to stay asleep or get to sleep long enough to feel recharged or refreshed the following morning. This is despite having the chance or opportunity to sleep.
How do you know if you have insomnia?
You have insomnia if you feel dissatisfied with your sleep, which could either be the quality or quantity of your sleep, or both. The dissatisfaction is related to one or more of the following:
- Difficulty getting to sleep.
- Difficulty maintaining your sleep. You easily wake up during your sleep and have difficulty going back to sleep.
- You wake up very early in the morning and you can’t fall asleep again.
What are the causes of insomnia?
Your insomnia may be caused by a lot of different things like:
- Stress. Stressful events in your life can lead you to develop insomnia. If you worry about a lot of stuff like paying the bills and problems at work, this type of stress can make you experience insomnia.
- Poor health conditions. Cardiovascular diseases, an overzealous thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism), joint pains (arthritis), an overactive bladder, restless leg syndrome, asthma, and Alzheimer’s disease are all examples of medical conditions that can affect your sleep.
- Psychiatric problems. Schizophrenia, anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are examples of psychiatric illnesses which can make it hard for you to sleep.
- Medication misuse. Widely available over the counter and prescription medicines can also make it hard for you to fall asleep. Examples are the following:
- Beta-blockers - medication for high blood pressure
- NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) – this can take away your pain and valuable sleep as well.
- Stimulant drugs such as methylphenidate for ADHD and modafinil for narcolepsy.
- Anti-asthma medications like salbutamol and theophylline.
- Alcohol problems. Drinking a lot of alcohol can affect your sleeping habits.
- Caffeinated drinks: energy drinks, some teas, coffee, and sodas.
- Adjustments in sleep patterns. Insomnia may be a symptom of jet lag. This happens after a long-haul flight.
Essential Tips on How You Can Put Insomnia to Sleep
Below is a list of tips you can try to initiate sleep and maintain your sleep.
- You can take Calcium and Magnesium supplements to help relax your tense muscles. Difficulty going to sleep or poor sleep can be a symptom of low Calcium and Magnesium intake. Also, your sleep hormone (Melatonin) depends on Magnesium for balance.
- According to a recent study, 2 mg of Hop extract (with sedative properties) can effectively decrease our brain’s night activities.
- A Lavender foaming bath can quickly relax your mind and body to help you sleep. You can also use a Lavender vaporiser.
- The sleep-inducing properties of Valerian root may provide some benefit to you.
- The amino acid Tryptophan is needed in the production of Melatonin (your sleep hormone). Drink a warm glass of organic milk before you go to bed.
- Another amino acid, L-theanine crosses the barrier between your brain and blood within 30 minutes to help make you relax. It’s found in adequate amounts in black and green tea.
- Extracts of the plant Passion flower may be helpful in reducing your anxiety. Less anxiety means your mind won’t be so busy so more sleep hours for you.
- Identify the main cause of why you can’t sleep.
- Check the physical arrangement of your bedroom. Is it conducive for sleeping or playing video games? An important note here about technology - devices which emit blue light must be stopped at least 1 hour prior to sleep!
- Develop a bedtime routine. Take a warm lavender foaming bath. Take your supplements and drink your organic milk. Read a chapter of your book. Turn out the light at around the same time every night.
Your insomnia may be a symptom of an underlying disorder or problem. It can be caused by a multitude of things, the most common being stress and anxiety. You should identify the cause and do your very best to deal with it. There are many remedies you can try to help you fall asleep and maintain your sleep, but don’t forget to consider the importance of lifestyle factors which can also have a huge impact on improving your sleep. If you still have insomnia, consult a sleep doctor or other qualified healthcare provider who can support you. Don’t underestimate the value of sleep, we all need quality sleep to survive and thrive.
- Kryger, M. (2011). Principles and practice of sleep medicine (5th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Saunders/Elsevier.