Information about sleeping problems, causes and cures

12 June 2016  |  Editor

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Information about sleeping problems, causes and cures

There are many reasons for insomnia :

Departing from natural sleeping hours by working extremely long hours for a while, or working shifts, throws the ‘body clock’ out of rhythm. This is sometimes unavoidable and has to be worked around as much as possible.

A common reason for insomnia is hypoglycaemia, which is why some people wake up in the middle of the night or early morning feeling hungry. If the blood glucose falls too low it is a potentially dangerous situation for the brain, which is highly dependent on glucose for energy, and a drop in glucose levels promotes the release of glucose regulating hormones (adrenalin, glucagon, cortisol and growth hormone) and this wakes you up. For these people it is important to eat the right kind of food in the evening, which is slow releasing and will give long-lasting, steady energy. Also take the supplements mentioned below, all of which in combination will help. 

Other contributing factors are caffeine drinks (coffee, tea, cola, cocoa) which cause an adrenalin rush in the body and wakes it up. Chocolate does the same thing.

Excess use of salt has also been frequently associated with insomnia. Many sufferers are completely cured by this dietary change alone.

Vitamin B deficiency is associated with general stress syndromes and insomnia. This may be due to the overconsumption of refined carbohydrates, which have been stripped of most of their nutrients, but which need 15 vitamins and minerals to be digested properly. This means that when you eat refined foods you end up with a vitamin and mineral deficit.

Stress itself depletes B and C vitamins and magnesium, among others, as the adrenal glands are overstimulated.

Calcium deficiency due to poor absorption or nutritional deficiency is a common factor in insomnia. Calcium (with magnesium) supplementation at bedtime frequently cures sleep disorders.

Any food allergy may cause poor sleeping and insomnia. Foods causing allergic reactions are known to increase heart rate among other reactions, causing or aggravating insomnia. Food additives, colourings and preservatives should also be avoided.

Heavy metal poisoning (lead poisoning , mercury toxicity) is a well documented cause of nervousness, mental confusion, irritability, emotional disturbance and sleep disorders. You could begin by not using aluminium pots and pans for cooking, and exchanging them for stainless steel or glass. Avoid exercising by busy roads, using antacids, having new amalgam dental fillings, using aluminium foil in cooking and drinking water straight from the tap. Wash all vegetables and fruit before eating. Gradually Blue Green Algae plus a top quality multi-vitamin and mineral supplement will eliminate stored heavy metals from the body.

Nutrition Facts & Diet for insomnia

Consider the following nutrition guidelines:

  • Exclude all caffeine beverages or foods (coffee, tea, colas, chocolate).
  • Avoid stimulent drugs, painkillers containing caffeine, cigarettes, or alcohol.
  • Avoid all refined carbohydrates, especially sugar, pastries, white flour, white rice, etc.
  • Food additives, preservatives, colourings, and pesticides may also need to be eliminated, especially in children.
  • Specific allergies may need to be tracked down and eliminated.
  • The evening meal should be moderate in size. Overeating at supper may cause sleeping difficulties and nightmares. The foods eaten in the evening should be soothing in nature, with simple, compatible food combinations and sufficient sources of B complex, calcium and magnesium. If you are not sensitive to dairy produce, a large glass of warm milk may be helpful just before bed, due to its tryptophan content, an amino acid found useful in inducing a safe, natural sleep without suppressing the REM and delta cycles.
  • Investigate heavy metal toxicity.

Other suggestions:

  • If you are under pressure from homework of any kind, work to a reasonable hour and get up earlier to finish it.
  • Always allow at least an hour of recreation before you go to bed. Music, conversation, a good book or some light-hearted television or radio may suit you. A relaxing walk or even a brisk jog is sometimes what you need.
  • A medium hot bath with lavender oil, or sandalwood, is a good end to the day.
  • Hot foot baths draw the blood away from the head, making sleep easier.
  • Foot or general massage.
  • Meditation or candle gazing.
  • Relaxation techniques.
  • Hops-filled pillow.

Sedative herbs: Passiflora, skullcap or valerian.
Mild sedative herbs: chamomile tea, hops, avena sativa.