By: Philip Jubb
An insomnia cure. Hmm… Before we go for a cure it may be a good idea to try and know our enemy. What are our signs and symptons. What type of Insomnia do we have. Perhaps a working definition would be helpful.
The experts seem to agree that something along these lines would suit.
“Insomnia” is any episode of unrefreshing sleep, difficulty falling asleep, frequent awakenings, or waking up too early in the morning and not being able to drop back off. Women and the elderly seem to be the most frequent sufferers. We can divide these episodes into three collective groups and label them Short-term Transient or Chronic.
A quick explanation of these three would be as follows;
Transient, a simple disturbance in sleeping patterns. A short illness, a sudden change in lifestyle, stress, isomething that leads to a short term change
Short-term insomnia is is less fun. It lastsfor about 2-3 weeks. Causes could be something like a new job, divorce, serious illness, financial problems, or a family berevement.
Chronic as the name suggests is the real thing. Chronic insomnia is the rarest and most serious type, with Insomnia lasting longer than a few weeks. I’ve just been reading a learned article that says Chronic Insomnia is fairly rare. That may be so but if 10 percent of the US population suffers from it thats over 20 Million people leading a life of misery.
While it would be nice to blame insomnia on things outside our control , many cases of insomnia are self inflicted by such things as caffeine, smoking, poor eating habits, alcohol and lack of exercise.
Caffeine is one the most widely blamed causes of insomnia. An ingredient in coffee, tea, colas, chocolate, and some medications, caffeine is a stimulant . We insomniacs DO NOT NEED stimulants. Quite the reverse. Insomnia solution number one – Cut out the caffine.
Alcohol is often reccomended as a nightcap. Forget it. Thats only beacuse your Doctor drinks it. Alcohol actually lightens and fragments sleep, causing you to wake up as your body metabolizes it. You may think you’re in a deep sleep, but your not getting the deep sleep that Insomniacs need for a cure. Insomnia solution number two – No Alcohol with a couple or four hours of bedtime.
Eating. Yes, I know I can’t ban you from eating but I can jump on the slimmers bandwaggon. Eat a light last meal a couple of hours before going to bed. Avoid spicy and fatty foods that cause indigestion. Lets hear it for MILK. Milk has an amino acid that the body converts to a sleep-enhancing compound in the brain. Calcium is a natural relaxing agent along with several other vitamins such as the B vitamins and magnesium. Have a look at the bottom of the page for details on how to find others. If you get hungry at night, have a light snack before bedtime. Some foods are helpful and actually promote production of melatonin, a hormone associated sleep. Try cheese, soy nuts, chicken, pumpkinseeds, and turkey. High-carbohydrate foods such as bread act upon another hormone, serotonin, which helps to reduce anxiety and contribute toan insomnia solution. Insomnia solution no three. Be careful what you eat.
Nicotine products are universally bad for you. For the Insomniac nicotine has to go. It’s a stimulant that increases blood pressure, speeds up the heart rate, and stimulates brain activity. Insomniacs do not need increased blood pressure, a fast heart rate and a stimulant. Insomnia solution number four. No more ciggies!
Regular exercise is good in fact its excellent, (here comes the but) but, not just before bed. If you work out too close to bedtime, the increase in your heart rate and metabolism will make your body too excitable to sleep. Exercise earlier in the day and give the body a chance to produce that warm rosy glow and relax as the body reacts by producing melatonin to take your temperature down to normal. Exercise for an insomnia solution!
Make your bed as comfortable as possible. Experiment with what works best for you. Choose a position conducive to sleep. If your partner is the source of your insomnia consider a change of rooms for a while. Get rid of the alarm clock . It only acts as a stressful reminder that you aren’t sleeping.
Control the amount of light in your bedroom. Excessive brightness not only affects your eyes, but it also influences the hormone production that helps to establish a healthy sleep cycle. Wear a sleep mask if necessary. Dark is usually good for an insomnia solution.
When it comes to noise, many people find repetitive sounds easier to sleep through than intermittent and abrupt ones. Ear plugs or a continuous background sound such as a fan can help mask disturbing noise (the next- door neighbors barking dog in my case). Consider is a white noise machine.
Control the thermostat. Temperature extremes, whether too hot or too cold, are no fun for the light sleeper. Cool is usually good for an insomnia solution.
Hope some of these help. Drop us a line and let us know,