Sleep is one of the powerful lifestyle drugs which all of us need for prevention as well as healing any disease. Some of us are blessed with a good quality of sleep every single day while many of them experience the bad quality of sleep. Better way to describe insomnia is where in a person faces trouble falling asleep or staying asleep for longer time despite being tired or sleepy.
Resting and Sleeping is a phase wherein the body moves into the parasympathetic nervous system from the sympathetic nervous system which is quite important for healing, growth, and recovery – For instance it helps in reducing the blood pressure, heart rate, regulating body temperature, balancing hormones and even carrying out detoxification at the cellular level.
We live in a world where people are getting sicker and hence there are hundreds of thousands of pharma companies coming up with new drugs for better sleep but understand one thing sleep is something which is quite natural to our lives and no amount of drugs, caffeine or technology can ever replace what natural sleep and rest can do for our body and mind. While these drugs may be essential for some, it’s just becoming a new fad for the rest.
Insomnia can trap you in a poor lifestyle circle easily as all pillars of lifestyle are interlinked. When your sleep is not complete you can’t function optimally and hence the quality of work reduces which can spike your stress levels easily, you get fatigued more easily, workout gets stressful as your body doesn’t get enough rest needed for recovery, feel drowsy, irritated, low, impatient, inactive, inability to concentrate, take time in the simplest of things and it affects your ability to make decisions. Most importantly, when you are sleep deprived you crave for unhealthy foods which could lead to unnecessary weight gain. Serious sleep disorders could also be linked to hypertension, irregular heartbeat, weak immunity, and increase in stress hormone levels. Good sleep helps you to eat better, exercise better and stay healthier.
Good health is all about having a equilibrium with all pillars of the lifestyle like Sleep, stress, food, exercise and water intake. One needs to get to the root cause of not being able to fall asleep which actually is such a natural phenomenon and hence I would like to discuss top 15 ways to handle Insomnia under 360 degrees vision keeping all those pillars in mind :
- Heavy Meal close to bedtime can make one feel acidic and may cause difficulty falling asleep as metabolism of the body increases when digestive system is active.
- Avoid stimulators like Caffeine, alcohol, spicy food, tobacco etc. close to bedtime.
- Nutmeg is a natural sleep spice from Indian Wisdom. Pinch of nutmeg with water OR dash of nutmeg + tbsp of fennel + pinch of cinnamon – boil in water and consume 30 mins before bedtime. However, too much nutmeg can make you high and acidic.
- Food rich in amino acid tryptophan will release sleep hormone melatonin in the body – Pumpkin, Almonds, Organic A2 Milk, Yogurt etc are good options for bedtime snacking. However, dairy during bedtime can trouble some people with congestion and hence you can only have if it suits you.
- Chlorophyll rich vegetables like wheatgrass, moringa, barley grass, celery etc contain a component called Opium which acts as natural sleeping aid. Consuming them during daytime is more beneficial than consuming it during bedtime.
- A warm cup of Chamomile/Lavender Teahelps to calm down the body and aids in better quality sleep. Can sprinkle few drops of lavender essential oil on the pillow
- Left nostril breathing will cool down the body internally. Close right nostril completely along with mouth and just use left nostril to inhale and exhale for couple of rounds as you lie down
- 6-6-12 Breathing Technique helps to calm the body instantly which means Inhale-Hold-Exhale and repeat for a couple of rounds. Example you inhale for 6 seconds – hold for 6 seconds and exhale for 12 seconds. Beginners can use 4-7-8 technique in the similar manner
- Aim to meditate, visualise, and write affirmations10-15 mins before bedtime – all of these reduces anxiety of not falling asleep on time. For example: I’m able to sleep deeply today; I’m embracing the peace and calm state of mind as I wake up; All my body cells are resting and recovering while I sleep; Sleep is quite natural and I deserve every minute of rest during the night.
- Irregular or long daytime naps should be avoided as it will make it difficult for your body to fall asleep again in a couple of hours during the night. However, when you’ve not had a good night’s sleep, taking a nap of 40-60 mins during the day would be valuable.
- Ensure a fixed bedtime routine for a sound sleep. It’s important to set our biological clock as per the routine. Changing it occasionally due to social obligations is okay but making it a lifestyle is something which isn’t encouraged.
- Limit your screen time just before going to bed. Gadgets emit light which blocks melatonin ( the sleep hormone) and it hinders in your sleep. Also, darken the room 30 mins before bedtime so your brain gets signal it’s time for you to fall asleep now.
- Yogasanas like Shirsanana, Sarvangasana, Uttanasana, Viparit Karni, Paschimotanasana and shavala are helpful for someone having insomnia. Yoga Nidra and Shawasana are quite helpful when done during bedtime.
- Warm shower before bedtime will drop your body temperature a bit which helps you sleep faster. One can also use essential oils or Epsom salt in that water which can further relax the nerves and muscles.
- Go out for a holiday once in 6-7 months for couple of days away from city’s hustle bustle. Nature is the best healer and it allows body to heal naturally when exposed to it correctly.
All in all a night of good sleep is a must to heal the mind and body. All the above tips will help you sleep better however make sure you’re consistent and patient about the changes happening in the body. If you’re on any sleep medications you may want to speak to your doctors before you decide to choose the holistic approach to avoid complications to wean off the medication suddenly.