Do you have trouble sleeping?

Do you have trouble sleeping?

As new research from Nature’s Best reveals that 87% of women claim they get a regular lack of sleep and 59% of people lack sleep because of worry, we have some expert advice to share on insomnia.

Nutritionist Keri Filtness offers her expertise on insomnia:

What prevents people from getting a good night’s sleep?

There are a number of reasons why people may not get a good night’s sleep. Having electrical equipment such as TVs, tablets and phoned in the bedroom often prevents people from ‘switching off’ properly and this may affect their ability to fall asleep or sleep well.

Stress and anxiety can also keep people awake as they may focus on the day’s worries. The use of caffeine, nicotine and alcohol as well as some medications may affect the ability to fall asleep as well as the quality of sleep which we get.

Many people find that as they get older, health problems, particularly those relating to bladder and prostate; wake them up several times during the night which will prevent them from getting enough of the more restorative non REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.

What are the adverse health effects of not getting enough sleep?

Poor sleep quality, as well as not getting enough sleep, can be detrimental for several reasons. Feeling tired and fatigued may affect your ability to concentrate and perform well at work or school or whilst driving. It may also affect your mood, making you more irritable, which will have a detrimental effect on the relationships you have with those around you. Several studies have also found a link between the lack of sleep and weight gain and obesity.

There are also links between sleep issues and health conditions such as impaired glucose metabolism, diabetes, depression and other psychiatric issues and disrupted sleep patterns can also lead to an increase in substance abuse.

What can you do about a lack of sleep – for instance if you are suffering from insomnia?

Firstly, it is important to deal with any lifestyle choices which may be making sleeping difficult. Reducing stress, increasing exercise and avoiding alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes and heavy evening meals may help to improve sleep quantity and quality.

It is also important to ensure that you wind down before bedtime and ensure that the bedroom environment is conducive to good sleep. Remove electronic devices and avoid watching TV once you are in bed. Try to reduce the level of noise and artificial light and ensure that you are not too hot or too cold in bed. Use ear plugs and blackout curtains if necessary.

Valerian, a traditional herbal medicinal product is used for the temporary relief of sleep disturbances and anxiety and should be used for 2-4 weeks to see if it will help.  Some people also find a food supplement called 5HTP helpful as this may help to improve the serotonin level, which has an effect on sleep.

If sleep issues are caused by a medical condition or a prescribed medication it is important to speak to the GP to ensure that these issues are dealt with correctly. 

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