Insomnia

Girl lying under a tree sleeping, the opposite of insomnia.

INSOMNIA – SLEEPLESSNESS

SYMPTOMS

Inability to get to sleep, night after night.

INSOMNIA AND SLEEPING PILLS

If it only happens occasionally, it is sleeplessness.  If it happens for weeks or months, it is insomnia.  To one degree or another, a 100 million Americans have insomnia and consume 600 tons of sleeping pills each year, a bit scary.  Women are 7 times more likely to suffer from this ailment than men.  Sleeping tablets are second only to aspirin sales in the USA.

Side effects from sleeping pills include;

 
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • skin rashes
  • irritability
  • loss of appetite
  • poor coordination
  • digestive disturbances
  • difficulty with vision
  • confusion dizziness
  • high blood pressure
  • circulatory and respiration disorders
  • breakdown of white blood cells
  • damage to the central nervous system
  • memory problems
  • liver and kidney damage
  • picture of melatonin in a bottle

    Link to Melatonin in Store


    The experts tell us that if you go to bed on time, have a current of fresh air in the room, and lie there quietly – you will get enough rest even though you do not seem to fall asleep as quickly as you might wish.  Many people who report not getting to sleep at night actually slept quite a bit without realizing it.

    Many people have a hard time getting to sleep at night because of restless leg syndrome.  These people are awakened by legs which twitch or kick.  Overeating, eating too close to bedtime, and eating bad food can produce sleeplessness or insomnia.  Systemic disorders in the heart, liver, kidneys, pancreas, lungs, digestive organs, endocrines and brain can all affect sleep.

    Two cups of tea with herbs that help for insomnia.

    NATURAL REMEDIES FOR INSOMNIA

    Diet

    • Eat nutritious food, and let breakfast and lunch be your main meals.  Only eat lightly in the evening several hours before bedtime.
    • Foods with the amino ac0mid, tryptophan, promote sleep.  These include figs, dates and whole grain crackers.
    • Take calcium 2000mg, and magnesium 250mg.  A lack of them can cause you to wake up after a few hours and be unable to return to sleep.
    • Avoid complicated and indigestible foods (this includes meat) especially before bedtime.
    • Do not eat eggplant, potatoes, sugar, spinach or tomatoes for the evening meal.  They contain tyramine, which increases the release of nor-epinephrine, a brain stimulant.
    • Other food which keep people awake include fatty foods, sugar, white flour, salt, monosodium glutamate (MSG), chemical preservatives, additives and allergenic foods.
    • Stop eating cheese, bacon, chocolate, ham sausage and wine.
    • Alcohol, barbiturates and hypnotics do not solve the sleep problem; in fact, it makes things worse in the long term.  Alcohol disrupts sleep later in the night.  Nicotine appears to be calming but it is actually a neuro-stimulant.
    • The following substances, taken during the day, excite the brain and prevent good sleep at night; caffeine, alcohol, tobacco and aspartame.
    • Do not take nasal decongestants and other cold medications if you can help it.  They stimulate many people and keep them from getting to sleep.
    • The following drugs will keep you awake at night:  Anacin, Exedrin, Triaminic, antidepressant drugs, Dopar (for Parkinson’s) steroids, chemotherapy, tranquilizers, drugs for high blood pressure and amphetamines.
    • Sunlight during the day helps you sleep at night.  Upon awakening, open the shades and let the sunlight in.  Eat breakfast near a sunlit window.  Avoid dark glasses in the morning and late in the day.
    • Studies reveal that in countries where people regularly nap during the day, there are fewer accidents and productivity is higher.  The important factor here is consistency.  Be regular in your hours for sleep at night, the best times are between 9:30 in the evening and waking up at 5:30 – 6:00 in the morning.  If you do the power nap thing, be regular in that.  The best sleep in early in the evening.

    Before Bedtime

    • Take a hot bath with 2 cups of Epsom salts an hour or two before bedtime. ( it is a great way to detox and get your magnesium intake)
    • Before bedtime go outside and walk around quietly in the fresh air for 30 to 45 minutes.
    • Some people need to have the bedroom quiet; others find benefit from classical background music.
    • A fan works well to mask background noise
    • Trust in God, he promises to give His children rest.
    • For some people, daytime naps make it more difficult to sleep at night.  However, for older people, a little rest before mealtime during the day helps them.  Therefore, any sleeplessness at night never fatigues them.
    • Some take melatonin or calcium to help them go to sleep.  Both promote sleep.  Taking melatonin products continually can stop production of your own melatonin, so go natural if possible or at least take a break from supplements.  The suggestion is to use supplements on weekdays and take a break on the weekends.
    • Do not take sleeping pills.  They contain pain relievers such as bromides, antihistamines and scopolamine.   These are ineffective in the long term.  They produce unpleasant side effects and interfere with normal brain functioning, causing poor-quality sleep.  They can produce a hangover, so you cannot work as well the next day.  The brain quickly adapts to the drug so after 4-6 weeks they are no longer effective, unless you take more.  The easiest way to overcome the habit of taking sleeping pills is go on herbal teas at the same time, then wean yourself off.

