It is 10 p.m. and you have had a long day; you close your eyes hoping to fall asleep. What you thought would be a restful night turns into you tossing and turning; completely unable to drift into slumber. After several attempts, you now realize it is 12 a.m... then 3 a.m... now it is time to start the next day. For many individuals this is only ONE version of how insomnia affects the sleep cycle.
In layman's terms, insomnia can be defined as trouble falling or staying asleep. According to the National Institutes of Health, about 30% of adults have reported having sleep disruptions – and of that 30%, about 10 % have reported daytime impairments associated with chronic insomnia.
The causes of insomnia can range anywhere from environmental to biological or even medical factors. Common causes or triggers of insomnia include but are not limited to stress, anxiety, medical/mental health conditions, and poor lifestyle habits. Here are a few tips to naturally alleviate insomnia.
Exercising may not be the first choice when tackling insomnia; however, exercise can reduce your overall stress levels which can directly improve your sleep- especially if stress is the primary cause. Whether you decide to add in 30 mins of cardio, strength training, or even yoga not only are you improving your health but you can improve your sleep quality.
2. Revamp your grocery list
What you eat and drink prior to going to bed can affect how the rest of your night goes. Try incorporating foods and drinks that help you fall asleep- specifically foods that contain melatonin (a sleep regulating hormone). Foods that are rich in melatonin include almond, walnuts, raspberries, pineapples, cherries, and foods that are high in lean protein. (Of course, taking natural melatonin supplements is always an option). Drinking warm tea prior to bed can also be beneficial. Sleepy time tea, ginger tea, and even chamomile tea all have soothing effects- but be sure to avoid any caffeinated teas.
For many, meditating can be very tricky, but with some practice and consistency, it is a great addition to your nightly routine to improve sleep. Not only is it completely free, but combined with breathing exercises, it can help reduce anxiety, pain, blood pressure, and other causes of insomnia.
There are many ways to naturally combat insomnia, but there are also many causes of insomnia, and the level severity can vary. If insomnia persists, it can lead to serious health risk- affecting overall mental, physical, and psychological health and should be brought to a medical professional. In the state of the world today, stress levels are at an all-time high and so are the restless nights. Do you got sleep?
For more information on insomnia or sleep conditions check out SleepFoundation.org.