Ten percent of the UK population fails to get a good night’s rest due to a variety of sleeping problems. There are many different remedies that claim to cure insomnia but it may take trial and error to find the right cure.
Insomnia Affecting Millions in the UK
There is nothing worse than lying in bed watching the clock slowly count down the hours until morning. Insomnia is the most common mental health problem in the UK affecting millions of people. Yet many people fail to mention it to their doctors. Some people think that the problem is just too trivial to bother doctors with, even though it can cause muscle and mental fatigue and hallucinations. But there are plenty of remedies available that may help insomniacs get at least a few peaceful night’s rest.
Factors that May Influence Sleep Levels
Healthy adults should average around seven to nine hours of sleep per night. But there are different factors that will influence the amount of sleep. These factors can include diet, lifestyle, stress, age and environment. A change in any of these factors could be the reason for sleepless nights. This could lead to short-term insomnia lasting up to four weeks. Insomnia lasting more than four weeks is known as chronic or long-term insomnia.
Medical Advice on Insomnia from Doctors
Most doctors will have tried and tested methods to help with insomnia. Doctors will usually try to identify any medical problems that are causing the sleepless nights. If they do find medical problems then once these are treated the insomnia may disappear altogether. If the insomnia does turn out to be chronic then doctors may advise cognitive and behavioural treatments. These treatments are designed to change the way people think about sleep and establish a sleep pattern.
Herbal Remedies for Insomnia
Herbal remedies have been used for centuries to help cure all manner of ailments. Some people are sceptical of the curative properties of herbs while others are convinced of their powers. Herbs such as California poppy, chamomile, kava, St John’s Wort and Lemon Balm are all said to promote sleep. Many of these herbs are available in tablet, tinctures or can be used to make a herbal tea remedy. There is a huge list of herbal remedies that can promote a good night’s sleep and it may be worth researching before starting on this course.
Insomnia and the Menopause
For some women insomnia is linked to lower oestrogen levels. This may be the reason why many women develop insomnia during menopause. Oestrogen levels can cause deficiencies in magnesium levels, which is a nutrient required to relax the muscles. If this is the case then a diet of magnesium rich vegetables, less high fibre whole grain foods and a higher fat intake may help. Taking up exercise such as yoga can help relax the muscles and promote sleep.
Better Sleep through Diet and Exercise
It is a fact that people who have bad diets and little exercise can suffer from sleeplessness. Increasing exercise by as little as 30 minutes per day, three times a week may help to decrease sleepless nights. Cutting out spicy foods, chocolate, canned foods and foods that are high in protein may also help. Alcohol, coffee, tea and caffeinated soft drinks will not help to promote sleep either. Foods such as turkey, bananas, milk, tuna and yoghurt can all be eaten an hour or two before bedtime.
Other Tips to Promote a Good Night’s Sleep
One of the most helpful ways to promote sleep is to have good sleep hygiene. This doesn’t mean taking a shower before bed it simply means becoming more aware of the different factors that influence sleep. Sleep hygiene can include:
- Trying to relax as much as possible before bedtime
- Avoiding alcohol, caffeine and nicotine six hours before sleep
- Do not take short naps throughout the day or evening
- Avoid exercise at least four hours before bed
- Avoid heavy meals during the late evening
- Use the bed for sleep and sex only
- Keep the bedroom comfortable with regards to décor and temperature
- Set fixed times for going to bed and for waking up
These are simply a few of the common remedies and methods that may help to induce a good night’s sleep. Lots more tips and advice on insomnia can be found on our sister website www.insomniacs.co.uk
If the insomnia is chronic then it may be the case that a doctor will prescribe sleeping tablets. Sleeping tablets will usually be used as a last resort and may not always help with long-term insomnia. Anyone who does suffer from chronic insomnia should seek professional advice from a doctor.