Wednesday, 1 January 2014

How to Cope with Insomnia

Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep within a reasonable time (say, twenty minutes) of going to bed, or the failure to stay asleep for more than three hours at a time. This condition affects a lot of people. Individual amounts of sleep can vary greatly from person to person. Whilst sleeping, the brain is the part of the body taking a rest; some people become irritable without sufficient sleep. The rest of the body doesn’t require sleep in order to repair itself. The need for sleep diminishes as we age; and studies have shown that some people have developed the ability to repair their brain without any sleep at all.

Insomnia arises from many different causes, as follows:
1.     Medical problems such as diabetes, migraines, asthma, ulcers, thyroid problems, emphysema and bronchitis.
2.     Psychological problems such as stress, worrying, depression, inability to relax having a bearing on sleep patterns.
3.     Environmental problems such as noise, light, temperature, the polar position of the bed being slept on, lack of an adequate mattress or sufficient blankets, and lack of space due to overcrowding.
4.     Dietary causes such as low blood sugar levels, too much caffeine, an excess of salt or sugar, alcoholic drinks, spicy foods or an allergic reaction to food.
Conventional medicine has responded to the problem with medications, tranquilisers, psychotherapy and behaviour modifications. Medications in the form of sleeping pills can become so addictive that people using them have problems falling asleep naturally. Medications can also cause dizziness, swelling of eyelids, slow heartbeat, unusual excitement, sore throat and fever.
In order to prevent insomnia, it is best to give consideration to things you can control like diet. A well-balance diet will contribute to overall good health and allow for normal sleeping. Sleep inducing foods are dairy products, eggs, salmon, turkey, chicken and lamb which are high in tryptophan and tyrosine. Other sleep enhancing foods are sprouted grains, wholegrain bread, cabbage,  lettuce, organ meats, split peas, fish, red meat and fresh fruit like peaches and apples (except at night).
The body should be in an alkaline state when sleeping at night as an acid state prevails during the day. To make the body more alkaline, take one teaspoon of powdered or liquid greens in the form of green magna, wheat grass or barley grass in 225 grams (8 ounces) of water an hour before going to bed. If you prefer, you can drink a glass of vegetable juice.
Foods and drinks to avoid are coffee, tea, peanuts, alcoholic drinks, sugar-laden foods and drinks. Foods or drinks with a high sugar contents cause the blood sugar levels in the body to plummet leading to disturbed sleeping patterns. Avoid eating cured meats, spicy foods and baked beans, which can lead to burping, heartburn or flatulence and thereby disturb sleep patterns.
Herbs which can help to promote sleep, for the reasons stated, are as follows: valerian root acts as a tranquilizer; skullcap relaxes the mind; hops reduce restlessness and promote sleep; blue vervian is a natural tranquiliser; camomile is good for the nerves; lady slipper has a calming effect on the body and mind; and passion flower is soothing to the nervous system.
The following food supplements can promote sleep. Vitamin B complex capsules as directed on the label to insure there are no deficiencies in this regard. Other specific supplements that can aid sleep are as follows: vitamin C, 500mg. four times daily; vitamin B6, 100mg. three times daily; manganese citrate, 500mg.three times daily; potassium citrate, 100 mg. five times daily; calcium citrate, 500mg.twice daily; and chronoset, 2mg, before bedtime. 
Other measures which can help with sleep include:
1.     Try aligning the body position by moving the bed either to a north-south or east- west position, and then experiment with what constitutes the head and foot positions.
2.     Take a leisurely walk one hour before bedtime.
3.     Take a warm bath 1 or 2 hours before bedtime.
4.     Engage in meditation for 10 to 15 minutes immediately before going to bed.
5.     Listen to calming new age or relaxation music at bedtime.
6.     Make sure the room you are trying to sleep in is properly aired: leave the windows open for a few hours per day even in wintertime.
7.     Drink a cupful of warm milk immediately before going to bed.
8.     If you suffer from psychological or emotional problems, take lithium as directed on the label. Good food sources of lithium, in its natural state, are whole grains and seeds.
You now have enough information to tackle the problem of insomnia.If you have anything to say on this post, use the comments box below for that purpose.

5 comments:

  1. This is a very good post on insomnia. A friend of mine who has problems sleeping takes a drink at night time that helps him sleep. Are there proprietary products that aid sleep ?

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  2. Thanks for your comment. I do know of one: the Twinings Company in the UK, who are mainly known for their variety of teas, manufacture and sell a product called “Sleep”. It is in the form of a perforated “tea bag” to which you add hot water, and contains ingredients like hops and camomile which induces sleep.

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  3. Good information on insomnia, I am interested in this drink which helps to make the body more alkaline. Would this product be called barley green?

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  4. Thanks for your comment Nuala. Yes, barley greens are highly alkaline and should aid sleep if taken before bedtime as well as giving a whole lot of other health benefits.

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  5. In response to a point made verbally to me on the above post, physical work is good for sleep. If you are lucky enough to own a garden, growing flowers, tending vegetables or mowing the lawn are activities which are relaxing, get you into the fresh air and aid sleep.

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