What can I do to help my insomnia?Natural ways to cure your nighttime woes and get a good night's rest
First of all, it’s important to recognize what exactly is keeping you up at night. The most common reasons for insomnia are stress, postural issues or medical problems (menopausal, cardiovascular, sleep apnea, etc).
Ask yourself the following questions: Are you stressed and having recurring thought patterns? Are you thinking about what you have to do the next day and all the things you have to accomplish? Are you stiff and sore? Do your neck and back hurt after you’ve been lying down?
Sleep hygiene is important. Finding a bedtime routine is vital to a good night’s sleep. This means going to bed at the same time each night and getting up around the same time each day. Having a pre-bedtime ritual is helpful. You want to train your body to recognize that when you climb into bed, this signals sleep time. Calming activities that help you wind down, such as brewing a cup of tea, meditating or listening to soft music, will get you in a relaxed state. Using your bed only for sleeping (and sex) is key. Save the reading and TV watching for the couch as these create a non-sleep state. Try a few different activities surrounding a bedtime ritual and find one that works for you.
If your insomnia is stress-related, there are a number of techniques you can try to help shut your mind off. Simple breathing techniques at night can help you relax. Try putting your hand on your belly and breathing into it. Twenty deep belly breaths can create a relaxation state and distract you from unwanted mental thoughts. A focus on the breath and counting each breath doesn’t allow the mind to engage elsewhere. Journaling is another technique that can be helpful. If you are thinking of your to-do list all night, get up write down your thoughts and go back to bed. This can help get them out of your head and onto paper.
Physical discomfort can also cause insomnia. If your bed is old and your pillow is the same one you’ve had since you were six, perhaps it’s time to invest in some orthopedic quality mattresses and pillows. Helping your body achieve comfort, and not pain, while going to sleep will alleviate one big physical stressor so you can fall – and stay – asleep.
You may also want to check with your health care provider regarding any other health concerns you have and if those concerns are linked with sleep disturbances. For example, menopausal symptoms can lead to insomnia, as can conditions such as thyroid and heart conditions. Check with your doctor to find out more.
Dr. Kandis Lock, ND is a graduate of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. She is passionate about helping her patients achieve wellness. She looks to form a partnership with each patient and make sure they take an active role in their own health. She educates each patient on healthy living and healthy choices and discusses the importance of finding root cause of disease. The goal is always to figure out the cause of symptoms vs. suppression of symptoms.
Dr. Kandis is able to help patients with many conditions including allergies and asthma, digestive upset (IBD, IBS), anxiety and depression, chronic diseases and cancer care, and more. She uses nutrition, lifestyle counseling, acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, herbal remedies and homeopathics to help each patient achieve a balanced life.
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