Tips For Fighting Insomnia

Tips For Fighting Insomnia
  • Heat and habit changes increase sleep problems, especially affecting children, the elderly, and women.
  • Lack of sleep makes it difficult to concentrate and is associated with an increase in traffic accidents, stress and irritability.
Tips For Fighting Insomnia
  1. Avoid intense exercise before going to bed.
  2. Creating a relaxed atmosphere in the bedroom.
  3. Avoid objects and factors that may awaken us.
  4. Establish positive routines associated with sleep.
  5. Associating mentally bed and sleep.
  6. Weatherize the bedroom.
  7. Avoid copious meals and alcohol before going to bed.
  8. Eating foods that make it easier to sleep.
  9. Take a short nap.
  10. Medicinal plants.

Increased daylight hours and summer temperatures can increase insomnia episodes. “Heat affects sleep as it causes an alteration in body thermo-regulation.

We are more restless and we move more. Thus, the body temperature does not adapt and one enters a vicious circle”, explains Alberto Sacristán, member of the Nutrition Group of the Spanish Society of Family and Community Medicine and member of the board of directors of the Research Centre on Phytotherapy (Infito).

“Children, women, the elderly and people with sleep disorders are those who suffer most from insomnia,” in the words of Milagros Merino, a member of the Spanish Sleep Society.

According to a survey carried out by Infito in which 1,400 people took part, 7 out of 10 Spaniards suffer from sleep disorders due to heat and changes in sleep habits that occur in the summer period.

The inability to fall asleep or maintain sleep has important consequences for people’s health and safety.

The most common is “a lack of concentration at work, tiredness and lack of energy. But it can also lead to anxiety, stress or irritability,” says Sacristan.

Merino, meanwhile, highlights the effects of excessive daytime sleepiness, often caused by a lack of rest at night. “In these cases you have to be careful because this symptom is one of the main causes of traffic and work accidents,” she explains.

Sleeping well in summer is a matter of temperature and habits. These are the advice of experts to combat insomnia and avoid its negative effects:

Tips For Fighting Insomnia

1. Avoid intense exercise before going to bed

Tips For Fighting Insomnia

The sport generates endorphins that can make it difficult to fall asleep immediately, so it is not recommended from eight o’clock in the afternoon.

It is indicated during the day, as moderate physical activity helps to stay fit and sleep better.

2. Creating a relaxed atmosphere in the bedroom

The room must be conditioned to facilitate rest. It is advisable to regulate the intensity of light and avoid radio, television or other devices that do not contribute to creating a climate of relaxation.

3. Avoid objects and factors that may awaken us

It is advisable to remove the mobile phones from the bedroom, close the windows to avoid outside noise and lower the blinds so that excess light does not interrupt sleep. It is not advisable for pets to sleep in the same room: they can move or emit sounds that unveil us.

4. Establish positive routines associated with sleep

Tips For Fighting Insomnia

Trying to go to bed always at the same time and after a shower with warm water are healthy habits that help prepare the mind for rest.

In addition, according to Merino, “the shower increases body temperature, followed by a compensatory cooling that helps to fall asleep.

5. Associating mentally bed and sleep

It is important not to use the bedroom as a place of work or for activities that are not related to rest.

6. Weatherize the bedroom

Leaving the air conditioning on all night is harmful. “It is not recommended, let alone directly, because it can cause a cold, angina and even cervical or lumbar contractures,” warns Sacristan.

Yes, it can be used before going to bed to regulate the temperature of the room, or to ventilate it by opening the windows minutes before going to bed.

7. Avoid copious meals and alcohol before going to bed.

“In summer, alcohol consumption increases and dinners occur later and are often more plentiful than usual. These factors are the perfect cocktail to have problems with sleep,” says Merino. In addition, drinking plenty of fluids before bedtime increases the urge to urinate, a need that can disrupt sleep.

8. Eating foods that make it easier to sleep

Bananas, eggs or milk “are foods rich in tryptophan that will help you sleep,” says Sacristan.

9. Take a short nap

Tips For Fighting Insomnia
Just Take a Nap!

A nap after a meal can compensate for the lack of rest during the night and reduce the consequences of insomnia such as stress or irritability, “although the hours of nighttime sleep are not recovered in the nap or at any other time,” notes Sacristan.

The nap should be brief and never longer than 30 minutes, or else it will be counterproductive and could prevent you from falling asleep at night.

10. Medicinal plants

When insomnia is occasional, phytotherapy may be a solution. “Valerian is a tranquilizer and induces sleep. Passionflower helps maintain sleep, so it is recommended for people who wake up throughout the night. California poppy also avoids early awakenings,” explains César Valera, a member of Medicinal Plants at the Madrid College of Pharmacists.

According to the survey conducted by Infito, 91 percent of Spaniards would prefer to take preparations of medicinal plants rather than synthetic drugs to combat insomnia.

These treatments “do not have the side effects of synthetic sleeping pills,” which sometimes make it impossible to drive or operate machinery, he says.

The specialist recommends buying them in the pharmacy, since “the pharmacist is the health professional best trained in phytotherapy and can resolve patients’ doubts about their health condition,” he concludes.

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