Is your night sleepless? Do you keep turning around and looking at the clock? Do you feel tired and lack of energy?
Insomnia is a relatively common sleeping disorder, affecting about one-third of the adult population worldwide. Insomnia is more common in women, but quality of sleep often decreases equally in both women and men as we age. Insomnia is the perception of inadequate or poor-quality sleep. It can be due to problems falling asleep, early wakening, and waking frequently during the night or a combination of these.
Short-term insomnia may also occur as a side effect of certain medications and due to stress. Chronic insomnia is more serious and may be caused or worsened by a variety of mental and physical problems.
In addition to serious health conditions, it can negatively affect your mood and temperament, as well as your ability to focus on daily tasks. Plus, lack of sleep influences what and how much you eat. Since hormones are regulated during sleep, when you are sleep deprived, your hunger hormones become out of whack, which increases feelings of hunger and decreases satiety.
How much sleep do you need to bolster your immune system?
The optimal amount of sleep for most adults is seven to eight hours of good sleep each night. Teenagers need nine to 10 hours of sleep. School-aged children may need 10 or more hours of sleep.
The preferred treatments for people with insomnia are lifestyle changes and behavioral approaches that establish healthy sleeping habits. Making sleep a priority can help you achieve your other wellness goals, such as stress management. When your body and mind are well-rested, you’ll be able to respond to life with greater perspective and understanding.
Try these tips for getting better sleep and creating the foundation for your overall wellness:
• The first step to behavior change is making a commitment toward what you want to accomplish and sticking to your plan. Establish a regular bedtime and stick to it as much as possible. That might mean putting your smartphone in another room so that you aren’t tempted to scroll through your social media feed right before bed or setting an alarm to remind you that it’s time to start getting ready for bed.
• Aim to get at least seven hours of sleep a night so that you have the energy to tackle everyday demands. Waking up refreshed will help you make smart decisions and stick to your diet and exercise plan. Sleep can help boost your motivation and willpower, making it easier to fend off temptations.
• When your body and mind are fatigued, you may misread hunger cues. The next time you find yourself wandering into the kitchen or mindlessly snacking at your computer; ask yourself if you may be tired rather than hungry. It’s common to mistake fatigue or emotions for hunger.
• Setting aside a little time before bed for relaxation can help you transition into sleep. Try deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, gentle stretching or guided imagery to help focus your attention away from worries and into the present. If your busy mind keeps you awake, jot down your thoughts in a journal or on a pad of paper by your bed.
• Yoga nidra or psychic sleep has shown promising results. Former sufferers who practice Yoga nidra at bed time report that they usually drop into sleep at some stage of practice. Yoga nidra has to be adopted in conjunction with a busy daily program which includes asana and other physical activities that which excludes daytime sleeping.
• Chanting is the practice of repeating over and over in the mind certain syllables, words or phrases that help unify consciousness and counteract negative mental states. It is especially helpful for people with restless minds, whose turbulent thoughts keep them from relaxing, concentrating and falling asleep. The repetition of a verbal formula is a way of focusing the thinking mind and counteracting the damage done to both mind and body by thoughts that produce anxiety agitation and unhappiness.
• 15-20 min of hot foot bath with Epsom salt before bed time helps reduce stress and anxiety, relieve muscle aches, pain, and cramping and improve sleep quality.
• The two best natural sleep aid with regards to herb and supplement are valerian and melatonin. Valerian is a sedative herb that has used for centuries to address insomnia. You can find standardized extracts in health food stores and pharmacies. Take one to two capsules a half hour before bedtime. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the wake/sleep cycle and other daily biorhythms. Try sublingual tablets (to be placed under the tongue and allowed to dissolve); take 2.5 mg at bedtime as an occasional dose, making sure that your bedroom is completely dark. A much lower dose, 0.25 to 0.3 mg, is more effective for regular use.
• Eating a light, high carb snack such as bread or crackers, this increases serotonin levels and reduce anxiety before bed time.
Try out them:
• Keep a sleep diary for a week, and take note of any patterns you discover.
• Make a conscious effort to cut back on disruptive foods and beverages at night, such as rich and heavy meals, alcohol, coffee, caffeinated tea, and chocolate.
• Create a relaxing (screen-free) bedtime routine, such as taking a bath or reading a book or listening to music.
Sudha Nair is an Naturopath Doctor and Yoga Practitioner. Sudha Nair holds a Bachelors degree in Naturopathy and Yogic Sciences (5 years) and a
Master degree in Rehabilitation. She speaks English and Hindi.
Yoga Nidra (Sleeping Yoga)
For more information on Yoga Nidra, please read more here.
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