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I don’t know about you, but even if only one night my sleep is disturbed, I feel super agitated, irritable, unable to focus, and simply tired the whole day. If next night’s sleep is better, all good; but otherwise I easily find myself in a downward spiral, getting more tired and less focused each day.
Why do we even need to sleep?
The exact function of sleep is still unknown. The fact that every living being needs to sleep, clearly indicates that sleep is an essential part of life. Sleep is a time of growth and repair for our body and brain. Another possible function of sleep is the processing of large amounts of input gathered during the day.
While the number of hours needed per night differs for every person, on average 7-9 hours sleep per night is recommended on average.
We have so much to do the whole day.
For many people, sleeping is often a luxury rather than a necessity. We are spending long hours at work, have a busy social life (I am talking before Covid-19) and a full agenda, a household to run, kids to take care of, and the list can go on. As a result of constantly being busy, sleep may end up low on our list of priorities.
And when the time finally comes to lie down, our mind is not always ready to rest.
According to a National Health Survey conducted by CBS, 20% of the Dutch population - from 12 years old and above - says to have had issues with sleeping (data from 2017). 10% confirmed to struggle with recurring sleeping problems.
There are several possible side effects of insomnia
- Physically: hypertension and high blood pressure, weaker immune system, risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, etc.
- Psychologically: poor concentration, deterioration of memory, irritability and mood swings, depression and anxiety, loss of motivation, etc.
Certain life events - like an illness, moving houses, or losing a job - can be the cause of some sleepless nights, but this won’t last longer than a few weeks. On the other hand, if your sleep is disrupted at least 3 times a week, for longer than 3 months, you may want to look for support.
Reflexology is an efficient therapy to treat insomnia and improve the quality of your sleep.
Sleeping problems can lead to countless other complaints, so tackle insomnia before that happens. Insomnia and how reflexology can reduce sleeplessness (caused by different stress facors), was the topic of my thesis during my reflexology studies. I have measured the impact of the treatments and all participants reported improvement after 6 sessions. For one it meant less unpleasant dreams and more restful sleep, for someone else treatments helped falling asleep quicker or not waking up during the night.
If you prefer to try something else first, I also have a few tips for you:
- Improve your sleep hygiene
Among others, this can include
- going to sleep and waking up around the same time every day,
- making sure that the bedroom is dark enough,
- avoiding TV/mobile usage in the last hours before sleep.
If you tend to worry a lot, writing a to-do list for the next day will help to get off thoughts of the next challenges.
- Incorporate regular physical activity in your life
Spend at least 30 min outdoor every day. Even if it is raining or it’s too windy. Regular workout in whichever form you like, is super important for wellbeing, but avoid intense physical activity 3 hours before going to sleep.
- Try this relaxation exercise
Breathe into the abdomen for a count of 4, keep in the breath for 4 seconds, then release the breath while counting to 4 again. Optionally - after breathing out - you can keep the breath out for 4 seconds again.
- How is your diet?
- Do not consume hearty meals 3 hours before going to sleep.
- Drink a cup of valerian, lavender, fennel, or chamomile tea before going to sleep.
- A diet with lots of greens, nuts, and seeds will provide sufficient magnesium and calcium for the body.
If you are interested and would like to proactively address your sleeping problem, don't hesitate to make an appointment.