15 March, 2019

Insomnia: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Sleep is a very important part of our lives that allows our bodies to rest and regenerate to face another day. Unfortunately, insomnia, or the lack of ability to sleep on a regular basis, affects millions of people the world over and it can be very frustrating, to say the least.
On a more severe level, it can affect every aspect of your life. The recommended amount of sleep is 8 hours, however, with today’s fast-paced lifestyles, most people do not get anywhere near that. Some of the effects of this are a lack of concentration and memory loss

Insomnia: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments 


What Causes Insomnia?  OR   Lack of Sleep?

According to sleepfoundation.org, Some medical conditions lead to Insomnia. Sometimes medical discomforts make it difficult for a person to sleep.

Few examples of medical conditions which cause insomnia are  -
  • Arthritis pain
  • Asthma
  • Chronic pain
  • Low back pain
  • Nasal / Sinus allergies
  • Depression
  • Common cold
  • Endocrine problems like hyperthyroidism
  • Neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease
  • Anxiety
  • Relationship Trouble

For insomniacs this is worse as some of them have trouble falling asleep, some wake up too early feeling like they have not had enough sleep and others have problems staying asleep while others suffer from all issues. If this is you, read on for some relief.

Insomnia: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments, Lack of sleep

Foods to Avoid for Insomnia patients

Caffeine: Caffeine is a stimulant, mainly people drink Caffeinated drinks for rejuvenation and to feel productive by making you more concentrated. Moderate amount of Caffeine is good, but excessive caffeine may cause insomnia. So it is advised to avoid Caffeinated drinks two hours before going to bed.
Alcohol: Alcohol acts a sedative. Initially alcohol makes us fall asleep, but later on, alcohol disrupts our sleep.
Heavy Meals: Heavy meals in the dinner which is close to bedtime disrupts your sleep. It is advised to eat meals at least three hours before going to bed.

Thankfully there are multiple natural remedies for insomnia that you can try until you find what works for you.
Some of the causes of insomnia include mental tension brought on by anxiety, overworking yourself, worrying, and over-stimulation prior to going to bed. Others include eating too much before bedtime, drinking too much coffee or tea, going to bed still hungry, worrying about being able to sleep and much more.
Here are some natural remedies for insomnia that may be effective for you;
1. Regular Sleep Schedule – one of the simplest ways to treat insomnia naturally is to set and stick to a regular sleep schedule where you go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time each day.
2. Music Therapy – listen to some of your favourite music that helps you to relax. Some, who awake with every noise, like to use headphones to do this.
3. Valerian – studies have shown Valerian to be very effective in treating insomnia naturally. In many European countries, it is an accepted over-the-counter remedy for insomnia. It doesn’t work for everyone (nothing usually does) and usually takes a few weeks to be effective as a natural insomnia remedy.
Valerian is taken between an hour and an hour and a half before bedtime. Note of caution, however, Valerian conflicts with many medications including antihistamines and sedatives. Valerian should also not be used with other prescription sleep medications or by those with liver disease. Be sure to consult with your local Naturopath regarding the use of this herb.
4. Melatonin – Melatonin is a hormone that naturally occurs in our bodies that helps us fall asleep so it is common sense that if you’re having trouble falling asleep some additional melatonin might help cure your insomnia naturally.
5. Meditation – many find 20-30 minutes of meditation before bedtime helps them to relax and fall asleep faster and easier.
6. Visualization – visualization involves imaging a scene that would relax you. The key is to involve as many of your senses as you can. For example, if, like me, you love the ocean, imagine the sound of the waves coming on shore, feel the ocean breeze, imagine the smell of the sea. Get the idea?
7. Diet – There are foods to avoid if you are having trouble sleeping and some of these are caffeine and sugary foods. Some that you should include in your diet are those rich in magnesium which is a natural sedative. Examples of magnesium-rich foods are dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, almonds, cashews and blackstrap molasses.
8. Aromatherapy – Lavender seems to have sedative qualities. You could put a lavender sachet under your pillow, inhale the essential oil or put a few drops in your bath.
9. Exercise – exercise helps tremendously with people suffering from insomnia. Exercise causes the release of endorphins which help boost our mood and helps us to relax which aids in getting us to fall asleep.

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