Insomnia: natural remedies

Insomnia Natural Remedies

Insomnia: what it is

Not sleeping as much as we would is unfortunately quite a common problem. Insomnia means having trouble falling asleep (initial insomnia), maintaining sleep during the night due for example to too many awakenings (middle insomnia) or early morning awakenings (terminal insomnia). Vey often insomnia is only a consequence of stressful lifetime periods, but as its consequences can have a strong impact in our daily life, it’s important not to underestimate it.

Insomnia’s consequences

Being insomniac is definitely not a great condition also because of the possible consequences that not sleeping could bring.

As a matter of fact, insomnia short-term consequences include intense sleepiness, sensation of physical unease, irritability, problems in concentrating and memorising information, worsening work performances, little daily accidents, and in general a reduced quality of life. Moreover, long-term consequences are more alarming. Chronic reduced sleep can lead to heart  and pressure problems, diabetes, obesity and depression.

Insomnia treatment

If you suffer from insomnia, the first thing to do is understanding the causes.

In the case of severe insomnia, some GP may prescribe sleeping pills but many patients usually prefer natural remedies.

For natural remedies we refer to talking therapies: counselling with a sleep specialist and psychotherapy.

Indeed, a psychological consultation may help you discover those behaviours that may be counterproductive and understand if there are specific stressors that are interfering with your sleep.

As very often the quality of our sleep is influenced by automatic bad habits, here there are some little tips that could help you to get your sleep quality better, the so-called sleepy hygiene.

Don’t forget that these hints do not substitute a professional help, such as a neurologic and psychological consultation.

  1. The bedroom and the bed should be used only to sleep and sexual activity. It is preferable not to watch tv, read or work when you are in the bed.
  2. Your bedroom should be sufficiently dark and silent, and the temperature of the room should not exceed 18 degrees.
  3. During evening hours you should not introduce in your body stimulant substances as caffeine, nicotine or alcohol (so no coffee, tea, cigarettes or pre-sleep drinks).
  4. Too heavy dinners should be avoided.
  5. Afternoon naps should be avoided too because they steal sleep from night hours.
  6. Do not practice intense sports in the hours before going to sleep, as sport releases adrenaline hormone that doesn’t help falling asleep.
  7. During the hours before going to bed, try to avoid mentally engaging activities.
  8. Pursue regular sleep rhythms: ideally you should go to bed and wake up always at the same time.
  9. Try not to spend too much time in bed without sleeping: if you realise that you have troubles falling asleep, is way better to move to another room or the couch and to go back again to bed only when your are feeling really sleepy.

Related articles: “The night’s worst enemy: insomnia”, by I. Tedeschi