Insomnia affects millions. Sometimes the ineffective sleep occurs temporarily and sometimes problem lasts life-times.
Poor sleep robs vitality, sensibility, and creativity. Poor sleep causes cascades of medical problems that sometimes seem remote and unrelated.
Sleep quality and insomnia research is an active field. A quick google search for current insomnia research reveals numerous very current avenues of ongoing study.
Key areas of research include looking at the relationship between quantity and quality of sleep and several degenerative brain disorders such as: alzheimers, general dementia, parkinsons disease, heart disease, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and cancer.
First off, poor sleep affects immune function. Poor immune function has a myriad of affects throughout the body.
Insomnia suffers have more illnesses, hypertension, weight problems, and cancer.
It’s no wonder our body craves sleep when we’re sick according to this latest research. Insomnia affects memory later in life too.
Recent studies show clear relationships between memory decline and individuals getting either TOO MUCH or TOO LITTLE sleep. In fact, routinely getting less than 6 hours or greater than 8 hours nightly appear to trigger greater memory deficits as we age.
These observations likely stem from some of the latest theories on memory which suggest memories require processing that occurs during specific portions of sleep. Insomnia leads to limited “processing” windows and therefore a progression of perceived memory decline. When we experience disease, insomnia can have a dramatic effect on outcomes.
In the May 2nd, 2014 edition of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine research reported a dramatic improvement in advanced breast cancer survival in women with “Efficient” sleep ratios. (Sleep Ratio = Effective sleep / Time in bed) The improved mortality numbers were dramatic (68.9 months survival vs 33.2 months for insomniacs!!) Overall sleep doesn’t simply represent “off” time, but rather repair, processing, and a constellation of immune related behaviors. If you lose sleep…your health loses big time.
Natural Insomnia Cures:
The following items represent the pareto’s principle approach to insomnia. (In other words, THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS TO TRY BEFORE SUPPLEMENTS OR MEDICATIONS.)
- Eliminate Alcohol: Alcohol triggers sleep, but ineffective and fragmented sleep. Elimination x 4 weeks will insure an adequate trial. If you sleep better…Avoid it!
- Eliminate Caffeine: (Soda, Tea, Monster Drinks, chocolate) Caffeine has variable metabolism. Even coffee in the morning can affect sleep at night….in some people. Consider elimination trial.
- Limit sugar/processed sweets: Sugar laden diets trigger wild swings in insulin at night. These swings lead to relative hypoglycemia (low sugar in the blood) and a stress response. This causes waking episodes.
- Relax!: Hot, Hot showers/bath followed by a brief cold water exposure can relax the body. Tai chi, Yoga, or focused meditation can reap benefits. How to relieve stress