Sleep is one of those things that is so very important to staying healthy. Some people seem to naturally have no problems with sleep but others seem to find a successful night’s sleep very difficult to achieve.
Having insomnia myself I’ve tried most of the natural methods to improve my sleep. There are a large variety of natural methods available.
There are different types of insomnia, there is the inability to fall asleep and then there is the inability to stay asleep. Depression, anxiety or physical illness can all contribute to insomnia. Also alcohol, drugs, caffeine and late night exercise may be partially responsible for the inability to sleep.
The environment of the room is very important. It isn’t a good idea to have a television in the room as getting used to watching TV at night may keep you awake. Also the room should be quite and dark. It is also important to make sure that you are sleeping on a regular schedule.
Suggestions to prepare for sleep:
- Make sure room is quite.
- If need be use a white nose generator or wave simulation machine
- If partner snore try ear plugs
- Make sure room is dark
- Avoid caffeine especially later in the day
- Get exercise earlier in day rather than later
- Don’t watch TV in bed
- Don’t nap during daytime
There are those who have no difficulty falling asleep but then wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep. Often this type of sleep pattern may be due to blood sugar dropping too low in the middle of the night. The body then excretes cortisol to raise the blood sugar but cortisol is a stimulant so we find ourselves wild awake when this happens. A good strategy for this type of insomnia is to eat a nice protein snack before going to bed. Turkey works well as it is also high in l-tryptophan which is a precursor to serotonin which is necessary for sleep.
There are a variety of dietary supplements that can be used to help with a restful sleep:
- Melatonin has been examined in a variety of studies on insomnia. There is mixed evidence on the effectiveness of melatonin and it seems to work much better in the elderly that younger adults.
- To stay asleep sustain released melatonin may be the best choice, however to get to sleep regular melatonin is probably better. Dosages are usually .5 mg to 5 mg taken between 8PM and Bedtime.
- Chamomile teas have been used for years to help sleep. Chamomile does help with anxiety and is certainly worth trying. Warm tea also seems to help so using chamomile tea at night may be helpful.
- There is evidence that this may help with sleep especially when combined with hops.
- Other Supplements
- Lemon Balm
- Sleep Formulas with a variety of combinations
There are other things that may be very helpful for sleep also. The practice of yoga is very helpful as well as bedtime meditation.
For difficult cases I’ve been successful using brainwave entrainment. I’ve used the David Pal machine to with the sleep or relaxation entrainment before bed or even to put the patient to sleep. For some patients it has been very successful. However it is an expensive option and should never be used by anyone with any history of epilepsy. It is best if you can rent on before purchasing.
Sleep is so important that is essential to get a good night’s sleep. Make sure that if you snore you don’t suffer from sleep apnea as it can be deadly. For difficult cases finding a doctor to order a sleep study can help get at the root cause.