Many of us complain about not being able to fall asleep and having a bad night's sleep... Spending hours tossing and turning in our cosy bed without being able to abandon ourselves to the arms of Morpheus.
But why is this so difficult for us when the need to rest is so present?
First of all, we must try to understand what in our life can be an obstacle to sleep. Is it our diet? Stress? Too much activity at bedtime? A drop in immune defences? A pre-existing pathology? It is also necessary to differentiate between difficulties in falling asleep and waking up at night.
Not to mention that the circle is vicious. Indeed, sometimes, hoping to improve the problems linked to lack of sleep, we put in place unsuitable and dangerous strategies such as: coffee (alcohol, tobacco...), vitamins of all kinds in the morning and sleeping pills in the evening.
So what can we do?
Well, first you have to eliminate the causes linked to your lifestyle. The evening meal must be light and take place at least 2 hours before bedtime. It is also not advisable to have an activity such as sport just before going to sleep.
I also advise you to forget the TV or computer in the bedroom, as visual stimuli prevent the secretion of melatonin. Set aside some time to relax before bedtime: listen to soft music, read... Any activity that gives you relaxation and well-being will help you fall asleep more easily.
What to eat in the evening to sleep well?
Eat carbohydrates (rice, potatoes, pasta, cereals, lentils, honey, etc.) and omega 6 (more than omega 3). Melatonin can also be found in walnuts, hazelnuts, tomatoes, corn and of course red wine! (in moderation of course, 1 glass is enough). Foods rich in tryptophan (a neurotransmitter that is a precursor of melatonin) such as parsley, pumpkin seeds, cheese, cod, parmesan, milk and soya are also to be preferred. Of course, forget about coffee, tea or fatty meals!
Digestion should be finished by the time you go to bed, as your organs need to be able to go into a dormant state to regenerate.
Do I really need a melatonin supplement?
It has become common practice in some countries to treat insomnia with melatonin. We are also hearing more and more about it in France.
Melatonin can be of great help for people with very irregular rhythms (e.g. night workers and travellers), or with sleep-wake rhythm disorders that are generally associated with other disturbances: metabolic, cardiovascular, immune, cognitive and cellular.
In other cases, however, the supplement is unnecessary, as the body naturally secretes melatonin at the beginning of the night according to the circadian cycle, which is an endogenous cycle in the body.
What if I still can't sleep?
If the pathological causes have been eliminated and the previous advice has been followed, but you still can't sleep, then you need to look at the reasons for the nervous system disorders. Stress, anxiety, depression... It will be good to act either with relaxation methods or with plants. I find it difficult to relax. Turn to essential oils. Lavender, ylang-ylang, petitgrain, sweet orange, mandarin and marjoram will help you. Roman chamomile and neroli essential oils are even more interesting but considerably more expensive. They can be diffused or simply inhaled on a handkerchief before going to sleep.
It is also possible to put a drop on each wrist, on the solar plexus or to massage the arch of the foot with a mixture of essential oil and vegetable oil. Lime, passion flower, orange, hawthorn, lemon balm or verbena tea will also improve your state of stress and anxiety.
Don't forget the hydrolats for evening drinks: Orange blossom, lavender or verbena with a teaspoon in a cup of hot water before going to sleep. Orange blossom is particularly effective for children, especially as it is harmless.
If you are thinking about your thoughts, California poppy (Escholtzia) is recommended. Valerian is also very interesting to facilitate sleep and reduce anxiety.
Be careful, the doses must be adapted to each individual.
Breathing exercises are also useful in these cases. Relaxing by breathing
I wake up at night, my liver?
According to traditional Chinese medicine, each time period corresponds to an organ. If you always wake up at the same time, you should take care of the organ in question. At the beginning of the night from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m., it is the gallbladder.
From 1am to 3am, it's the liver. At the end of the night, 3 to 5 o'clock, the lungs. We notice that it is often the liver that comes into play in night-time awakenings.
Sleep on your right side to facilitate blood flow to the liver and drink a glass of warm lemon water at bedtime.