Insomnia home remedies and prevention techniques using simple methods. These methods are diet, exercise, meditation and Yoga Nidra
What is Insomnia?
The human body needs 7 to 8 hours of deep sleep every day to reinvigorate itself. If the sleep lasts for a lesser amount of time or is not deep enough than you are suffering from Insomnia. The long term effect of sleep deprivation is reduced mental and physical faculties. All kinds of problems ranging from weight gain to reduced immunity can be ascribed to insomnia.
Poor sleep the previous night makes your day bad. Your mood could be irritable and it impacts your cognitive faculties like concentration and capacity to remember. It would also impact on your interpersonal and social skills. Unfortunately, bad sleep is fairly common, 1 in 4 Americans suffer from it.
Medication though initially helpful is not the solution in the longer run for One your body builds up immunity against the drug and secondly it is like a borrowed car, which works only a short time.
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Fortunately, certain lifestyle changes and mentioned home remedies can improve insomnia in most cases. As the saying goes “where there is a will there is a way”. It is most apt for insomnia treatment. In itself, Insomnia is not a disease but a symptom of either a trivial or serious condition. Trivial causes range from a change of sleeping place, uncomfortable bed, and noisy surroundings
It could also be a result of certain medications like Anti-allergic, blood pressure or anti-depressant pills. Certain factors like having a big meal before sleep, drinking alcohol before bedtime and the absence of fixed hours for bed also cause sleep deprivation. Serious problems such as mental illness like anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder may also cause sleep disorder.
Have a fixed sleep routine: The body is governed by the circadian cycle, its own time clock. If you hit the bed the same time daily, without fail, you stabilize your body clock. You fell asleep and tend to get up at the same time. If this rhythm is broken say on a weekend, your entire sleep/wake cycle will be disturbed
Adults who exercised for at least an hour for five days a week witnessed improved sleep quality and extended duration. Those adults, who exercised for at least four days with amount reduced to 30 minutes per day, also experienced better sleep time and duration. Exercise in the morning showed the best results, compared to other parts of the day. It also improved other symptoms such as depression, added vitality, and reduced day time naps. However, care has to be taken to not exercise a few hours before bedtime, As the revved machine needs time to cool off. Exercising near bedtime can make the mind agitated and may induce restlessness and sleeplessness.
Better diet, better sleep
Does diet impact your sleep quality? The answer is yes. Caffeine is the known enemy of sleep. In fact, Buddhist masters discovered tea to ward off the effects of sleep during meditation. Cut down on the consumption of tea, coffee, sugar drinks, and chocolates. Preferably restrict your consumption of caffeine before midday. Dinner should be your lightest meal, as a heavy meal before nap time could cause heartburn, weight gain, and general poor sleep quality. Fond of spicy or heavy food? Time to give it a miss, Studies have shown that such food impacts the quality of sleep in a negative way.
Bad news for nicotine addicts, Smoking stimulates the physical and mental system. It also exacerbates sleep apnoea and asthma. Smokers are also four times more likely to not feel as well rested after a full night sleep than a non-smoker.
Avoid alcohol before bedtime
Alcohol is considered to be a de-stressor and it does induce a quick sleep but impacts the quality of sleep. It disrupts the brain. You might wake up in the middle of the night and have difficulty falling asleep again.
Do not use Gadget before bedtime
A study found that most people used some kind of electronic gadget before sleeping. It could be watching TV or video, using a cell phone or a computer. These gadgets generated a blue light. This ambient light activates the brain making it difficult to relax. It also impacts the circadian cycle i.e. the brain gets confused about the time of the day. In experiments on office workers, blue light has been found to increase the level of alertness. You should turn these devices at least an hour before sleep. In case you have to use them try wearing goggles that block blue light. There is also software available that reduce the glow of your computer screen depending upon the time of the day it is.
Keep your children and pet away from the bed:
Studies have shown that people with pets on the bed have a 53 % reduced quality of sleep. With children, the figure is 80%. The bed is your space. It is nature’s way of rejuvenating your body and mind for the next day. So keep the use of the bed to yourself. Kids and Pets should be avoided as bed companions.
Control Room Temperature
Studies have shown that it is easier for the body to drift to sleep at certain temperatures compared to others. The ideal temperature to sleep is 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit. Too hot or too cold a bedroom can make sleeping difficult.
