` Overcome insomnia with a healthy lifestyle

Overcome insomnia with a healthy lifestyle

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What is insomnia?

Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterised by difficulty in falling or staying asleep, leading to daytime tiredness, lethargy, mood changes, irritation, and anxiety. Insomnia can also result in increased blood pressure, which can damage the blood vessels and result in heart diseases.

Why sleep is important

Besides consuming a nutritious diet and exercising regularly, adequate sleep is important for maintaining a healthy body. Proper sleep helps in faster healing of the blood vessels and prevents the development of chronic health issues such as hypertension, diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, and stroke.

How to deal with insomnia

The treatment of insomnia includes prescription medications, counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy to fix the sleeping pattern. However, people can also overcome insomnia by maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle. Let’s look at some of the ways to improve the sleep cycle.

#1 - Balance the body clock

Circadian rhythm is the natural 24-hour internal clock of the body. One should try to sleep and wake up at the same time to programme the body to feel sleepy and wake up at a similar time every day.

#2 - Reduce caffeine and alcohol

Caffeinated drinks such as coffee can make it difficult to fall asleep and result in frequent awakenings in the middle of the sleep. Similarly, alcohol makes people fall asleep initially for the first few hours but chronic use results in frequent awakenings, restlessness, and tiredness.

#3 – Cut down on screen time

Gadgets such as mobile phones, computers, and televisions emit blue light, which prevents the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Therefore, one must avoid the use of any gadget at least 30 minutes before going to sleep.

#4 - Practice relaxation techniques

Research shows that mindfulness-based therapy helps in reducing the amount of time taken to fall asleep (sleep latency) in those suffering from insomnia. Other relaxation techniques such as yoga and deep breathing exercises can also help in improving the sleeping pattern and reduce frequent awakenings.

#5 – Use essential oils

Research conducted by US scientists in 2017 found that lavender oil has anxiolytic effects that can help in improving sleeping patterns in people suffering from anxiety and depression. The use of other essential oils such as chamomile and neroli oil may also help in improving sleep.

#6 - Exercise regularly

Research shows that practising moderate-intensity exercises during the day can help relieve stress and improve sleeping patterns. However, one must exercise a few hours before going to bed as it will allow the body to cool down before sleeping.

#7 - Regular sun exposure

Sunlight exposure enhances the production of melatonin at night, thereby improving the circadian rhythm. Sunlight also helps in the production of vitamin D, deficiency of which has been associated with poor sleep quality and reduced sleep duration.

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