Sleepy, Dozy and Exhausted!
So these are not all in the 7 dwarfs, but may ring true for thousands of people worldwide who suffer with insomnia or sleeplessness.
Tired, tired, tired…….
Sleep deprivation is a form of torture, as anyone with insomnia will tell you. Sometimes there are obvious causes, like a new-born baby, but often it can be difficult to find the root cause. There are a multitude of reasons our minds and bodies need good quality sleep. During sleep, our bodies heal and rest. Our minds need rest to process all the day’s events. Long term insomnia has been linked to CHD, diabetes, several inflammatory conditions and a poor immune function.
So what can we all do to help get a good night’s sleep?
Here are my top 10 tips and why they are so effective:
- Practice sleep ‘hygiene’. This means looking at your physical sleeping environment. The bedroom should be fairly cool, but with enough bedding to keep you warm. Light should be blocked by heavy curtains or an eye-mask. Ear plugs can help with sound.
- Warm bath and warm milk before bed. These are both linked to our sleep routines as babies. Warm breastmilk was both nutritious and comforting. A warm bath relaxes our muscles and minds. Moving to a cooler bedroom (see above) mimics the diurnal change as the sun goes down. This tricks the body into producing melatonin, the ‘sleep’ hormone.
- Cotton loose pyjamas. Some people sleep naked, others with full length pyjamas on. One thing is clear – you need to be comfortable to sleep! Cotton is a breathable material so is often best for sleeping in.
- Avoid stimulants before bed. Caffeine is a known stimulant, often used to wake us up in the morning! So not the best idea to consume this before bedtime. Caffeine is in cola and chocolate, as well as tea and coffee.
- Avoid ‘blue’ light before bed. Checking our phones or tablets, working late into the night on our computers is a very common habit nowadays. This is not good just before we sleep. It can trick our brains into thinking it is daytime. Similarly, bright light exposure before bed.
- Use a weighted blanket. This can simulate being ‘swaddled’ or wrapped up tightly as a baby, both in the womb and cot. This can help us to drop to sleep quicker.
- Keep a notepad near your bed. If you are having lots of thought running around your head as you try to drop off, write them all down in the notepad. This works like a ‘screen-dump’ to get them out of your brain, and help you relax.
- Meditation and breathing exercises. These help people to wind down and relax after a long day. They can help to ‘switch off’ and drop off to sleep quicker and easier. Find one that works for you – there are lots to choose from!
- Check the side-effects of your medication. Some medication has ‘alerting’ effects whilst others actually list insomnia as a side-effect.
- Magnesium and Melatonin. Magnesium helps us to relax (see my September 2019 blog). Melatonin is the ‘sleep’ hormone. Oats, bananas and dairy products all contain it.
If you are waking at a certain time every night, have re-occurring dreams or fear is preventing you sleeping, then contact me for specific homeopathic remedies to help with this!