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Beyond Counting Sheep-People: Understanding and Overcoming Insomnia

2023-11-02
Language:French (Français)
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Insomnia is characterized by the inability to either fall asleep, stay asleep for the desired duration or get good quality sleep. The result is that insomnia casts a shadow that extends into the day.

Dr. Karan Rajan, a surgeon with the National Health Service in the UK, has identified five prevalent habits that can hinder getting restorative, deep sleep. The first habit he highlights is the consumption of excessive food before bedtime.

The second habit to consider is water consumption. American sleep physician Dr. Jessica Vensel Rundo says, “As a general rule, drink less than a glass of water in those last two hours before bedtime if you have to. And drink small sips.”

We now move on to the third habit, which is temperature. Dedicating as little as 10 minutes to a warm bath within an hour or two before bedtime has been scientifically shown to offer several advantages. In scientific literature, this phenomenon is frequently referred to as the “warm bath effect.” It dilates the skin’s blood vessels and releases heat. These benefits encompass a decrease in the time needed to fall asleep, an extension of the initial sleep duration, and an increase in the duration of deep sleep.

Another habit to consider is alcohol consumption. Here's why: alcohol disrupts rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, a vital phase for quality sleep due to its role in memory consolidation, emotional regulation, and cognitive function.

Lastly, the fifth habit to consider is caffeine consumption, which can keep a person alert before bedtime. It is generally recommended to avoid caffeine consumption for at least eight hours before bedtime since its stimulating effects may persist for up to five hours or even longer.

Sleep regularity, which is a part of sleep hygiene, is at its best when an individual adheres to a consistent schedule of going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, including weekends. This practice not only helps maintain the body's circadian rhythm but also regulates other bodily functions, such as appetite and digestion. Dr. Walker further advises that if restlessness strikes during the night, it's beneficial to engage in low-stress activities, such as meditation or a leisurely walk. He emphasizes that there's no need to be overly concerned about occasional sleeplessness. Instead, it's advisable to relax and try again later. Finally, the pleasant fragrances emanating from essential oils possess the capacity to soothe our senses, calm the mind, and facilitate entry into a profoundly restful state of sleep.
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