Individual need for sleep varies; however the typical sleep pattern in 24 hours is 7 to 9 hours. Age, emotional disturbances, certain health conditions and general habits may sometime lead to sleep disorders where an individual either can’t sleep at night or awakens often during the night.
An analysis of why you can’t sleep at night can help establish the real cause behind your sleepless nights. It is important to identify the causes, as the solution may well lie there in. Here is a list of what you can do to examine the causes that need to be eliminated for you to get a good night’s sleep.
• Are your clothes too tight? Ensure that your nightwear is comfortable, as tight fitting clothes can restrict blood flow and impair sleep.
• Do you have an erratic schedule? An irregular schedule can disturb the functioning of the body clock, leading to sleep disorders. Set aside a time and go to bed at the same time every night.
• Is sound disturbing you? Sometimes you can’t sleep at night because of too much sporadic or random noise penetrating into the bedroom. Mask the din with soothing rhythmic sounds such as soft instrumental music or the drone of a fan.
• Are you exercising too close to bed time? Exercise releases hormones that invigorate the body. Sleep will not come easily when the body is charged with energy.
• Do you eat too close to bedtime? A heavy meal eaten close to bedtime can also be the cause of not being able to fall asleep. Ensure that your last meal of the day is at least 2 hours before you intend to sleep.
• Is your bedroom also your workplace? If you use your bed for watching television, playing games or doing office work it will create a negative ambience not conducive for sleep.
• Are you taking stimulants before bedtime? If you can’t get sleep at night make sure you are not taking foods that act as stimulants just before bedtime. Cut the habit of coffee after dinner. Caffeine in coffee and cola drinks can keep you awake.
• Is there too much on your mind? If you worry too much you will not be able to fall asleep. Try doing a mental exercise that helps you to deviate from your problems and worries. A mentally relaxed body will rest better.
If you can’t get sleep at night try incorporating a few lifestyle changes. Modifying your way of life by including some of the tried and tested techniques discussed below can help to induce sleep.
• Exercise – If you can’t sleep at night try exercising during the day. Exercise at least 3 hours before supper if you want to benefit from it for sleep disorders.
• Chamomile Tea – Sipping a cup of chamomile tea 30 minutes before bedtime can help induce sleep.
• Herbal Tea – Herbal teas are a blend of natural ingredients that are healthy and non-toxic. They act as a mild sedative calming the autonomic system and encourage sleep.
• Warm Milk – A warm glass of milk with a spoonful of honey can induce sleep and there is scientific evidence to prove this. Milk contains an essential amino acid called tryptophan and carbohydrates in honey help in carrying it to the brain. Tryptophan increases the levels of serotonin in the brain which has a sedative effect.
• Turkey Sandwich – Try having a turkey sandwich for supper and you will be surprised at how fast you fall asleep. It is the combination of tryptophan in turkey and carbohydrates in bread that promote sleep.
• Aromatherapy – Use of natural essential oils in aromatherapy are also known to be effective if you can’t sleep at night. The most commonly used oils are lavender, myrtle and neroli. These oils can either be applied at pressure points or added to bath water for getting sleep at night.
Complementary therapies such as acupressure and hypnosis are also recommended for sleep disorders. Endorphin is a chemical that act as the body’s natural pain killer. Acupressure helps the body to release the chemical in large doses which acts as a relaxant and sleep comes easily. Cones and plasters used for applying acupressure on pressure points are easily available.
Sleeping pills containing benzodiazepines are good for only temporary relief and they require a physicist’s prescription. These sleeping pills can be habit forming and are known to cause side effects which can add to an individual’s woes. Over the counter non-addictive sleep inducing medication is also available.
If you can’t sleep at night the best choice would be to make the recommended changes in your life. Most individuals who can’t sleep at night benefit greatly from the natural remedies mentioned above. Medication should serve as the last resort, if everything else fails.