Insomnia can be really frustrating and stressful. Quality sleep is the key to optimal health and it is clear that lacking sleep affects your health.
You are not alone!
Sleep disorders are very common: nearly one person out of ten suffers from it. Nearly 50% of all cases are related to depression, anxiety or stress but insomnia can also be caused by other disorders such as digestive problems, hypoglycaemia, muscle or joint pain, respiratory problems, hyperthyroidism, restless legs syndrome, hormonal imbalance, adrenals fatigue, etc. A licensed naturopath can identify the causes of insomnia and find natural solutions to correct the situation.
Do not forget that a lack of physical activity can also contribute to insomnia. So put on your running shoes and go get some fresh air, you will sleep better, it’s guaranteed! The key to success is consistency, not intensity. Studies revealed that the minimum amount of exercise to produce an effect on the brain is 20 minutes, 3 times a week, at an intensity that allows you to talk at the same time, but not sing.
How many hours?
It is difficult to tell exactly how many hours of sleep you need, because each individual is different. For some people, five hours suffice but for others 8, 9 or even 10 hours are needed to be fully rested and avoid experiencing excessive tiredness during the day. The important thing is to get enough sleep for your own needs, so if you wake up and go through your day without lacking energy, then you have had enough sleep.
- Do not eat big meals within 3 hours before bedtime.
- In the evening, eat foods rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that plays a role in the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is essential to sleep. Nut butters, tuna, turkey, yogurt, bananas, dates, figs and dairy products are high in this amino acid.
- Do not take alcohol, coffee and nicotine 4 to 6 hours before bedtime. These are stimulants and disrupt your sleep cycles. Nicotine, may seem to have a calming effect, but is actually a neurostimulant and can cause sleeping problems.
Set a routine to restore a healthy sleep cycle
- Go to bed only when you are tired;
- Do not stay in bed if you are not sleeping;
- Establish a sleep cycle, by trying to always get up at the same time;
- Do not take naps during the day, especially after 3:00 p.m.;
- Exercise, but not within two hours before bedtime;
- Take a warm bath 1 to 2 hours before bedtime. You can add drops of essential oils, such as chamomile or lavender in your bath water;
- Use relaxation techniques, visualization or meditation in the evening;
- Write down your worries on a sheet to clear your mind;
- Ventilate your room and sleep with your door or your window open if you don’t own an air exchanger to allow the oxygen to circulate;
- Turn off the Wi-Fi and your cellular connection;
- Avoid the computer, television and even telephone conversations, they can increase your level of cortisol (stress hormone) and disrupt your sleep.
Some people wake up at night because of hypoglycaemia and when their sugar level drops too low, their cortisol level increases and tends to keep them awake. A small protein snack in the evening can solve this problem. Greek yogurt, ricotta or cottage cheese are good snacks to eat before sleep.