How to Deal with Insomnia

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Insomnia is an unsurprising by-product of an age that’s all about fast-paced, multitasked living. A third of the world suffers from this nocturnal disorder, and women (lucky us) are more likely than men to be its victims However, with age, both sexes do become equally prone (hah!) to it. Besides stress and age, there are several factors that trigger insomnia. Remember Sleepless In Seattle? Grief and depression were the main triggers there. Dr Preeti Devnani, clinical director, Sleep Disorders Clinic, Mumbai, says, “Insomnia can be a result of predisposing causes like age, gender and family history; precipitating causes like acute illness, grief, pain and medication; and perpetuating causes like work stress, interpersonal conflict and fear of sleep, because you had a few bad nights.” Zeroing in on what’s causing your insomnia is the first step to dealing with it. Although factors like grief and pain require additional help, there are some effective home remedies that can help you fight the Dark Lord.

BE A SMART FOODIE

“Food substances containing tryptophan help induce nsleep. Bananas, warm milk and nutmeg are all sleep friendly foods,” says Dr Devnani. Carb-rich foods can help induce sleep. Caffeine hampers sleep, so coffee
addicts will need to rein in their cravings. If staving off permanently seems impossible, then at least avoid caffeinated beverages after 4 pm. Alcohol is another minion of insomnia—although it seems sleep-friendly,
in actuality, it adversely affects the quality of sleep. Smokers should also be aware that nicotine is a stimulant and will not help you have a restful night.

If you don’t snooze, you lose. But if sleep remains a distant dream, you need to tackle your insomnia
post-haste. Suchita Parikh-Mundul equips you for your battle against wakefulness

YOU’VE GOT TO MOVE IT, MOVE IT

Besides the rush of adrenalin and the healthy tiredness that exercise brings, there are specific exercises that focus solely on inducing sleep. “Progressive muscle relaxation, yoga nidra therapy and biofeedback help relax the body and mind,” explains Dr Devnani. Progressive muscle relaxation involves sequentially tightening and relaxing muscles in different areas—the exercise increases awareness and control of your body. Similarly, biofeedback involves concentrating on your body’s functions to help regulate aspects like heart rate and pressure. Yoga nidra is often described as a state of effortless sleep, and involves lying on your back, breathing evenly and consciously focusing on relaxing each part of your body.“Exercising at least threeto six hours before bedtime is best. Body temperatures rise during exercise and take as long as six hours to drop. Since cooler body temperatures areassociated with the onset of sleep, it’s important to allow the body time to cool off after you exercise,” Dr Devnani advises.

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