Insomnia problems include: you can’t get to sleep; you wake up in the middle of the night, and can’t go back to sleep; and, waking up too early, between 3:00 and 5:00 a.m., and you can’t get back to sleep.
Common causes of insomnia include poor eating habits, too much caffeine, too much alcohol, too much tobacco, nutritional deficiencies, blood glucose imbalances, physical pain, improper breathing, anxiety, stress, depression, and the lack of exercise.
To improve the quality of your sleep:
• Establish a consistent a regular daily routine and bedtime ritual, e.g. the same meal times, the same bedtime, the same pre-bed activities.
• Keep your bedroom cool and well ventilated. Maintain a relaxing atmosphere in the bedroom.
• Try an herbal drink with magnesium and calcium to help relax you. Do not eat (especially processed grain and sugar carbohydrates) less than 2 hours before going to bed. These foods raise your blood glucose and inhibit sleep. Later, when your blood glucose drops too low, you may wake up and not be able to go back to sleep.
• Reduce your caffeine intake and avoid it altogether four to six hours before bedtime. Reduce your intake of alcohol, tobacco, and other stimulants especially in the evenings.
• Eat a handful of walnuts or drink a glass of warm milk or a cup of chamomile or fennel tea to soothe your nervous system 15-20 minutes before going to bed.
• Take a hot bath 2 hours before bedtime -- it increases your core body temperature, and when it abruptly drops when you get out of the bath, it signals your body that you are ready for sleep.
• Ensure you have a quality firm bed that properly supports your body’s frame and a quality pillow to properly support your neck.
• Try to sleep in complete darkness or as close as possible. When light hits the eyes, it disrupts the circadian rhythm of the pineal gland and the production of melatonin and serotonin.
Note: The body operates on the 24-hour cycle (12 on, and 12 off), which is called “Circadian Rhythms”. When it gets dark, the body clock stimulates the pineal gland, which produces melatonin to enable sleep. Bright light or sunshine shuts off melatonin production and inhibits sleep, causing insomnia.
• Sleep on your back – it’s the best position for relaxing, and allows all your internal organs to rest properly. If you must sleep on your side, do it on your right side, not your left. Sleeping on the left side causes your lungs, stomach and liver to press against your heart. If possible, do not sleep on your stomach. It causes pressure on all your internal organs including your lungs, which results in shallow breathing. It can also cause a stiff neck and upper back problems.
• Try to avoid watching too much TV just before going to bed. TV is too stimulating to the brain and it will take longer to fall asleep.
• Listen to calm music, or read something spiritual to help to relax. Do not read anything stimulating, such as a mystery or suspense novel.
• If possible, avoid using a loud alarm clock, which can be very stressful on the body when it is awoken suddenly. If you are getting enough sleep, an alarm clock should not be necessary.