Claridge Naturopathics Blog

February 25, 2016


Author: Emma Wisbey 

Do you have trouble sleeping?

Do you have trouble sleeping? Many people state that they have insomnia but did you know that there are 3 very distinct categories that all reflect completely different reasons for poor sleep? So firstly you need to know;

  1. Do you have trouble going to sleep?
  2. Do you have trouble staying asleep?
  3. Or do you wake unrefreshed?

Then within these parameters there are a multitude of other symptoms such as night terrors, snoring, teeth grinding, bed wetting, restless legs…the list goes on. And from a clinical perspective there are many different treatments we would consider once we have determined the underlying cause to your sleep disturbance.

What many people don’t realise is that sleep is as important to our health as diet, exercise, genetics and the like. At night when you sleep imagine your body is an office building, and when all the workers go home all your cleaners and maintenance people come in clean up and repair. During waking hours our body is predominantly catabolic, this means that we are metabolising or breaking things down whilst we are active. However whilst we sleep we are anabolic ie in a state building/repair . Therefore as you might imagine, poor sleep will influence your body’s repair processes and can furthermore affect your overall health.

It is suggested that as adults we get 7-9 hours sleep per night. Teenagers require 8-10 and primary school children  should be getting 9-11, with toddlers and pre-schoolers needing 10-14 hours. Obviously we require more when we are younger as these are our body’s developmental years. This is also why we feel the need to sleep when we are unwell, in order to repair and recover.

So as you can see, healthy sleep patterns are an important part of assessing your health. Some helpful tips that might improve your sleep include;

  1. Exercise – light exercise later in the day eg. walking after dinner or a gentle yoga class may help to burn off excess energy from the day but also assist in a deeper nights sleep.
  2. Routine & Environment – establish a routine to ensure you are rested and in bed at a reasonable time each night. This might be as simply as a warm bath/shower or a cup of relaxing herbal tea (eg. chamomile) closer to bedtime. Also ensure your bedroom is cool, dark and noise free.
  3. Avoid stimulants such as coffee, alcohol or heavy meals close to bedtime.
  4. Electromagnetic radiation – limit TV watching or using phones, tablets or computers immediately before going to bed. The light emitted from the screens of such devices is stimulating to the brain and can exacerbate symptoms of insomnia.
  5. De-stress – if possible don’t take worries or stress to bed. This may be achieved by writing a list of what needs to be done the next day, journaling if you need to let go of particular events, meditation to calm the mind, or simply chatting to a friend or family member about worries so you don’t take them to bed.