Saturday, April 7, 2012

5 Suggestions for Insomnia

Sleepless nights are an incredibly common problem; probably everyone has had them.  There are a ton of different causes, but for chronic or perpetual insomnia there are probably three common causes.  They are stress, sleep apnea, and blood sugar regulation.  So, the five suggestions are these:

1. Exercise.  Exercise any time in the day, but never closer to bedtime than two hours.  Exercise is the single best stress-buster there is.  A sustained period of 20-30 minutes with an elevated heart rate makes for a better oxygenated brain.  Exercise releases "feel good" hormones, stimulates detoxification, and makes for more lean muscle - a key to longevity.

2.  Associate your bed with sleeping.  Get your brain on board the sleep train by creating the thought habit that seeing your bed means it's time to sleep.  Don't do all the other activities in bed you hear of other people doing like watching TV, eating, knitting, or reading.  When you crawl into bed, your brain should know it's time to turn out the lights.  Don't lay in bed tossing and turning for hours trying to sleep.  If you haven't fallen asleep in ten minutes, get up and do something else -- read, clean, organize, journal, etc. for 10-20 minutes then try lying down again.

3.  Get allergies handled.  Allergies make your nose stuffy and lead to snoring and sleep apnea.  When the sinuses don't drain, your head will stay full making it difficult to breath. Nighttime drainage can be improved by putting 2" blocks under the head of your bed, so your head is a bit elevated.  Lack of oxygen will cause you to wake up or not sleep as deeply.  Lack of oxygen also puts a shadow of fear in the back of your brain that you will die in your sleep and cause you to have a more difficult time going to sleep as well.

4.  Try consuming a small high protein snack at bedtime.  Protein acts as sustained release glucose and will stabilize blood sugar through the night.  Often blood sugar that drops too low will cause a person to wake up for no apparent reason.

5.  Use some of the herbal stress/mood or sleep remedies.  Beneficial ingredients in these products to look for include: valerian, skullcap, passion flower, GABA, theanine, and melatonin.

Naturewords for your health!

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