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Are You Sleep Deprived?

by Eva Bell
(Bangalore, India)

Continued from previous page - Are you sleep deprived?

How to conquer Insomnia without Drugs

There should be a balance between exercise, rest and recreation.

• Exercise makes the body tired enough to want to sleep. However, there should be no vigorous exercise before jumping into bed.

• Diet: Healthy meals which provide protein, Vitamin B and magnesium are good. The evening meal should be light and eaten two hours before retiring. Stimulants like coffee, tea, chocolates, alcohol and sweets should be avoided at night. A cup of warm milk at bedtime helps some people. Milk contains L-tryptophan an amino acid which encourages drowsiness.
Tisana or herbal tea bags containing camomille or passion flower dipped in hot water, makes a good night cap.

• A consistent bedtime routine: Some prefer a warm bath with a few drops of lavender or scented herbs before retiring to relax the muscles.

The mattress should be comfortable, and the room temperature must be neither too hot nor cold.
There should be a regular time to go to bed. The bed room is a place to unwind and forget tensions of the day. While lying supine, deep breathing should be practiced for a few minutes, with relaxation of the whole body consciously part by part, as in Shavansana of yoga.

• Massage: Lying in supine position, another person is asked to massage the legs in regular strokes, gradually moving to the lower abdomen. In prone position, the masseur should move hands gently across back and shoulders. This is called the ‘cat stroke.’

• Think pleasant thoughts while lying in bed. Some are lulled to sleep by soft music. Others read until sleepy – preferably a happy story rather than crime and horror.

• The dream pillow is a small pillow stuffed with medicinal herbs, and has helped some.

• If Insomnia is a symptom of physical or emotional causes, a doctor’s help should be sought. Medication for insomnia should not be taken except under a doctor’s supervision.

• Acupuncture 2-3 times a week could help.

• Meditation and prayer have a soothing effect. It ensures peace of mind and therefore helps a person fall asleep.

As the popular song goes, “If you’re worried and you can’t sleep, count your blessings instead of sleep. And you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings.”

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