Posted by & filed under Acupuncture, Insomnia, Stress.

According to NHS Choices, insomnia is the  ‘difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep for long enough to feel refreshed the next morning, even though you’ve had enough opportunity to sleep.’
As much as 1 in 3 people in the UK have suffered from insomnia within the last 12 months. Common signs and symptoms of insomnia are:
  • difficulty falling asleep
  • waking up during the night
  • waking up early in the morning
  • feeling irritable and tired and finding it difficult to function during the day

Insomnia can be very debilitating and have some effects in all areas of life, such as work and relationship, as the tiredness get deeper….

6 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Sleep

1. Consider Acupuncture:

Acupuncture is generally a very relaxing therapy and will help you manage the stress of daily life so it doesn’t mess up with your sleep. Its other strength is that it will help treat the root cause of your problems rather than just knocking you out for the night.

Recent research has shown that acupuncture is efficient in treating insomnia and is superior to Trazodone with milder adverse reactions.  Similar results were found in another randomized controlled trial and in a systematic review.

2. Have a nice routine before going to bed:

Try and go to bed at about the same time every night, well before midnight to encourage a good quality sleep. Ensure that the environment you sleep in is conductive to sleep. No light, electronic devices or TV on standby, no mobile phone next to your bed.

On the other side, reading a book, having a relaxing bath can encourage sleep.

3. Avoid stimulants:

Some foods such as coffee, tea or chocolate can stops you from falling asleep. Alcohol can also disturb your sleep so a glass of wine to help you relax might not be the solution to your problem.

Be aware that exercise and watching TV can also act as a stimulant.
Eating late at night can keep you awake. It is better to avoid food after 7.00pm.

4. Have a look at your diet:

Nutrition is very important but just avoiding stimulants such as coffee might not be enough. Some foods can increase irritability and make us more sensitive to stress. This includes coffee but it might be that hot spicy foods aren’t suitable for you either. Sometimes, the reason for the insomnia is just plain tiredness. It is really the ‘too tired to get to sleep’ situation. In that case, a nourishing diet will help you recover your energy and solve your sleep issue at the same time.

Because this is such a personal thing, it is best to ask for some advice from a professional. Your acupuncturist will be able to offer you some guidance as to which diet would be more suitable for you.

5. Ensure your neither too hot nor too cold:

Feeling cold or being too hot can both prevent you from falling asleep or can wake you up at night. Ensure that the temperature on your room is suitable and that you have enough covers.

Be careful when you take a shower/bath in the evening that you don’t feel either too hot or too cold after it.

6. Learn to relax

Exercise during the day is a really good way to keep in shape and reduce stress levels.

You can also try yoga or TaiChi for a gentle exercise that will help you relax at the same time. Massage can also be really good. And some techniques such as meditation or visualization at bed time also work well.
As a general rule, if you have been  suffering from insomnia for a while and no self-help techniques is helping you, it is best to go and see your GP to check that there is no underlying medical condition at the root of your problem. Also remember that some medications, such as HRT, medication for high blood pressure or antidepressants, can cause insomnia so it might be worth checking those too.
You might also like:
Image: janinieomg via Flickr.

Comments are closed.