Not being able to sleep at night drives you mad, makes you very tired, snappy and fed up. Sleep is crucial to us as it is the time when the body repairs and gathers energy.
Insomnia can be caused by several things. There are two main types: the type when you can’t get off and the type when you get off but wake early or several times during the night.
1. First, do the obvious, like stop drinking coffee, eating sugary or white foods after about 3pm.
2. It is important to eat healthily, avoiding stimulant foods and drinks such as tea, coffee, sugar, fizzy drinks, white bread etc and eat lots of wholegrains, oily fish and vegetables.
3. Build yourself a ritual that relaxes you before bed; some people have a relaxing bath, a chamomile tea and read a bit of a soothing book.
4. Watching a stimulating drama on TV or reading a horror novel before bed won’t help!
5. If you are waking most nights between 3am and 5am, it is normally a blood sugar problem. Eat something as you go to bed, preferably NOT something white, sweet or stimulating: a protein and carb snack like a banana and oatcake or a few nuts and a banana would work well.
6. Notice I kept mentioning bananas there? They are full of tryptophan so are very calming and are therefore a good choice.
7. If the problem is not getting off, a hypnotherapy tape can often help, supplemented with a couple of sessions of hypnotherapy to retrain your mind to shut up!
9. If pain or problems such as depression, hot flushes or restless legs are stopping you sleeping, get some advice. Contact your health professional, GP or email me and I will point you in the right direction.
10. Often, the problem is related to your magnesium and calcium balance and taking extra magnesium along with 5HTP and B6 can help.
A useful product to look at here is Biocare’s Chill Food. Add extra B6 as a B Complex or you may already be taking some within your main multivitamin product. Note that for some people, the B6 P5P form is better metabolised.
Boost magnesium levels too with something like Nutrigold Magnesium Citrate. Around 200-300mg with your evening dinner may help aid sleep.
The Chill Food also contains L Theanine, an amino acid which has been shown to improve sleep in studies.
In fact, you can read much more here in a blog post I wrote about neurotransmitters and how they are involved in sleep problems: Drug Alternative for Anxiety and Insomnia.
Also, I reviewed this product ZenBev here, which might also help if it's this issue.
11. Could it be histamine? If you are a very light sleeper, waking every few hours and have anxiety dreams/nightmares a lot, this coould be worth considering. Some people don't break down histamine very well and need to either replace their DAO enzyme levels and/or follow a low histamine diet. I came across this with patients who just couldn't crack it. Below is a video from Nele in Belgium actually who explains how it works in her case. If you wish to, you can check your histamine levels here.
Check if any medication you are taking may be causing the problem - look at the side effects list and talk to your GP.
Hate to tell you but alcohol won’t help! It does make you sleepy but it is actually a stimulant so you will probably get off but have poor quality sleep or keep waking. Don’t shoot the messenger.
Hope those tips really help. Here's to a snoring good night's sleep!
Remember - always check out with your health practitioner or GP before starting anything new especially if you are taking any other medicines, are pregnant or trying to conceive or have high blood pressure. See here for more advice on interactions with meds and general cautions.
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The information given is not meant to be a substitute for seeing a health professional. It is our opinion only, based on several years of natural medicine practice and research. We're sure you'll find it useful, but please use it wisely and always exercise common sense.