Dr. Flora Ilonzo, for three weeks now I have not been sleeping well. Please what can we call it and what is the problem?
IT is worth noting that if you tend to wake regularly between 3 and 5am you are likely to be suffering adrenal exhaustion from stress. It can also mean that your liver is struggling in which case you need to cut down on fats, coffee and alcohol and eat really lightly for a few days.
Insomnia is not able to get to sleep for days or months or years. It may be your mind is not at rest. So don’t eat big meals at night. Eat banana before going to sleep, it will help you to sleep longer. If you have low blood sugar problem then eat banana or little honey before going to bed.
Eat more lettuce at night it contains the natural sedative lactucarium which encourages deeper sleep. Take a cup of valerian or chamomile drink before going to bed. Note heavy meals can disturb sleep.
You should try to eat two to three hours before going to bed.
Foods for insomia
Honey: Honey has a mild sedative effect. It can be take at night with an infusion made from sedative plant such as velvin, linden blossom, hope, ceiba pentandra. Cotton tree (Akpuogwu in Igbo).
Lettuce: A supper based on a lettuce salad about two hours before retiring facilities sleep.
Try to make the last meal of the day a carbohydrate-based one like pasta, potatoes or brown rice. These starchy foods can have a slight soporific effect. Eating carbohydrate rich food before sleep also encourages the body to produce a brain chemical called serotonin which can help reduce anxiety and improve the quality of sleep.
Serotonin is made from a constituent of protein called tryptophan, so include more foods such as fish, turkey, chicken, cottage cheese, beans, avocados, banana and wheat germ in your diet.
Sprinkle wheat germ over breakfast cereal. Some people find that a banana an hour before they go to sleep helps them to sleep longer.
Reduce or eliminate
Caffeine is one of the most important substances to avoid after around 5pm in the afternoon. Remember that caffeine is not just found in tea and coffee, it is also in cola, chocolate, cocoa and some cold remedies.
If you drinks a fair amount of alcohol you tends to feel sleepy, but unfortunately because of the way the metabolism functions in the body you tend to sleep for 2-3 hours and then wake up again and find it very difficult to get back to sleep.
Food tolerance can make the problem worse. In one study cow’s milk appeared to be the problem but it can be any food to which you have sensitivity. Keep a food daily.
Spices: A supper consisting of hot, spicy food produces a stimulating effect and interferes with sleep.
Soft drinks: All carbonated soft drinks and particularly those containing caffeine, make sleep difficult, particularly for children.
Proteins: Food rich in proteins, particularly meat and matured cheese, reduce the production of tryptophan. This results in a certain level of excitation within the nervous system and interferes with sleep in sensitive individuals. This effect is more pronounced if these proteins are consumed for supper at night.
Chocolate: This is also a stimulant and interferes with sleep.
The herbs balm tea has been proven to reduce stress. It can be taken during the day to help slow you down a little and 500mg can be taken one hour before bed, but not with alcohol.
Take a B complex every morning to support your nerves and keep you calmer.
One of the simplest things to do is to get into a regular routine, go to sleep at a similar time every night.
Try reading a novel before bed or watch television (but nothing too violent or stimulating). If you can’t sleep, don’t panic. Get up and do something relaxing (a few more pages of a novel) until you start to relax and let go; then go back to bed. Don’t try to go to sleep, allow yourself to fall asleep naturally.
Meditation is particularly useful as it helps you clear the mind and get rid of all those extraneous thoughts. People who meditate on a regular basis have better quality sleep.
Smoking can also cause insomnia. So if you want another reason for giving up, poor sleep patterns might be the last push you need.
Massage your chest with a mixture of essential oils o lavender, clary sage, majoram and basil or add them to a relaxing bath. You can buy a burner and let the aroma fill your room.
Don’t read any work papers close to bedtime, it stimulate your mind.