How to get a good night’s sleep? Try these tips for improving sleep problems

“Sleep is the best meditation”

Dalai Lama

Insomnia – is just one of the things that can literally drive us mad.

Read below for hints for some easy sleep practices from Psychiatrist Dr. Johnson (and it is a big NO TO BLUE LIGHT!!)

We toss and turn in our beds, count sheep (does anyone do this still?) We get up and watch some television (alert-blue light) to try to get some sleep. This does not help. We go back on our i-phones (alert- blue light), but this does not and will not help!

In my clinical practice sleep disorders are just so common.

So which one comes first? Is it the worry and anxiety that disrupts our sleep or is it the lack of sleep that causes anxiety?

Well, studies have found that sleep and mental health problems are linked. It really is the chicken and egg scenario.  Sleep problems can lead to being anxious and worries, in turn, can disrupt your sleep.

We see sleep issues as a common symptom in mental health problems both on the mental health wards and now in the community. Sleep disorders are now so common. Nearly 1/4 of adults reporting mental health issues highlighting that now we are actually sleeping less than in previous decades.

Photo by Alexandra Gorn on Unsplash

WHY DO WE NEED TO SLEEP?

Well, it has been said that a good night’s sleep is one of the most healing practices for your body. Your blood pressure becomes lower from the day’s stresses. Your organs get a chance to rest.

Poor sleep and disrupted sleep problems can put you at high risk for the following conditions:

  1. increased blood pressure (hypertension)
  2. increased blood sugars (diabetes)
  3. obesity and weight gain 
  4. low mood and irritability

This all takes place as the body’s hormones levels are affected and disrupted.

In the medical field, insomnia is nearly always treated with medications such as sedatives.

But remember, these are short term fixes and can become addictive if taken for longer than needed. Few a short term matter they are fine but we do not advocate long term use. Therapy can be used, such as Cognitive Behavioural therapy or a combination of the two.

Photo by Bianca Berg on Unsplash

HINTS AND TIPS FOR BETTER NIGHT SLEEP?

We suggest

  1. WATER, WATER, WATER – Stay hydrated, try having all your water intake before 4 pm so bathroom trips don’t keep you up!
  2. Reducing your caffeine – your heart rate will increase, keeping you alert and awake
  3. Reduce alcohol – thinking a glass of wine or three will help? The sugars in alcohol will keep you awake, not to mention the effect on your sleep hormones.
  4. Reaching for those blue light boxes before bedtime? Blue light wavelengths are emitted from our phones, TV’s and tablets and in turn, this keeps your brain switched “on”. This then sends a signal to your again disrupting the sleep hormones, namely melatonin to be reduced in production. melatonin influences our circadian rhythms, our sleep patterns and so the whole cycle goes out of sync.
  5. Harvard researchers and their colleagues conducted an experiment comparing the effects of 6.5 hours of exposure to blue light against exposure to the green light for comparison. The research showed that the blue light suppressed melatonin for about twice as long as the green light and shifted circadian rhythms by twice as much (3 hours vs. 1.5 hours). Blue light wavelengths do seem to be a prominent culprit for more sleep disorders. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side

HOW DO WE GET MORE SLEEP THE NATURAL WAY?

The bottom line – Chronic insomnia must be addressed as it really can affect your day to day functioning.

We now know that treating sleep problems without taking steps to manage the underlying causes such as anxiety or depression is unlikely to have any real long term impact.

It might be worth getting a full blood check-up from your GP or Your physician to address any medical conditions that could be present.

FINALLY

SEEK help –  THE ABOVE HINTS AND TIPS ARE SIMPLE AND EASY TO DO.

BUT SOMETIMES THE ANXIETY AND WORRIES ARE OVER-WHELMED  AND EXTERNAL HELP IS NEEDED.

ALWAYS ASK FOR HELP FROM YOUR DOCTOR IF YOUR WORRIES ARE LINKED TO LOW MOOD AND FEELINGS OF SELF HARM 

Closing Thoughts:

Articles on Ayuvissa are for bringing awareness to healthy and balanced living and spreading the magic of Ayurveda. Please do not substitute for professional medical advice.

Always consult your own medical physician or an Ayurvedic doctor/ practitioner.

Disclosure: This is a medical professional review blog which does receive compensation for the products or services reviewed by Dr. Johnson by the companies who produce them. All of the products and services are tested thoroughly.  We are an independent blogging site and the reviews are done based on our own opinions.