Keep the room dark
The bedroom should be completely dark. Light is the signal for the brain to get up. Keep the drapes tight, prevent any outside light to filter in. When it is dark body produces a hormone called melatonin. It is the sleep-inducing hormone.
Use your bed only for sleeping. Eating, watching TV, Balancing your checkbook and chatting on the phone are all not kosher on the bed. Instead, try to read or meditate on the bed before you drift to sleep.
USE “4-7-8” breathing method: One of the ways to tame your mind to sleep is a simple breathing exercise. As you lay in the bed, with your mind wandering, tighten your body and release it after a few seconds. Do it again a couple of times.
- Breathe in for four seconds
- Hold your breath for seven seconds,
- And release your breath for eight seconds.
Keep on doing it, and gradually your mind would become calmer and quieter allowing you to drift to sleep.
Experience both daylight and darkness
When you get up to try to soak in as much daylight as possible. Go for a morning walk. Take a walk after lunch; sit next to an office window. Exposure to the sun increases the quality of serotonin in our bodies. It also decreases cortisol, the stress hormone. Go for a hike on weekends. Irregular exposure to light can lead to disruption of circadian rhythm making it difficult to fall asleep and stay awake
Practice Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness
Yoga, meditation are tools to de-stress the body at the deepest levels. Yoga releases stress and tension accumulated in the body. Meditation can enhance melatonin levels and help the brain in achieving the required state where sleep is easily achieved. Similarly listening to good and soothing music before bedtime relaxes and de-stress the brain. There is some beautiful chanting music available, so delve into it and enjoy its pleasure.
Curtail Nap Time:
Studies have shown that siesta or a nap after lunch is good for overall health and productivity. But a nap longer than 30 minutes could prove counterproductive as it could reduce sleep time in the night. So enjoy your siesta, but keep a clock handy.
Get comfortable in your bed: A medium-firm mattress has been shown to positively affect sleep quality and time; It prevents sleep disturbance and muscular discomfort. So make sure that you are not using too old a mattress. Quality of the pillow is crucial as it can affect your neck curve, temperature, and context. The use of a weighted blanket could reduce body stress and help improve your sleep.
Aromatherapy: It has been found to improve sleep quality. Lavender has a positive effect on sleep. So does frankincense, myrrh, and clary sage. Fragrance in the room tends to release beautiful memories and happy moments. If you have trouble sleeping visualize a serene place, a beautiful mountain a nice picture, and let your mind drift to sleep.
Sleep Enhancement Food and Supplements
Try using sleep-enhancing foods and supplements. There are certain foods that enhance the quality of sleep:
- Almonds contain Tryptophan an essential amino acid used for treating insomnia.
- Cherries: Are the only food that contains melatonin naturally. So help yourself with a bowl of cherries before you hit the bedtime.
- Chamomile Tea is a popular herbal tea used for many health benefits including the treatment of Insomnia. Its effect has been known for ages. Experts suggest two or three tea bags to get a full effect.
- Salomon contains Omega 3, fatty acids and DHA, so does Tuna, sardines, and Mackerel.
- Passion flower tea: It is gentle anti-anxiety and mildly sedating drink. Studies have shown its efficacy in improving the quality of sleep.
- 5-HTP: is an amino acid, it helps in the synthesis of melatonin. HTP supplements are found in drug stores and online. You can increase the intake of L-Tryptophan, found in chicken, turkey, milk, pumpkin seeds, and spinach. Your body converts Tryptophan into 5 HTP.
- Melatonin supplements are available online and in various drug stores. Taking them 30 minutes before bedtime improves your sleep quality.
- St. John’s wort: The yellow weed like a flower is used to treat depression symptoms like insomnia and anxiety for ages.
- Valerian. It is as effective as chamomile tea, that relieves anxiety and promotes relaxation. It is shown to hurry up dozing and improve the quality of sleep.
Showering at night
The heat from a warm, pre-bedtime shower sends the message to your nervous system that it is time to relax and slow down. It encourages you to feel relaxed and sleepy.
It is a deep relaxing yogic practice, which can induce you to sleep soundly. Yoga is extremely soothing on the system and easy to, learn. It is a great de-stressor and works at a much deeper level of consciousness. Conclusion: Insomnia is a very common malady. It is deeply disturbing in the short run and very damaging in the long run. It is basically a warning from the body that something is amiss. There are often deeper reasons for its occurrence. The mild form of it can be easily treated by the methods mentioned above, but in case they prove ineffective you need to take professional medical help.