Natural Sleep Remedies for Stress Insomnia
One of the greatest challenges being faced in modern day life is trying to find a balance between doing what feels like a thousand things each day and being all things to all people. Today we are living much more complicated lives than we were even a decade ago. Our days are busier, the demands made upon us are greater and with the advances in technology we are more often than not ‘plugged in’ via email, messaging platforms and social media to friends and colleagues for long periods of time. Anthropologically the human species may be in a process of learning how to adapt, however whilst in this phase of transition many people are suffering from higher levels of stress and this is increasingly interfering with natural sleeping patterns and affecting health and wellbeing.
Stress is the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure. We are all vulnerable to stress, depending on the level of sustained pressure we are under at any given time. If excessive pressure continues for an extended period it leads to stress, which in turn may lead to mental and physical ill health. An increasing symptom of high levels of stress is periodic bouts of insomnia. This is because stress has can negatively interfere with your ability to initiate and maintain sleep. It may also affect the composition of your sleep stages, reducing your periods of deep sleep, leaving you in lighter phases of sleep and therefore more susceptible to environmental disruption such as from external noise and light. If you have reached this point, here are 3 natural sleep remedies that you can implement immediately to alleviate your insomnia.
No. 1: Isolate the source of your sleep problem.
If your insomnia appears to come and go in line with a notable occurrence or a particular set of circumstances, then your first remedy is to simply undertake the practice of “just watching”, that is to pay close attention to your life and personal circumstances. By acting as a sleep detective you can clearly identify your insomnia triggers; once identified you then need to take some form of action, no matter how small, to minimize the stressor and your bout of insomnia will quickly diminish.
No. 2: Develop a wind down plan.
Stress induced insomnia can be relieved by the creation of a wind down ritual, particularly if you find that your mind is overactive with thoughts of the day and the myriad of tasks that need to be completed over the forthcoming next few days. A wind down plan acts as a natural and powerful psychological signal to slow down your brain’s stimulating and activating processes. Your plan may include:
(a) Dimming the lights. Melatonin, is a naturally occurring hormone produced by the pineal gland, and is a powerful antioxidant that acts to regulate our sleep and wake cycles. The body produces more melatonin in the evening, in response to less light, and maintains higher levels over night, which encourages sleep.
(b) Consciously prepping for the next day. By taking time out to wind up your day you signal to yourself that you are entering your wind down zone. Activities may include, sorting your clothes for the next day, packing your bag, cleaning your shoes or simply compiling a to do list for tomorrow.
(c) Develop a ritual that prepares you for bed. Switch off your electronic items, layout your pyjamas, use the bathroom, wash your face, brush your teeth, put on your pyjamas, set the alarm clock and get into bed. Whatever going to bed ritual you create for yourself, the importance is to follow it routinely. These actions will then act as cues and triggers to your brain that it is time for relaxation and sleep.
No. 3: Eat for success.
It is highly documented that what you eat affects how you sleep. For example, stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine and foods high in sugar are associated with poor sleep. It goes without saying that if you are tossing and turning at night that you should consider identifying and reducing the amount of stimulants you ingest before bedtime. Global nutritional studies are indicating that super foods which are high in natural antioxidants mop up free radicals, reduce the stress hormone cortisol, calm brain activity, regulate our moods and relax nerve and muscle activity.
These three simple Natural Sleep Remedies practiced over a period of two to three weeks can have a positive effect on stress related insomnia. It is important to note that if your insomnia persists to the extent that it is having a direct impact on your daily life, the way you feel and are able to function during the day you should think about speaking to your doctor or health advisor.