INSOMNIA : WHICH COMPLEMENTARY
What is insomnia ?
Insomnia is the alteration of the quality and/or duration of sleep. In chronic cases, it is accompanied by daytime disturbances (fatigue, sleepiness, concentration and mood disorders, etc.).
It is one of the main sleep disorders, including parasomnia (sleepwalking, night terrors), hypersomnia (long sleep time and/or excessive daytime sleepiness) and circadian rhythm disorders (sleep-wake rhythms that are out of sync with light).
According to the Swiss Health Observatory, about 1/3 of adults suffer from sleep disorders and 10% of adults resort to taking medication (punctually or daily).
Insomnia can be primary or secondary:
Primary: insomnia is the disease (it is not the effect of a disease)
Secondary: insomnia is the symptom of a pathology
There are many causes that can disrupt sleep: stress, acute or chronic illness, chemicals, nighttime work schedules, diet, connected lifestyle…
Insomnia can be occasional or chronic.
It is temporary and can be due to many factors that, once determined and optimized, will help you get back to sleep.
It lasts for a long time and often corresponds to a vicious circle linked to the anxiety of going to bed (the fear of not being able to sleep and of not recovering one’s energy to face the next day).
Why does sleep affect our general condition?
Sleep is a modified state of consciousness that conditions the physical and psychological recovery of the body. It is therefore essential for our good health. It allows us to reconstitute our energy stock, to produce growth hormones, to regulate our blood sugar level, to eliminate waste from our body, to stimulate our immune system, to regulate our stress, our mood and to optimize our memory.
When our rhythm is disturbed, our body is weakened. Beyond the feeling of tiredness, we can notice :
- a decrease in psychomotor performance
- a decrease in the ability to judge
- difficulties of concentration
- memory problems
- a decrease in creativity
- increased irritability
- weight gain
- vision problems
Not to mention that lack of sleep can also cause drowsiness, which is responsible for many accidents on the road and at work.
If sleep deprivation is prolonged and persists over the long term, the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and even depression increases.
When to consult a doctor?
If insomnia is accompanied by other symptoms suggesting a secondary cause (weight loss/appetite loss, pain, palpitations) or if the impact on daily life becomes significant (sleepiness, irritability, depression, difficulty at work), it is important to consult your doctor.
Lifestyle and nutrition: their impact on our sleep
A few changes in our daily lives can sometimes help us return to restful sleep.
Dietary tips to improve sleep quality
Eating habits can affect our clock and our physiological needs.
Thus the composition of meals and the time of day they are eaten can influence sleep. Indeed, some foods induce sleep and should be eaten at the end of the day and in the evening, while others are stimulating and should therefore be eaten at the beginning of the day.
Some dietary recommendations to sleep well:
Eating slow sugars in the evening facilitates the production of serotonin, which is essential for the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that informs the body that it is night and that it is time to sleep.
Incorporate foods rich in tryptophan in your menu, this amino acid helps synthesize serotonin and melatonin. Foods rich in tryptophan that you can eat at the end of the day and in the evening are: eggs, nuts, almonds and hazelnuts, dairy products, certain cereals and starches: oats, soy, corn, rye, sesame, rice, quinoa, dried vegetables: lentils, chickpeas, dried beans, fish, bananas, chocolate.
Focus on starchy foods in the evening for their tryptophan intake and to avoid nighttime cravings.
It is advisablé to have dinner 2 to 3 hours before going to bed, avoiding meals too rich in proteins. Indeed, digestion leads to an increase in body temperature (especially the digestion of meats), yet the decrease in internal temperature is an essential condition for sleep.
Limit the intake of stimulants such as coffee, tea, alcohol and nicotine.
For personalized support, you can consult a nutritionist who will help you with the composition of your plate.
More information on nutritional support here.
A few rules can be followed:
- Listen to your biological rhythm
- Adapt your bedding
- Avoid screens before going to sleep
- Practice a regular physical activity
Sophrology and emotional balance: in-depth work on sleep
Because of its breathing exercises and dynamic relaxation, the practice of sophrology will act directly on the parasympathetic nervous system which will induce a state of physical and mental relaxation. The sophronizations will accompany you towards a real well-being and will facilitate your progression towards more serene nights.
With the help of simple exercises, the regular practice of sophrology will allow you to apprehend your nights with calm and confidence for a restful and invigorating effect.
How does the protocol work?
It is always tailor-made. Its objective will be to bring you personalized tools in order to evacuate fatigue and limiting beliefs about sleep at first and facilitate the return to inner calm and well-being.
Then, we will work towards a positive state of detachment from sleep disorders. Then we will aim to activate your vitality so that you can feel the benefits.
We will also stimulate your ability to sleep peacefully and free yourself from insomnia. And finally we will prepare you to live a sweet night’s sleep and to affirm your capacities to sleep easily and all night long in your new daily life.
Remember that sophrology is an effective practice with immediate benefits that requires regular training, called sophro-training, outside of the sessions with the therapist, for deep and lasting effects.
More explanations/information on sophrology here.
Acupuncture and pharmacopoeia treatments for insomnia
Among the causes that Chinese medicine has listed for insomnia, we can cite emotional imbalances, inadequate diet, intellectual overwork and weakness following an illness.
Chinese medicine takes into account the psyche of the patient and explains that the relationship between body and mind is through Qi or vital energy. When there is an accumulation of emotions such as stress or anxiety, the Qi of the Heart is disturbed and disordered, which prevents the consciousness (Shen) from finding its residence in the Heart and causes insomnia.
Chinese doctors pay special attention to the energy of the Stomach to treat insomnia. We notice that after a heavy or rich meal, we feel much more restless when we sleep.
Another factor causing poor sleep quality is the lack of blood supply to the heart muscle, which is found in elderly or convalescent people.
By re-establishing harmony in the energetic circulation with acupuncture and a good irrigation of the cardiac muscle with the Chinese pharmacopoeia, sleep becomes deeper and more restful.
More information on acupuncture here.
More information on pharmacopoeia here.
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