Reasons you are not sleeping

01 March, 2019


Sleep is a talking point in most people’s lives and there always seems to be something else to say about it. This blog will focus on the question "Why can’t I sleep?"

Like most people I need my sleep and any disturbance in my sleep leaves me out of kilter for several days. Personally the worst thing you could do to me is deprive me of my sleep for a few days – that would leave me incoherent very quickly!

Busy lives find us trying to pretend we need less sleep than we really do. We try to fit more and more into each day, not pausing to rest or take a breath. The reality for the majority of us is we need between 7 – 9 hours’ sleep every night. Sleep is imperative to our well-being.

What happens if we don’t get our sleep?

  • The immune system becomes compromised
  • Hormone balances are disturbed
  • Blood pressure can be affected
  • Chronic diseases become more likely. Such as:
    • Heart disease
    • Diabetes
    • Obesity

When we have disrupted sleep there are a number of factors that contribute. It is normal to have the occasional night of poor sleep but it is not normal or healthy to experience this night after night.

The Reasons we don’t sleep

  • Illness:
    • Gut issues
    • Medication
    • Hormone imbalances
  • Stress:
    • Busy lives can make it hard to relax
    • Over active minds can’t switch off
    • Anxiety about:
      • Work
      • Family
      • Relationships
      • Health
      • Finances
  • Diet:
    • Eating heavy meals late at night
    • Being hungry at night
    • Drinking alcohol
    • Caffeine food/drinks
  • Bedroom conditions:
    • Too much light
    • Uncomfortable bed
    • Cluttered space
    • Snoring partner
  • Fighting our body clocks:
    • Trying to survive on less sleep than we really need
    • Not having a regular routine
    • Not accepting our body needs – if you need to go to bed at 10pm then go and don’t try and stay up till 3am! Equally if you need to sleep later in the morning but stay up later at night and that is your natural rhythm that is the way it is.

Sleep solutions

Gut issues

A disturbed gut does not bode well for a restful sleep. Inulin works both as a probiotic to soothe the gut but also to encourage sleep. Good gut health is something that everyone needs, inulin acts as a prebiotic – a food source for good bacteria. This helps your gut maintain the right balance of bacteria and work efficiently.

The BBC’s Dr Michael Mosely used Inulin in a sleep trial and rated it 9/10 as a sleep solution. The product was also highly endorsed by Angela Rippon. Watch a clip of her programme here! Inulin offers you the benefits of good gut heath and better sleep a great combination!

Hormone Imbalances

Some women experience sleep problems during the menopause – magnesium supplements work wonders for many of my patients. Restless legs, tension and inability to sleep can all be eased by taking magnesium. EFSA recognise that magnesium contributes to:

  • A reduction of tiredness and fatigue
  • Normal energy yielding metabolism
  • Normal functioning of the immune system
  • Normal muscle function
  • Maintenance of normal bones and teeth
  • Normal psychological function

Melatonin is a chemical that is a vital part of our sleep cycle. It helps us prepare for sleep by making us sleepy and it is produced in the evening. Our supply of melatonin can be disrupted by shift work where we don’t follow our body’s natural rhythm. Cherry juice is a good source of melatonin.

A disturbance within your thyroid can really upset your sleep pattern. Those that suffer overactive thyroid symptoms simply cannot sit still. If you are excessively tired and have no energy you may be heading towards an underactive thyroid.

During the time I waiting to be diagnosed with an underactive thyroid I felt constantly exhausted. I managed my thyroid symptoms with a combination of supplements including thyroid and adrenal support. Taking appropriate treatment can redress the balance and return your sleep to normal.

Medication

Sometimes the medication you take can disrupt your sleep pattern. If this is the case use the suggested ideas in this article to help you.

Stress

We have written a number of blogs on stress. How to deal with Exam Stress, How to deal with anxiety and change and  Stress Awareness.

Stress affects so much of our body I have suggested a multi method approach. There may be days when one of these methods is enough and there may be days when you need all of them.

Lavender oil – put a few drops of oil on a tissue and place under your pillow so you breathe it in all night.

Magnesium – take a supplement a couple of hours before bed to ease you in to a good night’s sleep.

Sleepy time tea – makes sure you stop the caffeine earlier in the day and try a delicious tea like sleepy tea. The ingredients help support you relax and feel calm before bed. Make this part of your preparing for bed routine so that your body is starting to relax.

Epsom salts – why not take a soak in some Epsom salts ease those cramped muscles and take some time for you. Perfect!

Valerian - a traditional herb with positive associations supporting relaxation and aiding sleep.

Our friends at A.Vogel give you Dormesan. This is a formula that comprises both Valerian and Hops. This is a traditional use product that customers have expressed positive associations with. Customers say it is helpful at times of mild anxiety and helps you deal with temporary emotional upset.

Diet

Avoid heavy meals in the evening; it only puts your digestion into overdrive.

Alternatively, you could be hungry and that can keep you awake. Try some oatcakes and peanut butter as a pre-bed snack.

Alcohol may initially get you to sleep but your quality of sleep will be poor. Chances are you will wake in the night – I know I do and you will probably be dehydrated unless you have read my other blogs and know to drink lots of water before bed.

Caffeine loaded foods or drinks may get you through the day but they will keep you awake at night so don’t have them after midday. Swap to caffeine free and choose from our amazing selection of teas and alternative coffees.

Kiwi fruit are receiving credit for contributing to improved sleep. Research identified improved sleep quality and duration combined with a reduction in time to fall asleep. This was achieved by eating two kiwi fruit an hour before bed for one month.

Bedroom conditions

Make sure:

  • The temperature is not too hot or cold
  • Your room is not cluttered – how can you sleep in a mess?
  • Your bed is comfortable
  • You have blackout curtains or blinds
  • The technology is left outside the bedroom
  • Your partner’s snoring is managed

Body clocks

We all have a natural body rhythm, some people are night owls and others bounce out of bed at 5am very happily. I suspect most of us are somewhere in the middle. Whatever your body rhythms, make life easy for yourself and don’t fight it!

Sleep is such an essential part of our health regime it needs your attention. We hope you have found this informative and interesting and wish you a great night’s sleep.

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