Note from Jennifer: Today’s post comes from freelance writer, Jessica Socheski.
Sleep is the #1 catalyst to me having a good day or a bad one. My body is just learning to function again, and lack of sleep can send me into a tailspin of fatigue that will take me out for at least one entire day.
I also monitor the sleep of my clients closely. Deep healing cannot occur without functional sleep.
More than 30% of adults have trouble sleeping and receive less sleep than the recommended 7 to 9 hours per night.
Although nearly one third of the population suffers from sleep ailments, most choose to ignore the problem and just endure it. But after suffering through drowsy days and frustrating nights, a lack of sleep leads to difficulty focusing which can have hazardous results.
Even worse, those experiencing an insufficiency of sleep are prone to bodily diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity.
Instead of suffering through restless nights, finding a way to ensure necessary hours of sleep can add years to your life.
Trouble sleeping can also stem from an actual disorder such as insomnia, restless leg syndrome, narcolepsy, or sleep apnea.
If any of these symptoms sound familiar, they are all legitimate sicknesses, and you should probably consult your doctor or find a primary care physician to help.
(Note from Jennifer: While sleep apnea and narcolepsy need to be monitored closely, a qualified holistic practitioner can often help you reverse these conditions. Restless leg syndrome and insomnia are often a result of chronic nutrient deficiencies and can be corrected with diet, digestion, and nutrient supplementation.)
Insomnia, the most common sleep disorder, is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep. In many cases, insomnia is due to an underlying health related issues such as stress, anxiety, depression, or a deeper health condition.
Common symptoms include frequently waking up at night, sleep feeling light or fragmented, needing sleeping pills to fall asleep, daytime drowsiness, or difficulty falling asleep.
Restless leg syndrome is the leg’s urge to twitch while falling asleep. While many adults experience this at one time or another, if the twitching becomes severe enough it actually hinders sleep and becomes a disorder.
Narcolepsy involves excessive or uncontrollable sleepiness. This actually stems from a dysfunction with the brain’s ability to awaken and sleep.
•hallucinations before fully falling asleep
•loss of muscle control
•dreaming as soon as fully asleep
•feeling paralyzed and unable to move when waking or dozing
Sleep apnea is another disorder where the body temporarily stops breathing due to upper airway blockages. Because the pauses in breathing interrupt sleep, most people awake each hour and are exhausted the next day.
Symptoms can occur such as:
•pauses in breathing during sleep
•gasping or choking during sleep
•feeling exhausted after waking and sleeping
•waking up with shortness of breath, headaches, or chest pains
Home Sleep Remedies
If sleep interruption is due to stress, anxiety, or being unable to shut off the brain, minor routine changes can provide a better night’s rest.
Sleep disturbances might be caused by a diet deficiency like a lack of magnesium. (Note from Jennifer: Restless leg syndrome and insomnia can be greatly reduced or eliminated by removing allergens and processed foods from the diet and increasing magnesium intake.)
The human body requires this mineral to survive because magnesium is a key player in hundreds of the body’s enzymatic reactions and plays an important part in the cardiovascular system and energy production.
You can find recipes to help replace this essential nutrient back into your body.
Exercising helps release bodily tension which can hinder sleep. Furthermore, exercise tires out the body and muscles which can help encourage a deeper sleep that night. And, if the inability to sleep is due to a health related issue such as hypertension or obesity, exercise will improve those conditions as well as improving sleep.
Using or reading electronics in bed can stimulate the brain to remain awake and unprepared for sleep. Try reading a book or the newspaper before bed instead to prepare the mind for rest.
Try showering at night rather than in the morning because the warmth of a shower relaxes the mind and the body’s muscles.
The inability to sleep is a health ailment and should be treated rather than ignored. But with a doctor’s advice, some basic knowledge and a pre-bedtime routine, you can soon be on your way to a better night’s rest.
Jessica Socheski is a freelance writer who loves researching healthcare and wellness.
You can find her at The Teaching Box where she edits or on Twitter.