04 Jan sleep disruptions – stress related
I have been reading a few articles on the web about foods that can help you to sleep. It would seem that a few key nutrients play a part – melatonin, magnesium and calcium as found in walnuts and almonds. I have also found that a warm cup of almond milk with a teaspoon of honey can make you sleep more deeply.
It would be alright, except that I am waking up every hour through the night, as though my brain is on the alert for danger. Always with some kind of catastrophe on the tip of my brain. I have read that STRESS can disrupt sleeping cycles, and I am loathe to go directly to the doctor to get sleeping tablets, because they are addictive and sometimes they can make the problem worse long term.
There are other natural solutions that I plan to implement over the coming week to try and get back into my proper sleep cycles, after such a catastrophic mental breakdown before Christmas.
Could nicotine be a risk factor?
After reading a wikipedia article on insomnia, it would seem that indeed STRESS can cause sleep disruption, and that mental illness can also cause sleep disruption. I think that my cortisol levels are so elevated in the evening, because of the grand psychosis I have just returned from, and I AM WONDERING if this psychosis, could have been due to a reduction in nicotine, which as put my brain in a vulnerable position. AS a heavy smoker, my brain would have been quite used to these chemicals and to REMOVE them, and then ADD the stress of xmas, could have caused my already fragile mind to go into another zone. It is frustrating, because I had been going so WELL. I felt as though I had turned a corner with my illness, and that I was managing it well.
It might be SOMETHING else, but this is my theory at the moment!
The first thing that might help is to NOT turn the computer on in those morning hours when you wake up, because apparently some of the light emitted by these devices can stop you from falling back to sleep. I also think it is important to keep trying to fall asleep, even if your danger centres are alerting you to danger, and wanting to keep you awake for some ill defined purpose.
Keeping the room dark, and returning back to bed as many times as is possible during the night, can help to increase the number of HOURS sleep you can garner, and to wake feeling more refreshed than if you stay up working all night! It is a good idea to read a book in another room with soft light, to get your brain to repose, and to get sleepy again. Take advantage of every opportunity to sleep as MUCH as you can.
My understanding of melatonin, is that it can help to support your sleep wake cycles, and to make you feel sleepy in the evening. It can also be useful with jetlag.
I did have the opportunity to see a doctor just before Christmas who gave me some natural advice and ended up prescribing melatonin, however, the chemists did not stock it. AS I am going to work today, I think that I will make a trip to our organic cafe and medicine shop and buy some melatonin and get some directions on how to take this.
Exercise a few hours before bedtime can increase the quality of your sleep, so I plan to go for a run each day this week before dinner, so that I may be really tired at bedtime.
Sexual activity can also be useful before sleep, as it helps you to sleep better.
Food and drink
I plan to drink a cup of almond milk with honey, just before sleep, and before that sip on camomile tea. I am also going to take magnesium and calcium with my evening meal, as I think this might support getting back into a routine, and, I will also turn off the computer an hour before bed, and spend some time looking into the night sky, and doing more relaxing pursuits in order to let my mind wind down from the day of computer tech work.
As I think STRESS is causing this pattern, it is important to do as much as possible to REDUCE stress and to get into a normal routine. I am going to start working again normally now, and I am going to do mindfulness practice each morning and evening, to be grateful to the higher power of light and love, but also to increase my resilience and reduce the evolutionary part of my brain from alerting me to DANGER all the time! 😀
I hope that if you also have trouble sleeping, or staying asleep that some of these tips will help. It is a fairly common problem, here in Australia as well as internationally. Let me know anything else that has helped you sleep in the comments! 🙂