Sleep has five stages. We drift off into stages one and two and experience deep slumber during stages three and four. The final stage is rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, characterized by vivid dreams. We’ll complete four to six cycles of all the sleep stages every night.
10 Ways to Beat Insomnia
Dr Peter Venn, lead clinician and consultant anaesthetist at the Queen Vistoria Hospital’s sleep Disorder Centre, East Grinstead England, says:
- Relax before going to bed. Try a warm bath with Dead Sea salts to relax your muscles.
- Avoid eating heavy meals before bedtime, particularly if you know that you suffer from indigestion. Instead, opt for meals which contain the amino acid L-tryptopan. These include warm milk, eggs, cottage cheese, chicken, turkey and nuts.
- Try chamomile or fennel tea. Both contain natural soothing ingredients that may help you to sleep.
- Avoid drinking alcohol before bedtime. One glass of wine is OK, but any more and you may find your sleep pattern disrupted.
- Do some exercise. Studies show that people who have physical jobs sleep better than those who have a more sedentary lifestyle. Try some yoga, a 30-minute walk or some stretches – but not immediately before bedtime.
- Sleep on your back. It’s the best side for relaxing and allows your organs to rest properly. But, if you have indigestion or have just eaten then lie on your right side as this aids digestion.
- Try 5-HTP. This is a naturally occurring amino acid, which has had some success when treating depression, suppressing appetite and also encouraging a restful night’s sleep.
- Consider products containing hops. These are nature’s sedative. Just think how tired you feel after a beer!
- Lavender essential oils can be useful. Either add a few drops to your bath, or sprinkle a couple onto your pillow or a handkerchief.
- Empty your bladder before going to bed. It may seem obvious, but waking up for a loo visit is one of the main reasons for waking up during the night and as a consequence, being unable to get back to sleep.
Source: Healthy magazine