I have insomnia. What to do?

Perhaps it is late night and you went to the Internet in search of an answer to the question: how to fall asleep? The author of the book “Healthy Sleep” Sean Stevenson suggests taking a comprehensive approach to the problem and making changes in your daily routine. However, in this article you will find an exercise that will help you fall asleep right now. Until then, open a window or turn on the air conditioner. What for? We tell …

Lower your bedroom temperature

Research has shown that optimal conditions are cool: the room temperature should be approximately 15.5–20 ° C. Significantly lower or higher values ​​can adversely affect sleep quality.

In addition, it has been scientifically proven that people with insomnia have a significantly higher body temperature immediately before going to bed. In search of a solution to this problem, scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine conducted a study that looked to lower the body temperature of people with insomnia and then determine if this would affect sleep quality.

The body temperature of the subjects was lowered using special cooling caps with circulating cool water. The results were truly surprising: when using the cooling caps, the insomniacs fell asleep faster than those without sleep problems (an average of 13 minutes for the cap group versus 16 for the control group). Interestingly, by the end of the experiment, people from the group with insomnia were able to sleep 89% of the time allotted for sleep, that is, exactly as much as the representatives of the healthy control group.

The bedroom should be cool. A source

This study found that lowering body temperature helped 75% of chronic insomnia sufferers. There are not many treatments on the market that are even approximately as effective.

Go to bed at the right time

Sleep will be even more beneficial if you go to bed and get up at the right time. Renowned neurologist Dr. Koulrit Chaudhary states: “Choosing a time to sleep is like setting an hour for a stock investment: no matter how much you invest, the moment is important.”

It has been found that recovery of the body and the production of hormones are most active during sleep between 10 pm and 2 am. During this period, the body literally rejuvenates, and all the extra sleep is a pleasant bonus. We have almost forgotten that man is a part of nature, and the twilight outside the window is a signal for rest.

Is it running?

Several years ago, the author of Healthy Sleep, Sean Stevenson, had a client who moved to the United States from France to attend college. He wanted to train under his guidance and set out to achieve very specific sports results. After analyzing, Sean learned that the man had been having trouble sleeping for eight years. He usually slept no more than four hours at night and was diagnosed with clinical insomnia.

Sean said: “I can drive you around the hall all day, but you will never get the body you want until you put things in order with your sleep.”

Stevenson temporarily banned the patient from the habitual long-term cardio training and suggested focusing on a series of heavy-duty strength exercises. The sessions were short but intense, and within a few days everything changed.

About a week after the start of training, he came and said: “I don’t know what you did, but I slept like a bébé” (“baby” – as you remember, he was from France). This experience transformed his life forever.

The exercise itself becomes a source of stress. Such stressors are called hormetic (from “hormesis”: the effect on the body of small doses of harmful effects), that is, those that, in a reasonable amount, can be very useful for the body. But this benefit can only be reaped if you allow your body to recover (that is, get the amount of sleep you need).

Jogging at a moderate pace is a classic example of long-term catabolic training. For half an hour or so, you keep your sympathetic nervous system in constant activity, preventing the body from eliminating the stress hormones it produces, which accumulate in the body like steam in a boiler of boiling water.

Is running good for your health? Of course, but with important caveats. The belief that jogging cardio is the perfect way to lose fat is a big misconception. In fact, long-distance running can dramatically increase muscle tissue loss through a process called gluconeogenesis. Muscles are the body’s fat-burning equipment. If you lose too much muscle tissue as a result of regular intense jogging, it will disrupt your metabolism. You will find yourself gaining extra weight as soon as you stop exercising.

Is running good for your health?  Of course, but with important caveats.
Prolonged running can harm your sleep. A source

To summarize: running long distances does not help you lose weight; thinking like that is like believing in the Tooth Fairy.

Perhaps most importantly, running long distances only makes sense if it is fun. If you do not exercise with the aim of burning fat, but simply in order to have fun, then to your health! The main thing is to do it wisely and not to the detriment of sleep.

Don’t eat before bed.

One of the most subtle barriers to quality sleep is excess body fat. Excess weight becomes a source of serious stress for the internal organs and the nervous system and severely disrupts the endocrine system.