    Herbs before Bedtime

    • Excellent herbal teas, which help increase sleepiness, include hops, catnip, and skullcap.  Do not rely on herb tea to help get you to sleep every night, at least mix it up so it is not the same tea every night.  Lemon balm is both a sedative and stomach soother.
    • Drink valerian tea (1-2 tsp per cup of water or 150-300mg of the valerian extract)  about 30 minutes before bedtime.
    • Another herb that works well is Passionflower use it as a tea.
    • Lavender Oil:  In some counties, they use it in hospitals, put it in your bathwater or sprinkle it on the sheets in the evening.  ( Never drink essential oils)
    • A remedy that has helped many in the past is placing compresses of wormwood, balm, chamomile and lavender on the forehead.
    • Herbal Mix 1 this tea has proved to be helpful in the past:  3 parts hops, and 2 parts valerian, steep 1 tsp in a half cup of boiling water.  Do not take for more than 2 weeks consecutively.
    • Herbal Mix 2 Mix equal parts valerian root, hops, skullcap and passionflower.  Put the dried herb mixture into capsules.  Take 2 one hour before bedtime and another 2 when you get into bed.

    During the Night

    • Regularity Habits are important.  It is vital to good sleep. Always go to bed at the same time and get up at a definite time.  The body has normal rhythmic cycles.  People with regular habits have faster reaction time and are happier than those with irregular sleeping times. Getting up each morning at the right time will help you go to sleep at the right time each night.  Sleeping in, on weekends, disrupts the biological clock.  If you want sleep problems, stay up late and mix it up.
    • Temperature in the bedroom should be 60-65 degrees F.  If the room is too warm, you are likely to move about more and awaken frequently.
    • If you would like a restful night make sure, a little current of air is passing through the room, even in winter.  You cannot sleep when it is stuffy.  The lack of air can lead to not only a loss of sleep but also to brain fog in the morning.
    • If you cannot sleep, you can just lie there, relax, and focus on your breathing.  This is nearly as good as sleep.
    • In the middle of the night, you can get up and do something quietly and calmly for a short time – then go back and sleep.  One excellent method is to go outside and breathe some fresh air, take a walk.
    • If you have restless leg syndrome then take – calcium 2000mg, magnesium 250mg and zinc 30-50mg.  In addition, make sure you are not anemic.

    Further Tips

    • Do enough exercise during the day but not right before bedtime.
    • Make sure you have a good solid mattress.
    • maintain your melatonin level

    Sunset and the onset of night time brings sleep into perspective.  Picture of two hands framing the sun.

    Melatonin Serotonin Relationship

    Melatonin is a hormone, so it is best to live in such a way that you will not need to take a melatonin supplement from animal sources.  As the darkness falls at the end of each day melatonin production rises.   The production of Serotonin, also a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate mood, irritability, impulse, obsession and memory as well as Dopamine a neurotransmitter associated with the pleasure centers of the brain makes place for the Melatonin production.

    The production of melatonin is light sensitive, especially blue light, such as found in mobile phones stimulates the daytime serotonin production.  This is a problem if you are trying to sleep, so avoid blue and bright lights at night.  A couple of helpful suggestions when it comes to producing melatonin are:

    • Regular meals, the rhythm of melatonin production is strengthened by regular daily routines.  Keep your mealtimes as regular as possible in order to keep your body in sync with the rhythms of the day.
    • Eat a small light meal a few hours before bedtime, something like soup or salad.  When melatonin production begins after nightfall, the digestive process is slowed.  Therefore, any heavy eating close to bedtime may lead to digestive problems.  Let’s face it that is a problem if you are trying to sleep.
    • Avoid Stimulants We all know that caffeine should be limited, but do you limit your soft drink uptake at night?   Sugar does not equal sweet sleep.  In fact, soft drinks can interfere with melatonin production.
    • Focus on the here and now.  Anxiety is in short a fear of the future.  Keeping your thoughts and focus on the here and now reduces anxiety.  Trust and faith is God is helpful in this regard.

    Encouragement

    This is not a new problem and many have succeeded in turning insomnia into a condition of the past.  If you are reading this, and it is night, put out the light and breath.

    picture of melatonin in a bottle

    Link to Melatonin in Store