What is Insomnia?
Whether one mistakes a pot of regular coffee for decaf, or is worked up over a big meeting the following day, occasional sleeplessness it is a very common experience. When sleeplessness becomes chronic and begins to affect one’s ability to function during the day, however, it is labeled as insomnia. Symptoms of insomnia include difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, sleep that doesn’t refresh, and waking up in the morning with an inability to fall asleep again. With almost two-thirds of all Americans suffering from one or more of these symptoms, there are many people in this country that are at risk of suffering from memory loss and lack of concentration. Other conditions that may be triggered by insomnia include cardiovascular disease, acid reflux, depression, sleep apnea, and an increased vulnerability to substance abuse.
How can I treat Insomnia?
In traditional Chinese medicine, insomnia reflects an imbalance in the liver, spleen, and heart, usually caused by excessive worry, anxiety, and depression. If the spirit (the heart) isn’t calm and the liver and spleen aren’t processing nutrients, then insomnia may ensue. Insomnia can be prevented by reversing these tendencies, through a diet of wholesome foods free of all preservatives and additives including green leafy vegetables, whole grains, and foods low in acidity. Good foods to eat include asparagus, avocados, squashes and zucchini, brown rice, soy products, and salmon. Other remedies include eating more grains at dinner, eating a cup of natural yogurt an hour before bedtime, and meditating for 15 minutes before bedtime. People that have regular exercise routines tend to have fewer episodes of insomnia, and moderate exercise for 20 or 30 minutes a day is recommended, although it should be practiced two or more hours before bedtime.
What should I avoid in my lifestyle for Insomnia?
When working to prevent insomnia, it is important to avoid coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate products, spicy foods, hard-to-digest foods, medications with caffeine such as Excedrin, and eating fewer than three hours before going to bed.
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