Insomnia is killing us. We are tired and tired of being tired.
SYMPTOMS—Inability to get to sleep, night after night.
CAUSES—If it only happens once in a while, it is sleeplessness; if it happens for weeks or months, it is insomnia. It is said that, to one degree or another, 100 million Americans have insomnia and take 600 tons of sleeping pills each year to avoid it. About seven times as many women as men experience the problem. Sleeping pills are second only to aspirin sales in the U.S.
Side effects from sleeping pills include anxiety, depression, skin rashes, irritability, loss of appetite, poor coordination, digestive disturbances, difficulty with vision, confusion, dizziness, high blood pressure, circulatory and respiration disorders, breakdown of parts of the blood (such as the white blood cells which fight infection), damage to the central nervous system, memory problems, and liver and kidney damage.
The experts tell us that if you go to bed on time, have a current of fresh air in the room, and lie there quietly—you will get enough rest even though you do not seem to fall asleep as quickly as you might wish. Many people who report not getting to sleep at night actually slept quite a bit without realizing it.
Many people have a hard time getting to sleep at night because of restless leg syndrome (634). These people are awakened by legs which twitch or kick.
Overeating, eating too close to bedtime, and eating bad food can produce sleeplessness or insomnia. Systemic disorders in the heart, liver, kidneys, pancreas, lungs, digestive organs, endocrines, and brain can all affect sleep.
NATURAL REMEDIES FOR INSOMNIA
• Eat nutritious food, and let breakfast and lunch be your main meals. Only eat lightly in the evening, several hours before bedtime.
• Foods with the amino acid, tryptophan, promote sleep. These include figs, dates, and whole grain crackers.
• Take calcium (2,000 mg) and magnesium (250 mg). A lack of them can cause you to wake up after a few hours and be unable to return to sleep.
• Take B complex, vitamin B6 (50 mg), pantothenic acid (100 mg), niacinamide (500 mg), inositol (600 mg), and vitamin C (1,000 mg in divided doses)
• Avoid complicated and indigestible foods (including meat) before bedtime. Better yet, keep those junk foods entirely out of your diet. Do not eat eggplant, potatoes, sugar, spinach, or tomatoes before retiring. They contain tyramine, which increases the release of norepinephrine, a brain stimulant.
• Other foods which can cause insomnia and keep people awake include fatty foods, sugar, white flour, salt, monosodium glutamate (MSG), chemical preservatives, additives, and allergenic foods.
• Stop eating cheese, bacon, chocolate, ham, sausage, and wine.
• Alcohol, barbiturates, and hypnotics do not solve the sleep problem, but only worsen it. Alcohol disrupts sleep later in the night. Nicotine appears to be calming, but it is actually a neuro-stimulant.
• The following substances, taken during the day, excite the brain and prevent good sleep at night: caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and aspartame (NutraSweet). Meat eaten for supper will keep you awake.
• Do not take nasal decongestants and other cold medications. They stimulate many people and keep them from getting to sleep.
• The following drugs will keep you awake at night: Anacin, Exedrin, Triaminic, antidepressant drugs, some birth-control pills, many asthma drugs, Dopar (for Parkinson’s), steroids, chemotherapy, tranquilizers, drugs for high blood pressure, and amphetamines.
• Sunlight during the day helps you sleep at night. Upon awakening, open the shades and let the sunlight in. Eat breakfast near a sunlit window. Avoid dark glasses in the morning and late in the day.
• Studies reveal that, in countries where people regularly nap during the day, there are fewer accidents and productivity is higher. The important factor here is consistency. Be regular in your hours for sleep at night. If you nap during the day, be regular in that. Naps before meals are better than naps afterward.
• If you are wakeful one night: Do not nap the next day, and you will be more likely to go right to sleep that night. If you find yourself very sleepy, go to bed early.
BEFORE BEDTIME (FOR INSOMNIA)
• Take a hot bath (instead of a shower) an hour or two before bedtime.
• Before bedtime go outside and walk around quietly in the fresh air for 30 to 45 minutes.
• Some people need to have the bedroom quiet. Others need some sound to mask background noise. In such cases, having a fan turned on works well.
• Trust in God. He promises to give His beloved rest.
• For some people, daytime naps make it more difficult to sleep at night. But, for some older people, a little rest before mealtime during the day helps them; so that any sleeplessness at night never fatigues them.
• Some take melatonin or calcium to help them go to sleep. Both promote sleep. Taking melatonin products continually can stop production of your own melatonin!
• Do not take sleeping pills. They contain pain relievers, such as bromides, antihistamines, and/or scopolamine. These are ineffective. They produce unpleasant side effects and interfere with normal brain functioning, causing poor-quality sleep. They can produce a hangover, so you cannot work as well the next day. The brain quickly adapts to the drug; so, after 4-6 weeks they are no longer effective, unless you take more. The easiest way to overcome the habit of taking sleeping pills is go on herb teas at the same time.
HERBS BEFORE BEDTIME FOR INSOMNIA
Excellent herbal teas which help increase sleepiness are included along with
What to do during the night
and Maintaining your Melatonin levels