The endocrine (aka hormonal) system is responsible for the production of hormones – melatonin, oxytocin and cortisol, which are extremely important for the quality of sleep.

Let’s take a look at how extra pounds and, for example, cortisol are related. Research from Deakin University in Australia showed that overweight people had significantly higher levels of cortisol after eating. Those of normal weight after a meal showed a 5% increase in its volume, while those who were overweight and obese – 51%! Elevated cortisol levels lead to increased blood sugar, decreased insulin sensitivity, and increased inflammation.

The problem is that cortisol is a prime candidate for the title of “insomnia hormone.” Its increased level will surely disrupt the normal functioning of the body, no matter what time you eat. It’s horrible to know that after every meal, your stress hormone levels jump by at least a quarter. This is one of the most important reasons to lose weight, because it “kills you gently.”

The well-known formula “if you want to lose weight, don’t eat at night” really works. But the problem is not so much the late dinner as the overweight that is already there.

Meditation – instead of sleeping pills

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has published research showing that meditation is an effective treatment for insomnia. Within two months, the meditating patients improved their sleep time, duration, effectiveness and quality, total awakening time, and decreased depression.

The head of the trial, Ramadevi Gurineni, MD, said: “The results of the experiment show that teaching deep relaxation techniques during the day will help improve night sleep.”

Another study in the Medical Science Monitor found that people with meditation experience have higher baseline melatonin levels than those who do not. The most important takeaway is that the only side effect of meditation is an increase in the quality of life. Medical treatment of insomnia leads to organ damage, hormonal disorders and severe chemical dependence. Why put yourself at risk when you have a better – and safer – way to help yourself?

Two simple rules

In Always On Time, Michael Breus calls those who suffer from insomnia Dolphins. In these animals, the cerebral hemispheres sleep alternately (such a dream is called one-hemispheric sleep). One half of the brain is awake, keeping the animal afloat and controlling the appearance of predators.

In Always On Time, Michael Breus calls those who suffer from insomnia Dolphins.
Dolphins are always on the alert. A source

If you are a Dolphin and want to improve your sleep, follow two simple rules:

  • Increase activity in the morning to be more productive (for example, start the day by exercising);
  • Reduce anxiety in the evening for a more effective night’s rest (engage in calm, monotonous activities).

Exercise for those who cannot sleep for a long time

In bed, count from 300 to one, subtracting three. If you don’t fall asleep in twenty minutes, sit in a chair in the dark for fifteen minutes, and then go back to bed and try again. Repeat the cycle “20 minutes under the covers, 15 minutes in the chair.” This is called stimulus control. The key is to prevent the anxiety of lying awake in bed. It may not work out right away, but in the end, anxiety and blood pressure will decrease as soon as you go to bed, and you can enjoy quality rest.

People with insomnia wake up all the time. Change your perspective to short-term awakenings. They are quite expected – they are part of healthy sleep. If you consider them normal, then you will stop worrying or consider it a sleep disorder. Anxiety will decrease and periods of awakening will become shorter.

Magnetize sleep

And finally, advice from the book “Brain Biohacking”.

Magnets affect the production of energy in every cell. This information helps explain why a pulsed magnetic field has significant effects on sleep and the brain.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation has been developed to take advantage of this connection. It effectively treats insomnia by stimulating the production of serotonin, melatonin, and other neurotransmitters needed for a good night’s sleep. It works like this: a device with a solenoid coil is applied to the forehead and acts on the brain with short electromagnetic pulses. The impulses easily penetrate the skull, and the electric current stimulates the nerve cells in the selected area.

This technique is rapidly gaining popularity. There are clinics where you can get this treatment; in addition, a fundraiser was organized for the development of a home device. Biohacker Dave Asprey started using this technique from time to time five years ago. If your brain isn’t working the way you want it to, you should pay attention to it.

Another way to use magnets in your sleep is to purchase a quality magnetic mattress (starting at $ 500). Consumers report that good magnetic mattresses give them a sound and refreshing sleep.

Based on materials from the books “Healthy Sleep”, “Always on Time”, “Brain Biohacking”
Post cover: unsplash.com


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