What is Insomnia? How to Diagnose?
The gentle night wraps a blanket of unconsciousness over us, and the daylight light brings in new possibilities. But for some - the war inside their heads pulls them away from getting a shut-eye. Sleepless nights become a normal part of their routine. Restful sleep is essential for the proper functioning of cognitive function, hormonal health, cell renewal, immunity and overall energy. Not getting enough sleep is literally a nightmare. Most adults need at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Insomnia is a sleeping disorder, in which individuals have trouble falling/ staying asleep. Some experience short-term insomnia induced by stress, a dip in their sugar levels or having too many snacks before bed. Short-term insomnia can be addressed with a simple change in diet and lifestyle but for those with a chronic lack of sleep, we recommend consulting a physician.
Symptoms of Insomnia
- Sleepiness during the day
- Inability to fall asleep
- Mood swings
- Lower cognitive function
There are two types of insomnia: primary and secondary. Primary insomnia is caused due to stress, noise, temperature and light variation in your room, jet lag or poor sleep time routine and habits. Secondary Insomnia is caused due to underlying disorders related to mental health issues, high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism, allergies, asthma, overuse of caffeine or alcohol, sleep disorders like apnea and restless leg syndrome.
For those tossing and turning around in your bed, is there something you can do, other than counting sheep? Natural remedies are best for those who fall into the lack of sleep category. Let’s look at some home remedies for good sleep.
Insomnia Treatment at Home: Tips to Follow
In case you missed the memo, chronic lack of sleep can impair your cognitive function, manipulate your hormones, affect your mental health and other serious consequences. Sleep tablets or relying on other prescription pills is the same as trying out fad diets. Dealing with proper revamp in your diet and routines gives long-term results. Home remedies begin with a careful evaluation of your lifestyle routines and bedtime routines with natural remedies. Find the remedy that works best for you and stick with it. Simple Home Remedies For Deep Sleep Include:
Changing Food Habits
There’s no doubt that food has a direct impact on energy levels, be it a shot of black coffee, or a cup of soothing tea just before you sleep. We’ve all witnessed that food and alertness go hand in hand. Although there isn’t enough research that gives a guaranteed solution for insomnia certain changes in your diet could help with the sleepless nights. Let’s discover some natural remedies so you can treat your insomnia at home.
There’s no argument that the taste of coffee right in the morning for boosting energy and alertness is heavenly. But overuse of it can worsen the already existing symptoms or lead to anxiety, sleeplessness, frequent awakening and overall poor sleep pattern. Steer clear of any kind of tea, drinks and other carbonated beverages with the essence of caffeine in it. Limit your caffeine intake, especially in the afternoon and evening. The stimulant effects of it, in later hours of the day, can keep you up at night.
There is an alarming amount of evidence that suggests how high sugar intake can wreck your sleep cycle. Every single diet and nutrition tip is sure to include reducing sugar and rightfully so - cutting back on your sugar intake might be a huge boost in your sleep. Decline all the calls from your cookies, ice cream and chocolates, especially the late hour ones. A study conducted by JSCM showed that people who consumed more sugar experienced restless sleep accompanied by disrupted awakening and nightmares. This doesn’t mean you have to live your life without sweet treats, there are sugar alternatives for your cravings.
Magnesium helps to support almost 300 processes in the body. From immunity to nerve function, it holds a lot of potential for improving your holistic health. Along with an umpteen number of advantages, it is also a good addition to your diet for addressing your insomnia. Many researchers have made it abundantly clear that lack of magnesium negatively affects sleep cycles. Take control over your sleep cycle snacking on nuts, seeds, yoghurt, soy milk and cocoa.
Yes! Chamomile tea does make you sleep. A relaxing bedtime ritual is an important aspect of following a good sleep routine. Let the mellow dust of the petals drift you into wonderland. Having warm and soothing chamomile tea just before bedtime can induce the feeling of sleepiness and aid in falling asleep faster. The chemical compound called apigenin present in chamomile tea is the reason for its tranquilising effect. This chemical binds itself to the GABA receptors in the brain and sways you into a seductive trance.
Lavender tea can be your natural sleep therapist, it is well known for the calming effects it has on the mind. You can bypass potential life-threatening drugs by relying on natural remedies like lavender tea. It is frequently used as a sleeping aid for its automatic properties and digestion inducing qualities. It is thought of as a gentle yet strong balm for your sleepless nights.
Put your agitated mind to rest with the practice of mindfulness. These are natural ways with which you can sync your mind and body, and get into a relaxed state of mind. When we are anxious, stressed or depressed, our minds are in a state of hyper-arousal and this makes it harder to fall asleep. Invoking a conducive mental environment through mindfulness practices helps to reduce psychological distress and emotional turmoil. Mindfulness supplies patients with tool kits to pacify the nervous system and get it prepared for sleep.
Grab a pillow and get into slumber positions for restful sleep. Yoga is a very mellow but restorative way to let go of the day and bring your mind to a state of rest. There are many poses that will help you wind down and allow your mind to slow down. A helpful first step for getting your circadian cycle in order is to stop scrolling through Instagram and roll a mat instead. Try out restorative sequences of asanas that include Balasana, Ardha bekasana, Supta baddha konasana, Pavanmuktasana and Shavasana to lull you into sleep.
For all you sedentary folks, rest better with light bedtime exercise. Exercises just intense enough to tire you out but gentle enough - not activate your stress response. Time and time again research have shown that fitness freaks tend to fall asleep faster than couch potatoes. Individuals who get a minimum of 60 minutes of exercise, for 5 days a week, snooze into better REM sleep compared to those who don't. Exercising is one of the easiest and basic ways to activate your body’s natural relaxation response.
From the time of the stone age, the sun has regulated the circadian rhythm in homo sapiens. In other words, daylight regulates your body’s natural clock. The feeling of being tired and being awake is in rhythm with the sunsets and sunrises. Schedule your sleep patterns by signalling your body through light exposure. Invest in a sleep mask or thicker curtains, if you need to, and dim out the lights in your room. Flood your room with lights as soon as you get up to bring your body in a state of awareness.
Although these tools can be incredibly helpful, a more holistic approach with proper dietary changes, lifestyle revamp and proper sleep hygiene is more effective. You can also track your sleep patterns with fit bit watches or go old-school and keep a sleep journal.