Insomnia is best described as the difficulty of falling and/or staying asleep. Insomnia can happen many times during a week and is consistent to at least 3 months. Insomnia can affect anybody, however it is more common in adults, specifically older women. Insomnia affects your ability to do daily tasks and your ableness to think correctly. Insomnia is a very common sleep disorder that usually goes undiagnosed and not treated. Some people see this sleeping disorder as not a big deal but as time goes on, and the less sleep you get the bigger and deeper the consequences get. There are many causes of insomnia such as being stressed, anxiety, depression, anger, worry, grief, bipolar disorder, trauma etc. Which is why it is also important to get help if you have any of these problems so it does not eventually to you having a sleeping disorder in which that can later on lead to something worse. There are many ways in decreasing your possibility of becoming an insomniac. Balancing blood sugar levels, triggering certain neurotransmitters and hormones, increasing your intake of magnesium, avoiding caffeine, cleaning up your sleeping space, and seeking help in the beginning before anything gets worse. These ideas need to be followed to keep your chances low and getting rid of insomnia if already developed. What you eat plays the most important role in your ability to be tired or how much uninterrupted sleep you are able to get.
All together what you eat not only helps insomnia but many other sleeping disorders. Jose Colon, MD, MPH, posted his article on Sleep Review, The Journal For Sleep Specialist. In his article he provided a study that was done and stated “Optimal sleep time (7-8 hours) was associated with the highest variety of foods. Both short and long sleep times were associated with decreased food variety”. (Colon) Which means having a variety of different types of food increases the amount of sleep you can get. Macronutrients are nutrients that are required for good health, growth, and sleep. One of those nutrients are proteins. Lower protein intake was associated with less sleep and higher protein intake was associated with a higher amount of sleep. Carbohydrates itself is associated with less problems of staying asleep, but carbs such as sugars has its down fall. Sugars were associated with daytime sleepiness and fatigue. “For sleep, sugar is like alcohol without the buzz!”(Cohon) Which interrupts your second round of sleep, so it is wise to watch what you eat especially before bed. It is also important to have a good amount of micronutrients such as the B vitamins, amino acids, metabolites, fatty acids minerals and the list goes on. B vitamins help reduce daytime sleepiness, and improve sleep patterns however, people who are insomniacs “consumed significantly lesser quantities of B vitamins as compared to normal sleepers.” (Cohon)
The most recent research done on Insomnia that I could find by a professional was done in January of 2018. The article “What’s new in Insomnia research” by Dr Dieter Riemann, the founder of the European Insomnia Network gives us the latest information of the true possible cause(s) of Insomnia. Her article explains how “modern-day lifestyles are interfering with when and how well we sleep, and examines the obstacles to the rollout of CBT-I.” (Reimann) New studies conclude that the first line of treatment should be CBT-I. CBT-I is an approved method for treating insomnia without the use of sleeping pills. However, even though this is an approved method, it does not mean this insomnia case is closed and professionals are still open to new ideas that may or may not pop up. Reinmann’s article also explains how Insomnia has increased from the 50s to now. This increase has happened because “ there are so many more distractions in today’s society. It’s much harder to relax, to wind down, to shut out disturbing thoughts, and having a lot on your mind can interfere with how well you sleep.”
Overall the most information I have found to help Insomnia nutritionally comes down to the breakdown of food and what only you can do for your body without the help of medications and ect. Balancing your blood sugar is important and if it is not balanced. If it is too high then this is how it disrupts your sleep: eating too much sugar gives you a boost of energy which could cause you to stay awake longer than you wanted, You then get the inevitable decline in blood sugar as insulin shifts the glucose out of your blood and into your cells, causing you to feel sleepy and maybe even fall asleep which is not good because this decline can trigger a stress response which will eventually wake you up. One way to do avoid an increase in blood sugar is to Avoid eating sugar or high-carb foods especially within two hours of bedtime. Insomnia is a common symptom of deficiency in magnesium. People with low magnesium frequently experience restless sleep, often waking up at night. Maintaining healthy levels of magnesium also contributes to deeper, safer sleep. One professional stated that Magnesium acts upon the nervous system and contributes to deep, restful sleep. Several studies have confirmed this effect in older adults. So it is important to make sure you have a normal amount of these two things to help decrease your chances of becoming an insomniac or if you already have this, these are a few ways to help get rid of it. There are ways to help with insomnia that involve medications but the most natural and cheapest way is something you can do on your own. Unless you are an insomniac because you have depression, anxiety, etc., then your first option should be talking to a doctor and seeing what your best option is!
Insomnia is a disorder that sometimes gets overlooked and can eventually hurt your body if it continues. But if you know you are an insomniac before trying drugs to help you, you should try to see if you can figure out what is causing it. If it is because you are eating sugary food right before bed or because you are not getting enough magnesium then try eliminating the sugary food and increasing your magnesium and see if that helps. If it does not, then something else may be causing it and it is best to talk to your doctor to figure out your next steps and what you can do to help this disorder.
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