Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is characterized by difficulty falling and/or staying asleep. Over one third of people experience insomnia from time to time, but only around five per cent need treatment for the condition.
Different types of insomnia
The broad categories of sleep disorders are:
- Transient (temporary) insomnia – may last a week or so and can be linked to change of time zone from long-distance travel.
- Short-term insomnia – disruptive sleep for a few months and may be triggered by stressful events, pain or illness.
- Chronic (long term) insomnia – disruptive sleep persisting for more than a few months and often for years. This may be genetic, neurological, hormonal or associated with sleep apnea.
Good quality sleep is a restorative process for your whole body and is essential for health and adrenal function. Not being able to sleep is distressing and often the more you try to sleep the more agitated you become. The more you worry, think and talk about sleep – the more sleep eludes you. If you have inadequate or poor quality sleep your risk of cancer, obesity and serious accidents goes up.
What are the signs?
Signs of insomnia include trouble falling asleep, waking repeatedly during the night and not being able to get back to sleep, waking up very early and not getting back to sleep. Another problem is non-restorative sleep resulting in severe fatigue, irritability, moodiness, poor concentration/memory and reduced functioning during the day.
Causes of insomnia and what to do about them
There’s always a cause. The cause may include genetic factors, brain inflammation, unhealthy gut microbiome, nutritional deficiencies, depression, anxiety, neurological problems with the brain’s system that controls sleep, lack of sex hormones during and after menopause or inadequate production of the sleep hormone called melatonin. You may have poor sleep strategies meaning that you simply prefer other nocturnal activities rather than sleep. There are quite a lot of other causes and as you can see getting proper sleep can be a huge challenge – but you must sleep!
There are around 68 factors that impede restorative sleep and these are listed in the book “Tired of Not Sleeping?” When you look at the long list of causes in this section, you may wonder how any of us get to sleep in the first place.
- “Tired of Not Sleeping?” providing a holistic program for a good night’s sleep.
- “Magnesium – The Miracle Mineral”. This book discusses Magnesium as being essential for hundreds of chemical reactions that take place in the body every second, with recent findings also indicating that it offers a wide range of important health-promoting benefits. See page 9 for these benefits.
- “Raw Juices Can Save Your Life”. Try the Insomnia Juice recipe from the book.
- 3 large outer leaves of lettuce
- 1 pear or 1 apple
- 1 carrot
- 1 sweet potato (kumara)
- 1/4 – 1/2 medium bulb of fennel
- 1 grapefruit
- Wash, trim and chop and pass through juicer.
- Drink 16 oz (0.5 liter) daily, with half in the morning and half in the mid afternoon.
Recommended supplements for insomnia
- Sleep Eze
Take 1 – 4 tablets at sunset. Sleep Eze contains the natural sleep hormone melatonin. This natural hormone is not habit forming and unlike sleeping tablets, does not produce a hangover effect in the morning.
- Magnesium Tablets or Magnesium Powder
Take 2 – 4 tablets taken 1/2 an hour before bed or 1 teaspoon of powder. Recommended for many physical and emotional disorders. Studies show that magnesium supplementation improves sleep quality by increasing slow wave sleep and decreasing adrenal stress hormones. It is a great relaxer.
- Hormone therapy in the form of bio-identical estrogen and progesterone creams can help to restore sleep in menopausal women.
- Relaxation, meditation, hypnotherapy, acupuncture, acupressure, aromatherapy, and other natural therapies can be helpful, along with medications for sleeping and depression such as anti- depressant drugs and sleeping pills. A small dose of phenergan or amitryptiline taken at 8 o’clock at night can give you 8 hours of sleep.
- Avoid stimulants such as coffee, tea, sugar, sweet foods and alcohol during the evening, and avoid drinking excess water during the 2 hours before bed.
- Regular exercise can improve sleep quality.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.