The importance of sleep to man is like water to life. Without it, we cannot function properly. You can even try observing yourself on days when you slept for few hours and see how your body is struggling with fatigue, fogginess or lack of clarity, irritability, moodiness etc.
When our body is not properly rested, it cannot function properly. Did you know that one can die from extreme sleep deprivation over a period of time? This is because when we sleep, our body rest, it repairs itself, does some cleaning up to protect the body, and prepares for the coming day.
This shows that technically, our bodies do not go to sleep but actually work when we are getting some hours of rest.
I have much sympathy for those that are unable to get some peaceful sleep at any time of the day especially at night. I consider insomnia to be a form of torture (forgive my strong language).
I can remember the few times that I was severely under sleeping during my university days. I can’t imagine being unable to rest despite being so tired and sleep deprived during those days.
Ok enough of me. So, what is insomnia? Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is characterized by the inability to fall asleep despite being tired, stay asleep for several hours without interruption and difficulty in getting back to sleep after waking up.
Insomnia ranges in severity from mild insomnia that is temporary and can be easily solved by changing some habits and some remedies and then there is the other extreme type that is the chronic insomnia. It can be quite dangerous to our health and you will need a specialist for proper treatment.
Symptoms of Insomnia
So how can we know or be sure that we have insomnia and not some other condition. In most cases, insomnia shows symptoms such as
- Inability to fall asleep
- Disrupted sleep patterns
- Daytime Fatigue
- Not feeling rested after a full night’s sleeping
- Irritability, unstable moods
- Having trouble concentrating
- Waking up too early and being unable to go back to sleep etc.
These symptoms show that insomnia is beyond just the inability to fall asleep. Rather, insomnia is measured by the quality of sleep and the disposition of a person after sleeping i.e how they feel after they sleep.
In most cases of insomnia is as a result of some factors in our environment, disposition or habits and not as a symptom of a health problem. It has been observed to be caused by some factors including:
- Being worrisome or over thinking at night or when you are on your bed to sleep.
- Poor sleeping habits (e.g. using your digital devices just before bedtime)
- Mental health
- Some health conditions
- Traveling or a change in your schedule
- Some sleep disorders
- Hormonal changes e.g pregnant women
- Some medications
- Diet (eating stimulating foods before bed such as coffee, alcohol)
For most people, their insomnia is not chronic and it lasts for few days to a week at most however, when you have persistent insomnia that is more than seven days and is interfering with your daily performance, then it is time to go see a sleep specialist or at-least, a doctor for proper treatment.
This should be after you have tried everything at home from remedies to modifying your habits (some are listed below) if they are part of the reason for your condition.
It is best to avoid sleeping pills as they are known to be addictive and can worsen your condition in many people. You should try solving the problem on your own with safe natural ingredients and modifying some personal habits to relieve or cure your insomnia. You can read more here.
There are many therapies or routines that are said to help people sleep better such as the military routine that is said to make soldiers sleep in 2 minutes. You can check it out here.
Pregnant women often report difficulty in falling asleep or having a restful and continuous sleeping session. It is most common during the first and third trimester of the pregnancy.
The good news is that these recommended remedies are safe for pregnant women so they can also use it for their insomnia.
Home Remedies for Insomnia
Warm milk and honey
Warm milk might sound like a children’s remedy or foods, but studies show that it has a good effect on putting people to sleep.
Tryptophan is an amino acid that cannot be produced by the body but must be derived from our diet. Milk is a good source of tryptophan as it is mostly found in proteins.
It is a very important compound for body functions especially needed to produce melatonin and serotonin chemicals in the body which are essential in regulating sleep cycles and getting proper sleep.
The honey as a carbohydrate helps transport the amino acid faster to the brain so you can fall asleep faster than if it is just plain warm milk.
*I will not recommend that you use evaporated milk and other forms of milk as a remedy in this case. Fresh milk is the preferred option unless you cannot get it then, you can dissolve powdered milk in a cup of water which is the most available option in Nigeria.
- Measure about a mug-full of liquid fresh milk
- You can dissolve powdered milk in water if using powdered milk.
- Warm the milk on a stove pot.
- Allow it to cool down then while it is still warm.
- Add a tablespoon of honey to the warm milk
- Carefully sip a cupful (if you can) of the milk about 30 minutes before bed.
Note*Taking small amounts of milk is not very effective
Lavender oil is commonly used to relieve stress and improve sleeping patterns. It is a very popular herb and oil for numerous household, cosmetic and health purposes. Just like the other listed remedies, it helps with the relaxing the body and putting the body to sleep.
