- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Insomnia? Get Sleep!
Struggling \with not being able to sleep, or stay asleep? Then, you may be suffering from insomnia. It is not a disease but a symptom.
Many things can cause sleeplessness. Stress, worry, menopause, caffeine, inactivity, sleeping during the day, schedule changes, noise (snorer in the room, infant waking you up), pain, illness. Whatever the cause, you need a cure!
How much sleep does the average person require? According to the National Sleep Foundation, there is no pat answer. Each individual has unique sleep needs. Teens need at least nine hours of sleep. Younger children need between 10 and 13 hours of sleep. When it comes to adults, it shortens a bit. Seven to nine hours is about right.
Healthy Solutions for Sleep Deprivation
Things you can change:
Diet: Caffeine is a stimulant and can keep you awake. First, try cutting out caffeine after 4:00 pm. If that does not work, you may need to eliminate it all together, at least for a time. Caffeine is found in large quantities in coffee, tea, cola, some non-cola soft drinks and even migraine headache medications.
Food: Try adding some foods that are known to relax. Ever experienced sleepiness after a big Thanksgiving dinner? Turkey contains tryptophan, (also known as L-tryptophan) an amino acid that can promote sleep. Dairy products also have L-tryptophan. That's why your mom may have told you to drink warm milk before going to bed.
Some foods to help you to get to sleep:
- Cherries - contains natural melatonin, the natural chemical that regulates sleep. Eat some cherries or drink some cherry juice about 1 hour before bedtime.
- Bananas - contains potassium, magnesium and L-tryptophan. All sleep inducing. Note, potassium is a natural diuretic, though. You may have to get up to use the bathroom during the night.
- Milk - contains L-tryptophan.
- Turkey - contains L-tryptophan.
- Oatmeal - carbs raise the blood sugar for a while (giving energy) and then cause a rebound of fatigue. Time it right, and the sleepiness should arrive just when you're going to bed.
Environment: the atmosphere in which you are trying to sleep can make a big difference.
- Keep your bedroom cool. No higher than 65°.
- Keep the air humid. If you have dry air in your house, invest in a room humidifier.
- Bed. Get a comfortable bed, pillowing and bedding.
- Noise. If sound wakes you, control the situation as best you can. Some people sleep better with the TV or radio playing softly but others would never sleep with that going on.
- Light: A dark room is physiologically preferable. Melatonin, which our bodies produce naturally, increases in the dark. Melatonin is what puts us to sleep. Some people cannot sleep in total darkness or silence. If that is you, just make sure that the light from the TV or nightlight is dim and the sound is kept low. Reduce distractions.
- Exercise: if you do not have a particularly active lifestyle, that may be contributing to your struggle getting a good night's sleep. Try adding a brisk walk in the fresh air during the morning or afternoon. On the contrary, exercising in the evening could work against you. It may just wake you up all the more. Avoid over-stimulation too close to bedtime.
- Relax: get your mind of the struggles of the day and think happy thoughts. That may sound silly but it's important to get your mind on something new. Read something encouraging, inspiring, or even boring if that works for you. Don't do a lot of housework before retiring. Sit and pet the dog, watch a good tv show and just relax. Tomorrow will take care of itself!
- Eat: it's one thing to avoid stimulating foods but going to bed hungry can keep you awake. If you are feeling a little gnaw in the pit of your stomach, have that glass of milk or a light snack to satisfy hunger.
"White noise" can help. White noise is a low frequency "hissing" sound that can be soothing when played quietly in the background. The sound of the waves on a seashore, wind gently blowing through the trees or a gentle rain can sooth, so does white noise. White noise can be generated by a white noise machine, on a CD or even from websites on the internet (for free).
The benefits of "white noise" can include:
- Sleep Aid
- Stress relief
- Sooths headaches (even migraines)
- Calms children and/or pets
- Masks out distracting background noise
Free website with adjustable volume for white noise: SimplyNoise
Some products that are natural sleep aids:
Melatonin is a hormone created naturally by our bodies to induce sleep. It is regulated by light and, therefore, increases as evening wears on and reduces when the morning sun begins to shine.
Melatonin supplements can be purchased over-the-counter in vitamin stores and pharmacies.
NOTE: read the label for directions. Children and pregnant women should not take melatonin supplements.
Vitamin B 6 is a vitamin that aids in Melatonin production and, therefore, help you to sleep.
Dong Quai is a Chinese herb that has been recognized to help women with menstrual pain and menopausal stresses. Additionally, this herb has a relaxing, stress-reducing effect. It is also a natural anti-inflammatory.
Magnesium is a natural tranquilizer that can relax you to sleep.
NOTE: If all of your attempts to overcome sleeplessness are not effective, it is time to check with a medical expert. Though you can try over-the-counter sleep medication, it is always wise to consult your doctor beforehand.
this product is especially designed for those who get to sleep but awake after only a few hours and are unable to get back to sleep. The natural ingredients in this product have been designed to combat that problem. Midnight Natural Sleep Aid:
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Disclaimer: this article is informational and is not intended to be medical advice. Medical guidance should only be given by a licensed physician. Speak with your doctor about your medical needs.
Photo Credit: Sleeping Infant by Dynamite Imagery on Freedigitalphotos.net