10 Proven Tips to Sleep Better at Night
Medikoe Wellness Expert
80 feet road indira nagar, Bengaluru Jan 4, 2022
What keeps you up at night?
Is it the unfinished homework?
Random thoughts? Your fear of losing someone?
An upcoming exam or excitement for your dog's birthday?
For many of us, this is temporary stress, as the root cause is resolvable.
But, What if the reason for your sleeplessness was the stress about losing sleep?
This pattern of constant sleeplessness in a loop is at the heart of insomnia, the world's most common sleeping disorder.
Sleep is an essential function that allows your body and mind to recharge, leaving you refreshed and alert when you wake up. Healthy sleep means a healthy body. Without enough sleep, the brain cannot function properly.
Insomnia is not a disease, it is categorised as a disorder in which one has trouble falling asleep or staying in the slumber at a stretch. It can be acute, lasting for a day or two, or chronic, lasting for three nights and three months.
What are the common symptoms of insomnia?
- Not feeling well-rested after the night's sleep
- Difficulty falling asleep at night
- Poor concentration levels
- Worrying about sleeping
- Waking up during the night
- Waking up too early
- An irritated or grumpy mood
Who are Insomniacs?
A person who experiences chronic insomnia or sleeplessness is known as an insomniac.
Almost anything can cause the occasional restless night—the sound of the wind blowing, a snoring partner or emotional distress. But, in most cases, sleep deprivation is short term. Eventually, exhaustion takes over the body. When bedtime is around the corner, insomniacs get highly stressed. Insomniacs get so stressed that their brains hijack the stress response system, flooding the body with fight-flight or freeze chemicals.
Cortisol or adrenocorticotropic hormones course through the bloodstream, increasing heart rate and blood pressure and jolting the body into hyperarousal. The brain is hunting for potential threats in this condition, making it impossible to ignore any slight discomfort or nighttime noise.
What are the reasons for insomnia?
Physical or psychological factors can cause insomnia. A recent event or occurrence may cause transient insomnia. There is sometimes an underlying medical condition that can also cause chronic insomnia. Our brain's primary energy source is cerebral glucose, and in healthy sleep, our metabolism slows to conserve this glucose for waking hours. But PET (Positron Emission Tomography) studies show how the adrenaline that prevents sleep also speeds up metabolisms of people who cannot sleep. While insomniacs sleep, their bodies are working overtime, burning through the brain's supply of energy-giving glucose. This symptom of poor sleep leaves insomniacs waking in a state of exhaustion, confusion and stress, which starts the process all over again.
- Disruption in circadian rhythm:
- Jet lag
- Job shift
- Overusing gadgets
- High altitudes
- Environmental noise
- Extreme heat or cold
2. Psychological issues:
- Bipolar disorder
- Depression or anxiety disorders
- Psychotic disorders
3. Medical conditions
- Genetic factors
- Chronic pain
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Congestive heart failure
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Manage the stress that leads to hyperarousal. It is considered one of the best-understood treatments for insomnia. Regular sleep practices can help rebuild your relationship with bedtime.
Ensure your bedroom is dark and comfortably cool to minimise "threats" during hyperarousal.
If you feel uneasy, leave the room and tire yourself out with relaxing activities like meditating, journaling and reading.
Aligning with your biological clock can regulate your metabolism. Hence, set consistent resting and waking times.
Your circadian rhythm is quite sensitive to light, so avoid lights at night to help your body understand that it's time for sleep.
Following are 10 proven tips to sleep better at night:
Put an end to the use of alcohol, nicotine and caffeine
Caffeine can affect the body for up to 24 hours, and the chance of it affecting sleep are significant. Alcohol may act as a sedative for the first few hours following consumption, but it can lead to frequent arousals and a non-restful sleep.
Limit your nap time
While napping can feel very comforting and a way of catching up on sleep, it is not so. Napping can affect your nighttime sleep. Establish and maintain a regular sleep pattern and train yourself to associate sleep with cues like darkness and a consistent bedtime.
Set a regular pattern of sleep
It is pretty tempting to sleep late during the weekends, especially if you have had a poor sleep during the week. However, if you have insomnia, you should try to wake up at the same time every day to train your body to wake up at a consistent time.
Regular exercise can improve the quality and duration of sleep. Although, exercising just before bedtime can have an adverse effect on the body and should be avoided. Try and wind up exercising at least three hours before bedtime.
Do not eat or drink right before bedtime
Eating dinner late at night or snacking right before going to bed can activate the digestive system and keep you up. If you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux or heartburn, it is even more important to avoid eating and drinking right before bed since it can worsen your insomnia. Avoid drinking a lot of fluids before bed as they can overwhelm the bladder, requiring frequent visits to take a leak, disturbing your sleep.
Consume magnesium-rich foods
There's almost nothing that cannot be cured at home before it can get chronic. Include green leafy vegetables, soy products and whole grains in your dinner. These magnesium-rich foods are combined with an additional sleep aid and amino acid, glycine. Magnesium glycinate is one of the most common magnesium supplements used for achieving better sleep.
Reducing sugar intake
Sugar causes uneven blood sugar levels once consumed. This can disturb your sleep in the middle of the night when your body's blood sugar levels fall.
Ayurvedic intervention for Insomnia
One Ayurvedic treatment is the application of oil on the head and feet. For the pitta body type, room temperature coconut oil is used. For the vata body type, warm sesame oil is preferably applied, and for the Kapha type, warm mustard oil is often applied.
The mind and body connection is magical. You can feel like you are experiencing something just by imagining it. One can fall asleep quickly yet calmly by visualising yourself in a calm, stress-free environment like a waterfall or beach.
Homoeopathic intervention for insomnia
Coffea cruda- A dose of coffee in the morning undoubtedly wakes most people up. The Homoeopathic use of this remedy is just the opposite. It can calm, slow down over-flowing thoughts and help promote a restful night's sleep. This remedy is helpful for insomnia stemming from anxiety, excited imagination, the flow of ideas, and too many thoughts rushing around your head.
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