For sleeping, inhale some lavender oil while on your bed and dab a little on your pillow, face, hands and other places then close the bottle. Doing this will keep the lavender oil around you and inhaling it as you relax. Remember not to leave the bottle open.
Use diluted lavender oil in other words not the lavender essential oil. This is because as an essential oil, it is highly concentrated and should not be used directly on the skin without being properly diluted with a carrier oil (base oil) such as coconut oil, olive oil, carrot oil, grape seed oil etc.
Chamomile tea is a common tea that people take to relax and it has many beneficial properties. It is used to induce sleep through its effect on the nervous system. Many practitioners of natural medicine regard it as a mild sleep inducer or tranquiliser. It is a common suggestion if you report of having sleeping problems, stress or just want a relaxing tea.
Chamomile tea is available in Nigeria in the market and supermarkets where they sell teas and other natural products. Take the tea as prescribed on the pack
St.John’s wort supplement
This herb is used for insomnia and other related conditions such as to relieve stress, depression, anxiety, etc. This because it has similar activity to the use of warm milk and honey with its improvement in the melatonin and serotonin chemicals that are needed to regulate major body functions such as moods, sleep, appetite etc.
You can use the tea or the supplement. They are both effective. Simply take as prescribed on the pack of the product. you might not easily find this supplement in Nigeria but it is available in some health stores that sell foreign supplements such as ginseng, gingko biloba, etc.
Star fruit is not a Nigerian fruit but is imported into the country and can be found in places that sell exotic fruits or supermarkets. It is known for its sweet and sour taste and its high fiber, antioxidants and vitamin C content.
Star fruit according to some studies, it is not safe for those on dialysis or those with kidney problems as it can cause adverse reactions in their body. So if you fall under this umbrella, kindly select other remedies from the list.
For insomnia, Take about 3-4 and not more than that at once just before bed. It is best consumed raw and alone without adding it to a recipe or eating it with side dishes.
This fruit is suspected to cause health complications in some so to be on the safe side, avoid taking large amounts of the fruit within a short period of time.
I was surprised to read this caution because my sister loves this fruit and she takes sometimes 3-4 pieces at once and she is well and healthy. but, since some studies show otherwise it is best to be on the Safe side.
Fresh Mint tea
Mint also known as na’a na’a by the Hausas in Nigeria is commonly used for tea in Nigeria and food by the Indians and Arabs. Here, we are referring to a freshly brewed tea from fresh mint leaves made strong about 30 minutes before you sleep. Use a big handful of the leaves for just one cup of tea and add honey not sugar if you need a sweetener.
Mint has relaxing properties that help us sleep for longer hours and improving our overall sleep quality. If you cannot get mint, some use peppermint though I am not sure of that. But, it is said to be equally effective.
Advice for combating insomnia
- Some habits to improve if you want to combat insomnia permanently:
- Avoid over-eating just before (30 minutes) sleeping.
- Avoid using any digital device at-least 1 hour before bedtime
- Avoid Eating stimulating foods such as coffee, smoking from late evening because they keep you awake
- Have a comfortable sleeping area with dark curtains and it should be away from noise.
- Avoid rigorous activities or exercise just before sleeping as it keeps the body awake and alert. It is recommended that you exercise during the day as it is good for our health
- Eat a health, nutritious balanced diet as insomnia can be exacerbated by deficiencies of some minerals and vitamins e.g magnesium
- Try not to sleep during the day even if you feel tired as your need to re-adjust your body clock to sleep at night.
- Take a warm shower just before you sleep.
- Have and maintain a regular sleep schedule for when you should go to bed and when to wakeup so as to train your body clock
You can read more here
It is widely known that a healthy adult needs at-least 6 hours of sleep and optimally about 8-9 hours of sleep daily to be healthy. Therefore, it is important for our health and well-being that we get some rest so that our body can function properly.
Many of us know that sleeping pills are (without the need to be said) bad for our health and the frequent use of them can have serious consequences. In most cases of insomnia, they can be treated and cured with the appropriate remedies and therapy. So don’t give up yet. Have faith.
It is not enough to use remedies when you will continue troubling habits or without knowing the root cause of your sleeping problems. I will recommend that you investigate yourself and your environment so that you can permanently crush this condition and improve your health once and for all.
With the stress that many of us are going through today, it is no wonder that even on the google trends graph. It shows insomnia searches are increasing every year. For example, in Nigeria, all the insecurity and problems that seem to be getting worse every day is enough to stress anyone out. As we mentioned earlier, stress is a major cause of insomnia. So, we should try to take care of ourselves as stress can be the cause of many diseases beyond just insomnia.
I hope you found a lasting solution to your insomnia from this remedies. Please rate this article down below so that we I can improve on my skills.
Thank you for stopping by and have a nice day.