February Sleep Challenge: Part 2
I hope you have been waiting for these last 5 causes of insomnia and the lifestyle changes you can make to improve upon them. I write about sleep a lot because I think it is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves. I have a post-it above my desk that says “Take care of people” to remind me to do what is best for people no matter what. I think we should all have our own post-it, maybe on the bathroom mirror, that says “Take care of yourself”. Are you taking care of yourself?
Let's recap then continue on to today’s causes of insomnia and potential solutions:
- Anxiety or depression
- Acid Reﬂux
- Sleep Apnea
- Medication Use
- Overstimulation. This is caused by too much exposure to lights and sounds at night. Instituting a bedtime routine that requires you to turn off televisions and other screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime is a good start. Use this time to tidy up your home from the day’s use or to take a relaxing bath with epsom salts (which can also relieve anxiety).
- Circadian Rhythm Disturbances. This is generally caused by shift work or travel. I’m know there are jobs that require shift work-- but I think in instances that don’t require it, it should be avoided at all costs because it is extremely detrimental to your health. Many people ﬁnd it useful to take melatonin when they are ready to sleep because the release of melatonin is the body’s natural signal that it is time for sleep. This is actually one of the few times that I recommend supplements for sleep.
- Menopause. Insomnia is more common in females after menopause and one reason for this is the drop in Progesterone. This hormone is calming and has a metabolite that crosses the blood-brain barrier and causes relaxation. One of the ﬁrst things that typically improves from hormone replacement therapy is sleep (even though many marketers would have you believe it is weight loss or libido). If your hormones are not where they need to be, I recommend you have them checked. We do hormone testing at The Pill Box Pharmacy and can work with your physician to get you the help you need. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about this.
- Allergies. Oh the misery! We all know it is impossible to sleep with an inﬂamed, runny nose. Non-drug remedies include Breath-Right nasal strips to help open nasal passages, taking a shower before bed, and washing sheets regularly to start. Also, this is a useful time to take something like Aller-Calm from Wellness Works to decrease your allergic response and inﬂammation. This supplement is an herbal blend that ﬁghts allergy symptoms from multiple directions and can be a useful addition to your allergy regimen.
- Restless Leg Syndrome. If you have restless legs you know how impossible sleep can become. I suffered with this for YEARS before I ﬁnally got it under control (drug-free!) and here is how I managed it. First, I tracked it. I tried to notice trends that seemed to cause it or exacerbate it and here is what I discovered-- caffeine made it worse, weight gain made it worse and being sedentary during the day made it worse. So, I cut off caffeine after 4 p.m. and I have a trigger weight, which is a number on the scale that I ﬁnd unacceptable. If I reach that number I know it is time to buckle down on my carbohydrate intake and lose a few pounds. Finally, I see a chiropractor regularly-- this was actually the ﬁrst step to recovery for me and the other things are more of a maintenance issue at this point.
So, there you have them. These 10 common causes of insomnia may be keeping you up at night. Did you ﬁnd these tips helpful? Or do you think these articles are a waste of your (and my) time? Let us know by commenting below.