Improve your sleep

Another article on sleep … It is true that there are more and more publications that attempt to explain how to sleep better. And yet, I find that the advice that is given most of the time is basic and is not written by people who have already experienced sleep disorders such as chronic insomnia: sleep at a temperature of 18 ° C, turn off the screens 30 minutes before and eat light. I suggest you review the best ways to improve sleep but also the techniques that work when dealing with insomnia.

There are several types of insomnia, we will retain acute insomnia and chronic insomnia.

• Acute insomnia occurs when we face stressful events: bereavement, job loss, moving, exams, etc. In most of these situations there is not much else to do but wait for it to pass, the whole point being to accept the situation, to live with it rather than against it. she. The perception with which we experience things can change the way we deal with these events. While some people can cope with the stress of the situation with simple relaxation techniques, others may experience acute insomnia becoming chronic.

• Chronic insomnia occurs when we negatively relate to the idea of ​​sleep. Indeed, the very idea of ​​sleeping is stressful because we are afraid of not getting to sleep, and therefore we cannot sleep: it is a real vicious circle. And since we’re tired, we get on our nerves all day long, often with the help of exciting substances like coffee, which will prevent us from sleeping the next night …

How do I get to sleep, get restful sleep, and cope with insomnia if necessary?

• ritualize the moment of sleep: it is by establishing strong associations between what you do and your state that you will best optimize sleep over time. If, for example, you are used to taking a herbal tea before sleeping, then you will combine herbal tea and fatigue, it will be easier to fall asleep. The rule is regularity! Focus on relaxing activities such as reading, relaxation (massages, yoga), listening to calm music, and put aside screens and bright lights, as they prevent the production of serotonin, blocking the onset of fatigue.

• optimize the bedroom: no bright colors on the walls, closed shutters, no mess, a temperature neither too hot nor too cold (often 18 to 20 ° C). The bedroom is only made for sleeping and for love, so no desk, no tv, no home gym. The bedroom should not be associated with the idea of ​​being active. As the quality of sleep is closely related to the state in which we were before sleeping (even with 9 hours of sleep, we will be exhausted if we fell asleep while under stress), it is important to be in a calm environment. and serene. Simplicity is the watchword when it comes to the bedroom. Regarding the orientation of the bed, studies show that one sleeps just as well in a north-facing bed as in any other orientation; however, the placebo effect can be useful here if you’ve always thought it was important to sleep with your head up north: keep going, because not doing so might confuse you and prevent you from falling asleep.

• consume magnesium (in the form of magnesium citrate or magnesium bisglycinate, and no magnesium oxide which is poorly assimilated): a deficiency is observed for a large part of the population, and you do not need to check blood levels. Just give it a try, and if your sleep has improved, you may be suffering from magnesium deficiency.

• Watch your micronutrients: if you have little energy, it may be worth checking your vitamin and mineral intake.

• eat something before sleeping: a source of carbohydrates will help the production of serotonin and thus promote sleep. Do not worry: there will be no reactive hypoglycemia that will wake you up in the middle of the night, any more than eating before sleeping will make you gain weight (1 kcal = 1 kcal no matter the time of day, what matters is the energy balance (sum of expenditure and calorie intake)), and finally, insulin will not make you store more fat, unless you are a laboratory mouse.

• promote your satiety: as we are more hungry when we are tired, we tend to throw ourselves on calories that are easy to consume such as sodas, sweets etc., which are not very filling. It will therefore be necessary to improve your satiety by preparing substantial meals based on proteins (eggs, meat, dairy products, legumes), lipids (those contained in animal products such as eggs, cheese and fatty fish, olive oil). olive, butter in moderate quantities) and carbohydrates (potatoes have a very good satiety index for example, but you can also eat white rice (basmati, jasmine), fruit…). So you will have less tendency to throw yourself on less nourishing foods that will satisfy your hunger for a short time, and above all you will have more constant energy, less “jagged”.

• stop the coffee, at least for a while: if you only have occasional trouble sleeping, then you can settle for the no coffee after 6 p.m. rule. Some people don’t even say afternoon coffee, the truth is that everyone has a unique sensitivity to caffeine, so there is no one rule of thumb, just one rule to be found. On the other hand, if you are prone to chronic insomnia, then stop coffee completely at first. Indeed, consuming coffee in the morning aims to provide you with energy that you do not have in reserve, therefore you will spend yourself beyond your recovery capacities, especially as your recovery capacities are already encroached on by poor quality sleep.

• Limit alcohol: While stunning in large quantities, alcohol can also act as an stimulant, and in any case, the sleep will be of poor quality.

• and herbal tea? Some people think that herbal tea is a bad idea because it will trigger a pressing desire in the middle of the night. In truth it depends on the people, you just have to test! If that doesn’t impact you, then some herbal teas may have good results in helping to relax before sleep.

• Keep a notebook on the nightstand: often sleep does not come because lots of things to do come to mind. Writing them down in a notebook allows us to get these ideas out of our minds, because we no longer stress about forgetting to do our chores.

• if the regular application of all The previous advice does not give results, the sleeping pill is a possible option. But on several conditions: that you start with simple capsules to help fall asleep (formulas based on melatonin, and / or plants such as valerian, lemon balm) and not directly with heavy sleeping pills, than taking stronger sleeping pills be supervised by a doctor, and that you try to understand why you cannot sleep. Psychological counseling can help you break down the “bedroom = insomnia” anchor, and / or can help you resolve any problems you are facing that may be the cause of your recurring sleep disturbances. Taking sleeping pills should at most remain an “emergency” and one-off solution, for example in extreme cases (bereavement, loss of home, etc.).

• When you have trouble falling asleep, get up: the idea is not to associate the bedroom with a place where you can’t sleep. Getting up for a few minutes, opening a book, keeping the light dim, will help you fall asleep much faster than saying to yourself “no it’s okay I’m going to stay in bed, it’s going to be fine eventually”, because you will end up thinking about the meaning of existence until 3 a.m. Taking a sleeping pill at this time can be a complementary solution (see previous point).

• In the event that even getting up turns out to be a failure and you continue to roll around in bed until very late, and you don’t have sleeping pills handy, then remove you head the idea of ​​sleeping. Get up, do your chores. Even if it means having time, you might as well be productive; At least that’s what you will subconsciously feel: the satisfaction of having taken advantage of free time to put it to good use. As a reward, you will feel relaxed, and there is a good chance that you will be found in the early hours of the morning sleeping on the sofa. But here again it is an emergency solution which is not optimal for the quality of sleep and which is not reproducible on a regular basis without impacting our circadian cycle (and therefore our health, our well- being, our energy, our body composition).

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