Difficulty in getting off to sleep or waking up soon after? Note that early morning waking can sometimes be an indication of depression. Poor sleep can affect many systems in the body, aggravate or reduce healing of many of today’s ills, make us less efficient and more accident prone and generally reduce our quality of life.
What doctors can do
Prescribe sleeping pills. While these help people get off to sleep, many of them make people drowsy and depressed the following day. While many are habit forming or addictive, prolonged use usually means the person cannot sleep if medication is suddenly stopped, so it is best to slowly reduce the dose to zero. However, in some situations, there are benefits of using sleeping pills to get a good night’s sleep.
What you can do
- Sleep in complete darkness or as near dark as possible. Any light, no matter how small, can turn off melatonin, the sleep hormone produced by the pineal gland.
- Go to bed at the same time each night.
- Listen to a CD or tape of relaxing music, the sound of the sea or the forest can help lull you into a good sleep.
- No TV before bed – it is too stimulating to the brain and the brightness can turn off the melatonin.
- Read something relaxing while in bed before going to sleep.
- Keep anything with an electrical field, including electric clocks and radios, as far from the bed as possible.
- Avoid eating a heavy evening meal.
- Wear bed socks – this stops the feet getting cold which can sometimes cause waking .
- If your mind is active and you have thoughts you want to remember, have a pad beside your bed and write the thoughts down so you can dismiss them until morning.
- Learn a relaxation technique or how to meditate and simply relax yourself to sleep. Consider doing some yoga before going to bed.
- Avoid excess alcohol before bed – it may help you fall asleep but you oten wake up a few hours later.
- Caffeine can have an effect for many hours; even an afternoon coffee or tea can keep some people awake. So if you have a sleep problem drink none after noon!
- Have a warm bath, spa or sauna before bed, the raised body temperature helps induce sleep.
- Research from Sanctuary Spa studying sleep in women – 55% said a good book improved sleep, sex imprved sleep in 1 in 6. Other factors included avoiding – eating, caffeine drinks, checking social networks and work worries. Sleep was also improved (in women) with scented candles, clean sheets, comfy bedding and hot baths.
Magnesium has a relaxing action on the brain and the muscles, and can reduce night cramps and restless legs syndrome.
Melatonin: the sleep hormone produced by the pineal gland. In people who are exposed to night light, shift workers, and in those who sleep poorly, taking 1or 2mg of melatonin half an hour before bed helps with sleep, and it has been suggested it may also help reduce the risk of developing cancer .
The Nutritional supplements I use and recommend to my patients
For my insomniac patients I recommend –
USANA – Cellsentials *, active calcium plus and melatonin (in some countries this requires a doctor’s prescription)-
Other therapiesThere are a number of other therapies which you might like to look at. They have not been specifically included with this disease because some are a form of treatment which is applicable to most diseases and many focus on the mind, body, spirit, and the universe. These include - acupuncture, Ayurvedic medicine, energy healing, homeopathy, naturopathy, prayer, visualisation and some people with this condition might like to look at these topics (I have described them more fully on another page on this website click here .) With my personal experience and reading, I do not think that I can comment of whether one or a number of these might help. They fit well with most conventional and complementary treatments and I suspect some or even all of them can be extremely powerful - if performed by an experienced practitioner. My only caveat is that if in the course of one of these therapies, you are given potions or herbs, do check with your health practitioner that they will not interfere with other treatments or drugs you are receiving.
Nutritional supplementsI believe in today's world that nutritional supplements are so necessary as to be an essential component of any form of both prevention and treatment. Not only is today's food lacking in nutrients because of the way it was grown and processed, but also most of us make the wrong choices in diet. It is virtually impossible to obtain optimal levels of most of the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients although many people try to do so, and even then fresh produce is not available all year round. *There are many quality supplements available on the market, including –Thorne, NFS, Douglas Labs, Xtend Life, True Star Health, USANA, and Metagenics. There are others, but do your due diligence before choosing one. USANA Health Sciences has added a new adjunct to its multivitamin and multi mineral called CellSentials. These are a patented blend of phyto-nutrients which they believe affects cell signaling and growth, and increases the production of preventative antioxidants within the cell. These should add to the value of the multi, so these are the multivitamin/mineral preparation I recommend.