Ducks 'n a Row: Can't Sleep?

15 March 2015

Can't Sleep?

By Sinea Pies
insomnia, sleepless, hard to sleep, trouble sleeping

Trouble sleeping? I think many of us have some form of insomnia from time to time. I don't know about you but I HATE it! You want to sleep. You are ready to sleep. It is time to sleep but you CAN'T sleep. Toss and turn. Get up and get something to drink or use the bathroom and back to bed only to toss and turn again. Think happy thoughts? Count sheep? (Really?)

Tell me. 
When YOU can't sleep, what do you do?

Interestingly, insomnia is not a disease but a symptom. Many things can cause sleeplessness. Stress, worry, menopause, caffeine, inactivity, sleeping during the day, schedule changes, noise (snorer in the room, infant waking you up), pain, illness. Whatever the cause, you need a cure!

How Much Sleep Do We Need?
If you are having trouble sleeping, you're probably saying "I sure need more sleep than I'm getting now!" I get it.

But, how much sleep does the average person require? According to the National Sleep Foundation, there is no pat answer. Each individual has unique sleep needs. Teens need at least nine hours of sleep. Younger children need between 10 and 13 hours of sleep. When it comes to adults, it shortens a bit. Seven to nine hours is about right for grown ups.
sleep deprived, insomnia, trouble sleeping, sleep solutions

Healthy Solutions For Sleep Deprivation

Diet: Caffeine is a stimulant and can keep you awake. First, try cutting out caffeine after 4:00 pm. If that does not work, you may need to eliminate it all together, at least for a time. Caffeine is found in large quantities in coffee, tea, cola, some non-cola soft drinks and even migraine headache medications.

Food: Try adding some foods that are known to relax. Ever experienced sleepiness after a big Thanksgiving dinner? Turkey contains tryptophan, (also known as L-tryptophan) an amino acid that can promote sleep. Dairy products also have L-tryptophan. That's why your mom may have told you to drink warm milk before going to bed.

Some foods to help you to get to sleep:

   Cherries - contains natural melatonin, the natural chemical that regulates sleep. Eat some cherries or drink some cherry juice about 1 hour before bedtime.

Bananas - contains potassium, magnesium and L-tryptophan. All sleep inducing. Note, potassium is a natural diuretic, though. You may have to get up to use the bathroom during the night.

Milk - contains L-tryptophan.

Turkey - contains L-tryptophan.

Oatmeal - carbs raise the blood sugar for a while (giving energy) and then cause a rebound of fatigue. Time it right, and the sleepiness should arrive just when you're going to bed.
Environment: the atmosphere in which you are trying to sleep can make a big difference.

   Keep your bedroom cool. No higher than 65°.

Keep the air humid. If you have dry air in your house, invest in a room humidifier.

Bed. Get a comfortable bed, pillowing and bedding.

Noise. If sound wakes you, control the situation as best you can. Some people sleep better with the TV or radio playing softly but others would never sleep with that going on.

Light. A dark room is physiologically preferable. Melatonin, which our bodies produce naturally, increases in the dark. Melatonin is what puts us to sleep. Some people cannot sleep in total darkness or silence. If that is you, just make sure that the light from the TV or nightlight is dim and the sound is kept low. Reduce distractions.
   Exercise: if you do not have a particularly active lifestyle, that may be contributing to your struggle getting a good night's sleep. Try adding a brisk walk in the fresh air during the morning or afternoon. On the contrary, exercising in the evening could work against you. It may just wake you up all the more. Avoid over-stimulation too close to bedtime.

   Relax: get your mind of the struggles of the day and think happy thoughts. That may sound silly but it's important to get your mind on something new. Read something encouraging, inspiring, or even boring if that works for you. Don't do a lot of housework before retiring. Sit and pet the dog, watch a good tv show and just relax. Tomorrow will take care of itself!

   Eat: it's one thing to avoid stimulating foods but going to bed hungry can keep you awake. If you are feeling a little gnaw in the pit of your stomach, have that glass of milk or a light snack to satisfy hunger.
Is your bed the cause of your problem?
Now, I haven't tried a new mattress in a while but we are due. I was looking at this website where they sell mattresses. When I found out it was shipped to you in a box, all of a sudden images of the old Dick VanDyke Show came to mind. Do you remember the hysterically funny episode when Laura opens up a box with an inflatable life raft in it?   Funny!

Now, as I read it on their website, these mattresses are not inflatible.  But opening the box could be fun. YouTube is full of videos from new customers sharing their "box opening" experiences. 

I thought I'd add the clip from Dick VanDyke for a little chuckle. (If you are reading this post by email, just click on the title to go to my page where you can view it. Grab a nice cup of coffee or tea--as long as it is not before bedtime -- and ENJOY!)

"The Package"

So,what do you do when you can't sleep?

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This post is not an endorsement of any specific product or sleep method. Persistent sleep problems may be indicative of a more serious condition. In such cases, consult your medical professional.

Note: this author is an Amazon affiliate. Anything purchased from Amazon through Ducks 'n a Row will result in a small commission for me. In advance, "thank you"  ... Sinea  

Photos courtesy of Pixabay and ClipartPanda
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