Relief from insomnia

Millions suffer nightly from trouble with sleeping. If you need some help getting your zzz’s, take some tips for a good night’s rest!

Insomnia

More than one-third of all adults have had insomnia at some point in their lives. Lack of sleep can leave you feeling cranky and tired during the day and it affects your concentration, memory — even your ability to perform your job. If you’re one of the millions who suffer from insomnia, you want relief.

Cause and effect

There are different types of insomnia and a number of causes. Almost everyone experiences transient insomnia at some point. It’s short-term; you may have trouble sleeping for one night to a couple of weeks, but after a while, the problem resolves itself. Intermittent insomnia follows the same pattern, but it recurs occasionally. Chronic insomnia is the worst. It happens nightly for over a month.

Insomnia is hard to cure because there are so many causes. Some of them are stress, caffeine, depression, anxiety, jet lag, illness and side effects from prescription medicine. For chronic insomniacs, causes could also include relationship or money issues, loss of a loved one, job loss, or excessive use of alcohol. Smoking and constant stress only add to the problem. Obviously, some of these causes are more simple to deal with and resolve than others.

Getting help

People with chronic insomnia need a proper medical diagnosis to determine the underlying cause. Like others who suffer from any type of insomnia, the chronic victims can help themselves with better habits: cutting off caffeine earlier in the day and eating healthier; establishing an exercise routine and relaxation techniques to control stress; and making the behaviour and lifestyle changes necessary to control the problem.

Techniques that work

Establish a regular sleep routine; go to bed at the same time every night. Make sure that your sleeping space is quiet and at a moderate temperature that’s neither too warm nor too cool. Don’t eat or drink for several hours before bed, and especially avoid caffeine, including that in tea and soft drinks. Don’t overstimulate yourself with activities and exercise right before bed. In the hour before you retire, try to wind down with calm and quietness. This is a good time to read or relax with music, which will make sleep a natural progression. Let your mind relax before you hit the pillow. A cup of herb tea or glass of warm milk really does help, and so might a warm bath.

There are foods that naturally work with the body’s chemistry to promote sleep. Adjust your diet to incorporate more of them, including lemons, milk and whole-grain breads. Since we each have a different body chemistry, pay attention to what you’ve eaten on nights when insomnia occurs. You may be able to detect a pattern and eliminate foods that are contributing to your sleepless nights. Once you see the pattern, you’ll be able to plan meals and snacks, knowing which foods to avoid and which to include to promote a restful night of sleep.

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