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Good sleep is the foundation of good mental health and physical health. During sleep, your body restores energy and undergoes changes that promote rest that is robust to your health. However, sometimes trying to sleep is extremely hard. If you are constantly not being able to fall asleep or stay asleep, you are having insomnia.

Causes of Insomnia

It is recommended that you need 7 – 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night, and you have to be consistent with that sleeping habit to maintain good health. 

At some point, you might experience insomnia. However, if the condition lasts over a month, you might have chronic insomnia. It is commonly the result of: 

    • Stress and anxiety
    • Frequent changes in work schedule, too early or too late shift 
    • Jet lag
    • Drinking alcohol, nicotine, or caffeine before bedtime
    • Due to the habit of eating full before sleeping.
    • Poor sleeping environment: uncomfortable sleeping space, space that is too bright, too cold, too hot, or noisy.
    • Mental health (depression, anxiety, etc.) or physical health conditions (GERD, allergies, chronic pain, diabetes, etc.)
    • Irregular sleep schedule
    • Eating too much before bedtime
    • Using computers, phones, and other screens before bedtime
    • Certain medications that affect sleep cycles
    • Hormonal changes in women, especially at the menopause phase

Ways to help with Insomnia

Since most of the causes of insomnia come from the patient’s lifestyle, these following tips might help you get better sleep: 

    • Many yoga poses help with insomnia as the practice improves mindfulness and increases melatonin levels, a hormone that promotes sleep anticipation. 
    • Have a regular sleep schedule so that the brain can create a resting habit to limit insomnia.
    • Limit high-intensity exercises before bed as they raise heart rate, making the body excited instead of being in a calm condition. 
    • Soak your feet in warm water for 10-15 minutes before bedtime. Soaking in warm water enhances blood circulation, creating comfort to make it easier to fall asleep.
    • Have a healthy and balanced diet. The diet directly affects the quality of your sleep. 
      • Some foods that might interfere with your sleep cycle if you consume them before bedtime are:
        • Chocolate: theobromine, a stimulant that increases heart rate, making it difficult to sleep.
        • Alcohol: Alcohol disrupts your sleep, and makes you wake up in a tired state.
        • Coffee: Coffee and other caffeine drinks can keep you stay awake for approximately 12 hours.
      • Some foods that support good sleep are:
        • Yogurt: contains tryptophan acid, which is converted into the neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin to maintain a good sleep
        • Bananas: tryptophan, magnesium, and potassium in bananas help the brain relax and reduce stress.
        • Lotus seeds: Lotus seeds are well-known for its function of relaxing and calming effects.

If you have tried those home remedies for insomnia and they do not work well, you can see a specialist for:

    • Cognitive behavioral therapy: An proven science-backed treatment for long-term insomnia. The psychologist will help you find out the stress factors that might be the underlying cause of your insomnia and help you overcome them. 
    • Acupuncture: A non-drug treatment for insomnia. It increases melatonin levels and reduces the stress-related nervous system.
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