Tue | Aug 22, 2017

Can't Sleep?

Published:Monday | August 22, 2016 | 8:00 AM

Ever been up all night with sleep nowhere in sight? You may be suffering from insomnia. This can be serious as our bodies require adequate hours of sleep in order to rest and function properly.

While there are instances where insomnia is due to psychological issues, there are times when it can also be caused by some of our daily habits, which can be easily adjusted.

General practitioner Dr Garth Rattray told Flair that some of our bedroom practices could cause insomnia. Among those he highlighted were having a television set in the bedroom, and working or using your cellular phone in bed. The heat in your bedroom could also be a contributing factor, as the warmer it is the harder it will be for you to fall asleep.

Dr Daniel Thomas concurred with Dr Rattray, providing some tips on how to adjust our bedroom behaviour to ensure we have a restful night's sleep.

He notes that we should go through a decluttering process, as we sleep better in a relaxed environment. Therefore, do not do work or chores in your bed. Reserve your bed for sleeping only.

When it comes to technological devices, Dr Thomas recommends eliminating them from the bedroom, including not having them plugged it. All forms of light should be off, as this can disturb sleep.

Certain sounds can actually set the tone for sleep, so relaxing music or sounds of nature can be used to lull us to sleep.

Adding fragrance to your room can also enhance your sleep. Dr Thomas recommends a few drops of lavender oil in a few areas of your room to soothe the nerves and stimulate sleep.

Dr Rattray advises that anxiety and stress can also prevents us getting a good night's rest, and if we programme our bodies to go to sleep late, it will take some time to retrain our bodies to go to bed earlier.

 

FOOD FACTOR

 

He notes that even the foods we eat can affect our sleeping habit. Foods that includes caffeine might keep us awake, as well as green teas and chocolate.

Dr Thomas adds that we should avoid snacking and consuming alcohol. Snacking creates spikes in our blood sugar levels, and the initial drowsiness caused from alcohol does not last - so you will wake up in the night and find it difficult to return to sleep. He also notes that some medications can cause insomnia, so we should consult our doctor or read the labels carefully.

 

TIPS FOR A RESTFUL NIGHT

 

Dr Thomas recommends the following tips to help us develop better bedtime routines that will lead to a restful night.

1. Having some chamomile tea before going to bed helps to relieve anxiety and helps with relaxation.

2. Keep your feet warm. Our feet have the poorest circulation in our body, so wearing socks to bed will stop them becoming cold and disturbing your sleep.

3. Wear an eye mask to help block out lights. Blocking out as much light as possible will help you sleep.

4. Reduce sounds. Earplugs can help to block or muffle sounds if you are a light sleeper, or if you have to sleep in a noisy environment.

5. Turn your alarm clock away from your line of sight. Watching the hours tick by as you try to sleep will only increase your anxiety and make it harder to drift off.

 

LIFESTYLE PRACTICES

 

He also added some lifestyle practices that you should consider to help you get a good night's rest:

1. Exercise regularly. Exercising for at least 30 minutes each day will help you fall asleep at nights. Just make sure you don't do it too close to bedtime or it will cause the reverse.

2. Lose weight. Being overweight increases the risk of snoring and sleep apnoea, neither of which result in a good night's rest.

3. Have a health check. Certain illnesses interfere with your sleep. Being thirsty throughout the night could be a sign of diabetes, burning feet can point to small blood vessel or nerve disease, and frequent visits to the bathroom could signal a prostate, kidney, or heart problem.

4. Hormones. Hormonal changes during menopause can cause hot flushes, joint pain, and palpitations that interfere with sleep. Bring your body back into balance with the help of your natural therapist.