Insomnia
Education, Fitness, Know your Disease

How to deal with Insomnia without Medication

“I know my music is going well when I don’t have insomnia.” Carly Rae Jepsen

But unfortunately, most of us have problems with our music and we suffer from Insomnia. The following statistics from the National Sleep Foundation is alarming.

  • More than 30% of the population suffers from insomnia.
  • One in three people suffers from some form of insomnia during their lifetime.
  • More than half of Americans lose sleep due to stress and/or anxiety.
  • Between 40% and 60% of people over the age of 60 suffer from insomnia.
  • Women are up to twice as likely to suffer from insomnia as men.
  • Approximately 10 million people in the U.S. use prescription sleep aids.
  • People who suffer from sleep deprivation are 27% more likely to become overweight or obese.
  • A recent Consumer Reports survey showed the top reason couples gave for avoiding sex was “too tired or need sleep.”

According to a study conducted by a consumer products giant in 2015, nearly 93% Indians are sleep-deprived.

The science of Sleep:

Healthy sleep at Harvard defined the sleep as;

  • Sleep is a period of reduced activity.
  • Sleep is associated with a typical posture, such as lying down with eyes closed in humans.
  • Sleep results in a decreased responsiveness to external stimuli.
  • Sleep is a state that is relatively easy to reverse (this distinguishes sleep from other states of reduced consciousness, such as hibernation and coma).

Benefits of sleep: (1)

We (normal adults) need about 7 to 9 hours of sleep daily. Older people may require 6 to 7 hours of sleep.

  • The body produces extra protein during the sleep and this helps in repair of the body.
  • Sleep helps our cardiovascular system. Our heart gets to rest.
  • Good sleep helps in controlling blood pressure and cholesterol level
  • Sleep reduces stress and anxiety
  • Good sleep helps in improving memory.
  • Research has shown good sleep reduces chances of Diabetes
  • Sleep helps with hormone imbalance and help prevent obesity

What is Insomnia?

Insomnia refers to trouble falling or staying asleep. It can affect someone for a short time, such as a few nights or weeks. In other cases, insomnia is chronic and can last for months or years.

According to Maharshi Ayurveda, there are three types of sleep imbalance. This is caused by imbalances caused by Vata, Pitta or Kapha.

  • Difficulty in falling asleep is due to Vata imbalance
  • Waking up in the wee hours and unable to sleep again is due to Pitta imbalance
  • Excess sleep is due to Kapha imbalance

Symptoms of Insomnia

According to American Sleep Association, following are the symptoms of Insomnia.

  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Irritability
  • Problems concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Forgetfulness

The severity of the above symptoms depends on the gravity of the problem.

Reasons for Insomnia

We all have a natural sleep-wake rhythm. For most people, their circadian rhythm involves sleeping at night and being awake during the day. When this rhythm gets disrupted, it can cause insomnia.

In addition, some of the reasons for Insomnia are;

  • Time zone change
  • Change of job or living situation
  • Night shift or rotating shift work
  • Change of season / Change of diet
  • Change of exercise or level of activity
  • Menopause
  • Hormonal changes, such as menstrual cycles
  • Caffeine consumption before sleep
  • Some drugs and/or natural supplements
  • Quitting smoking
  • Stress – Anxiety – Depression

Problems due to Insomnia:

The benefits of good sleep are not available to the people suffering from Insomnia. There are various research (2) done on the subject found the following health issues due to the sleep disorder.

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Mood swing
  • Immune function
  • Hypertension
  • Heart disease

How to deal with Insomnia?

Exercise

  • Regular exercise promotes good sleep
  • Light exercise in the evening
  • Avoid rigorous exercise before bedtime
  • Evening walk is good for the sleep
  • Morning workout and exercise also helps.

Read 6 things you must know about walking

National Sleep Foundation published, “Of the handful of studies that have been performed, they suggest that exercise significantly improves the sleep of people with chronic insomnia. The only study that looked at the effects of a single exercise session found that a bout of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (e.g., walking) reduced the time it took to fall asleep and increased the length of sleep of people with chronic insomnia compared to a night in which they did not exercise. Similar results have been found for studies that examined the effects of long-term exercise on sleep in adults with insomnia. In these studies, after 4 to 24 weeks of exercise, adults with insomnia fell asleep more quickly, slept slightly longer, and had better sleep quality than before they began exercising.”

Read 18 fantastic health benefit of Aerobics

Yoga:

  • Meditation: Meditation, with its global effects on body and brain functions, helps to establish a body and mind harmony. Thus meditation practices as an autoregulatory integrated global phenomenon open a wider scope for understanding the unique aspects of human sleep and consciousness. Sources: Meditation and Its Regulatory Role on Sleep)
  • Yoga Nidra: This is guided technique to help people sleep. This technique is very effective.
  • Pranayama: Bhramari Pranayama helps in better sleep.

Schedules:

  • Limit and minimise TV or mobile screen time before sleep time.
  • Maintain your wake up and sleep time schedule.
  • Warm bath 4/5 hours before sleep
  • Turn off your mind from the day’s stressful work and focus on hobbies for peace of mind near to your sleep time.
  • Do something monotonous before the sleep time.

“Exposing yourself to bright daylight first thing in the morning will help the natural circadian rhythm, ” says Dr. Karen Carlson, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of Women’s Health Associates at Massachusetts General Hospital.(3)

Food:

  • Avoid caffeine and stimulant drink after evening. Avoid alcohol and cigarette before sleep
  • Avoid heavy meal at night
  • If hungry drink milk or eat light
  • ASA recommends food like banana, yogurt, whole grains, nuts, and white rice n moderate quantity before sleep.
  • Use Vata or Pitta pacifying food according to your sleep disorder.

Sleep deprivation is a major problem. Our irregular lifestyle and social stress are making it worst problem. Know it before it’s too late, act before it’s become a serious health issue

“The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.” W. C. Fields

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