1 Reduce or avoid as many drugs as possible.
Many drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, may adversely affect sleep. In most cases, the condition causing the drugs to be taken in the first place can be addressed by following guidelines elsewhere on my web site.
2 Avoid caffeine.
At least one study has shown that, in some people, caffeine is not metabolized efficiently, leaving you feeling its effects long after consumption. So, an afternoon cup of coffee or tea will keep some people from falling asleep at night.
Be aware that some medications contain caffeine (for example, diet pills).
3 Avoid alcohol.
Although alcohol will make you drowsy, the effect is short lived and you will often wake up several hours later, unable to fall back asleep.
Alcohol will also keep you from entering the deeper stages of sleep, where your body does most of its healing.
4 Make certain you are exercising regularly.
Exercising for at least 30 minutes per day can improve your sleep. However, don’t exercise too close to bedtime or it may keep you awake. Studies show exercising in the morning is the best if you can manage it.
5 Lose excess weight.
Being overweight can increase your risk of sleep apnea, which can seriously impair your sleep. Please refer to my nutrition plan for recommendations.
6 Avoid foods you may be sensitive to.
This is particularly true for sugar, grains, and pasteurized dairy. Sensitivity reactions can cause excess congestion, gastrointestinal upset, bloating and gas, and other problems.
7 Have your adrenals checked
Preferably by a good natural medicine clinician. Scientists have found that insomnia may be caused by adrenal stress.
8 If you are menopausal or perimenopausal.
Get checked out by a good natural medicine physician. The hormonal changes at this time may cause sleep problems if not properly addressed.
What can help
My current favorite fix for insomnia is Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). Most people can learn the basics of this gentle tapping technique in a few minutes. EFT can help balance your body’s bioenergy system and resolve some of the emotional stresses that are contributing to your insomnia at a very deep level. The results are typically long lasting and improvement is remarkably rapid.
Increase your melatonin. Ideally it is best to increase levels naturally with exposure to bright sunlight in the daytime (along with full spectrum fluorescent bulbs in the winter) and absolute complete darkness at night. If that isn’t possible, you may want to consider a melatonin supplement.
In scientific studies, melatonin has been shown to increase sleepiness, help you fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep, decrease restlessness, and reverse daytime fatigue. Melatonin is a completely natural substance, made by your body, and has many health benefits in addition to sleep.
Sleep is certainly a major issue at menopause as the hormonal surges disrupt sleep, and the hot flushes and/or night sweats don’t help either.
Getting hormone balance is very important and, depending on your symptoms, you may need help from progesterone as it is a relaxant and aids sleep or a combination cream which has both progesterone and oestrogen to help with night sweats.