What is insomnia?
Insomnia is one of the most common problems today. Based on the data provided in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine and the study conducted by the journal Sleep we can extract revealing data:
- One in four people in the world suffer from insomnia.
- Among the inhabitants of developing countries the highest rates of this disease are registered (Santiago de Chile, Poland, South Africa have values between 30% and 40%).
- The characteristics of the disorder vary by gender. Women who suffer from insomnia take drugs to fall asleep and suffer from sleepiness in greater proportion than men.
- With age the symptoms become worse, an adult in his 50s enjoys only 50% of the deep sleep he had in adolescence.
- It is a serious public health problem and has gone unnoticed because we have normalized sleep deprivation in our lives.
How do we know if we have insomnia?
The time it takes us to fall asleep can be unequivocal proof in the recognition of this disease.
If it takes less than 5 minutes to fall asleep it is a sign that our body is very tired and we should go to bed earlier, to rest more hours.
If, on the other hand, you stay awake for more than 12 minutes turning in bed, you can say that you suffer from insomnia, ideally taking between 8 and 12 minutes.
How to combat insomnia?
There are a number of essential recommendations for maintaining proper sleep hygiene, starting with those that are related to our environment:
- Maintaining a tidy bedroom is essential because the disorder causes stress unconsciously, you should reduce as much as possible all factors that cause an increase in stress.
- Isolation from light and excessive noise is recommended so as not to hinder or disrupt sleep.
- To control the temperature, it is necessary to maintain a stable and pleasant environment.
- We should not work or eat in bed, we have to consider that our bedroom is a sanctuary, our mind has to get used to relate acts that evoke rest in this environment.
- Comfort is a decisive factor. Resting on a comfortable mattress in the right posture ensures that we will take better advantage of sleep hours and avoid muscle aches upon awakening.
Here are some recommendations that have more to do with ourselves and the habits that influence us physically and mentally:
- Developing a routine will help us to prepare, eventually our body will understand that when this series of events happens it is because the moment of rest is approaching.
- Performing a sport, when we exercise our body produces a greater amount of serotonin which influences not only the quality of our sleep but also our mood.
- A hot bath or shower helps to stabilize the body temperature and relax the muscles.
- Practice meditation and relaxation exercises to help us control our breathing. A very effective exercise is to lie on your back with your hands and legs extended and inhale deeply and exhale more and more slowly until you notice that your body becomes heavier.
- Turn off the TV and Smartphone, we must minimize external stimuli that can distract and overexcite our brain.
- Playing mind games. The familiar sheep counting trick can be effective because our brain needs an activity that will help ease anxiety and keep you busy by keeping you away from other thoughts.
- Avoid copious dinners and do not sleep on an empty stomach. We must eat low-fat foods that are high in tryptophan that will increase our serotonin levels.
- Stimulants such as coffee, tea, chocolate, alcohol, tobacco, sweet or spicy foods, red meat and snacks should not be consumed.
- Infusions. We can achieve good results if we take advantage of the therapeutic qualities of the different plants available, in this list appear some of them and their properties:
Valerian: It has a high sedative power so it is recommended to take it only at night and in moderation.
Lettuce: Helps combat anxiety and soothes muscle and joint pain.
Linden: Anxiolytic and sedative, reduces spasms and muscle tension.
Chamomile: Works as an anti-inflammatory, sedative, digestive and is also effective in cases of gastritis or ulcers and reduces severe menstrual pain.
Passionflower: used as an anxiolytic, antispasmodic, analgesic and sedative. Reduces stress and other emotional imbalances related to stress and depression.
*Note: It is recommended to sweeten preferably with honey as this will increase the healing power of the infusions.
- Aromatherapy: The use of essences and oils is recommended for massages, air conditioning in the bedroom, bath water, or also to impregnate the sheet and pillows. Some of the most used are:
Lavender: Well known for its relaxing power, calms headache, muscles and joints.
Orange blossom: Sedative, helps with headache and menstrual cramps.
Marjoram: Used to treat nervous system problems such as tachycardia and nervous asthma.
Rosa Silvestre: Effective in cases of depression, sadness and tension.
Anxiety, stress, depression and physical pain are the main causes of insomnia and as we have seen all the recommendations and remedies are aimed at reducing them.
Some of the problems deriving from this disease are drowsiness, which makes it difficult to carry out our daily tasks.
In addition to bad mood, mental health problems, the risk of obesity, diabetes, blood pressure problems and hormonal imbalances are other disorders related to insomnia, and can even be the cause of work-related accidents and traffic.
Therefore, since it is impossible to escape from the weight of everyday loads, it is recommended to follow these tips to minimize the impact of insomnia on our lives.