Can’t sleep? Having trouble dropping off or staying asleep? Waking up feeling unrefreshed or waking up early and unable to drop back off? According to the National Sleep Foundation, one in three people suffer from insomnia, so, if you’re suffering from one or more of these problems, you are not alone.
What is Insomnia?
Insomnia is not a medical condition; it is usually a symptom of another problem. Common causes of insomnia include:
- Stress and anxiety
- Physical discomfort
- Environmental noise, light or unsuitable room temperature
- Traveling across time zones
- Working shifts
- Digestive problems such as indigestion or acid reflux
Insomnia, as sufferers know all too well, can seriously affect your quality of life. Lack of sleep may jeopardize your safety or affect your levels of concentration. It can also be a contributing factor to more serious health issues such as heart disease or depression.
According to poll data, 48% of Americans report occasional insomnia while 22% experience it almost every night. Studies show that women are more likely to suffer from insomnia than men, and older people suffer from it more than the younger generation. In 1997, a survey by the National Sleep Foundation calculated that lost productivity alone from insomnia topped $18 billion!
It’s important to treat insomnia before it becomes a set pattern. Instead of opting for medication, try some natural ways to aid sleep such as:
Exercise can be a good aid to sleep and should be done about six hours before bedtime. As well as tiring your body, exercise clears the mind and triggers a release of mood-enhancing hormones and chemicals including estrogen, dopamine and endorphins to make you feel happy and relaxed.
Yoga can help break the cycle of stress and sleep deprivation. Practicing yoga calms the mind, relieves physical tension and helps induce sleep naturally. Some of the best poses to help you sleep better include the Easy Forward Bend position, Child’s Pose (Balasana), Legs Up the Wall or the Seated Spinal Twist.
Change of Diet
Establish a bedtime routine, perhaps a warm shower or bath before putting on your PJs, or sipping a milky drink and reading before turning out the light. If necessary, write down the things that are worrying you and rid them from your mind before sleep.
There are many relaxation techniques available to listen to on CD. Dr. Andrew Weil’s breathing exercises are designed to help you fall asleep and can be a useful aid to relaxation as well as countering insomnia.
It’s worth trying all these tricks to battle insomnia and find whatever helps give you a good night’s sleep, better health and an improved quality of life.