Secrets to a good night's sleep

If you suffer from insomnia then you understand the seriousness of simply not getting a good night’s sleep. Your whole world around you appears to crumble when you can’t get a good 6-8 hours of quality deep sleep. Your work life, your family life all suffer.

Today’s article will touch on a few key things to consider resolving sleep insomnia.

To begin remember that the awakening after a few hours of sleep and not being able to get back to sleep is often rebound from what you ate or drank hours before. High sugar, alcohol, highly spiced foods and of course, caffeinated drinks are often the culprits.

If you are unknowingly deficient in chromium, vanadium, manganese and other nutrients you can experience a low blood sugar (hypoglycemic) rebound in a few hours where you abruptly wake-up and are unable to drift back to sleep. It’s best to avoid those sugary snacks after dinner to minimise the blood sugar swings.


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Simple techniques that can help establish a good night’s sleep


1. Establish a routine

Eat dinner at the same time each night with a balance of protein, vegetables and complex grains, and allow a few hours to digest your meal before retiring. In other words, avoid high a carbohydrate meal such as a plate of pasta and sauce without the protein and veg. Swings in blood sugar can leave you with a sugar low in the early hours of the morning and keep you awake.

Go to bed at the same time each night even if you can’t fall directly asleep. Read or just relax focusing on the beat of your heart or relaxed breathing in a slow steady rhythm and your brain will change to a rhythmical theta rhythm.

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2. Enjoy a leisurely warm bath

Taking the time to enjoy a warm bath is a perfect way to relax the body. To have a more relaxing bath, it is best to throw in baking soda and bath salt into the warm water. An alternative is to have a relaxing warm show before bed. I personally do a few gentle stretches to release tension in my body before sleep. It’s part of the wind down time.


3. Listen to soothing music

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It is said that a lulling and soothing music can outright put one into an undisturbed sleep. Insomniacs should try to put on play their favourite medley selections before they hit the bed, but none of that head banging stuff.

Time to slow down before going to bed allows your brain to unwind. It’s like allowing time for the computer to shut down before turning off. Make sure to avoid watching TV or working at the computer before bed or in bed! These emit a blue light that interferes with your brain waves and stops you from falling asleep.


4. Ask for a massage

Before going to bed, ask someone (this can be your spouse, family member, or friend) for a massage. A slow yet firm strokes can relieve an insomniac’s body tensions, thus, making it easier to fall asleep.

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5. Try to avoid tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant and can often make it difficult to go to sleep or cause you to wake through the night. Hence, insomniacs should avoid drinking coffee, cola, and other liquids containing caffeine before hitting the covers. Alcohol dehydrates the body, puts stress on the liver and can upsets a person’s sleep patterns. Particularly take note of waking between 1-3 am if the liver is struggling to detox the body of these toxins.

Alcohol and caffeinated drinks also drain the body of essential nutrients to fall asleep. Prescription drugs and environmental toxins also put stress on the liver. Sometimes we need to help it along with a liver detox.


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6. Should we avoid taking naps?

Many say not to take naps during the day because they can prevent an insomniac from having a good night sleep. I would say to you that if you are desperate for sleep and need to rest, allow yourself a 10-15 minute cat nap, set the alarm and keep going through the day.

If you are too exhausted often the brain gets heated, anxiety and agitation sets in and you won’t sleep no matter how tired you are. I have had clients come to me after not sleeping for a week.


7. Drink herb tea or warm milk before bedtime

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Studies claim that drinking herb tea or warm milk a few minutes before bedtime soothes the nervous system and helps you relax ensuring a good night sleep. Warm milk contains tryptophan, the amino acid required to make serotonin and then melatonin. It is best absorbed with a source of glucose whether it be a small biscuit or ½ banana. Falling asleep requires energy.


8. Rest and sleep in a dark, quiet well-ventilated room

Who would want to sleep in a room that is either too cold or too hot? Insomniacs are advised to rest and sleep in a room that has fresh air and has a temperature that is suitable for sleeping. Turn off the lights and some may prefer quiet or soft soothing music.


Do you have trouble sleeping? What do you do to get a good night’s sleep? What have you tried? Tell us below.