By Fliss Foster, Sleepability
It will come as no surprise that insomnia statistics are rocketing as a result of the pandemic, and that people should have as many options as possible, because the research shows that one size does not fit all.
Let’s look at some recent statistics for what is known as Coronasomnia:
- Researchers at Southampton University reported a sharp increase in anxiety-related sleeplessness in mothers, key workers and those with BAME heritage1
- The UK Sleep Council confirm 50% of respondents have reported Covid-related insomnia
- Vivid dreams are waking people as a result of the pandemic with bugs being a common metaphor.2 This disturbing because dream state is only experienced in deep, restorative sleep (REM), so awakening from dreams deprives us of the benefits of healthy sleep
- Social restrictions have disrupted sleep which affects immunity.3
- Those with sleep apnoea have experienced an 8-fold increase in hospitalisation and respiratory failure during the Pandemic.4 paper
- Researchers report how sleep can improve outcomes for Covid-195
- Researchers link severity of Covid-19 to gut health6
The conventional approach to insomnia is to recommend sleep hygiene, a series of practical tips, guidance and advice which certainly set the scene for good sleep, but research confirms that sleep hygiene alone is not enough to help people sleep.7
Some people may be recommended a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (“CBT”) but that will depend on your health authority’s resources. CBT can help change behaviour around problematic habits but this approach doesn’t work for everyone. Failing that, medication is often a last resort for persistent and chronic insomnia.
Homeopathy & Natural Therapies – the ‘roots & branch’ approach
I have worked as a Homeopath and Natural Health Consultant for over 20 years and have worked with countless clients to help them with all types of health problems and associated sleep conditions.
Sleep is a great indicator of health and wellbeing and is why it forms part of my standard case taking. I have a wealth of experience and expertise in treating sleep and, while reading an article on insomnia, the penny dropped: the research confirms the efficacy of Homeopathy and natural therapies for insomnia,8-11 and further research shows that there is the desire for natural alternatives for insomnia,12 and Sleepability was born!
What makes Homeopathy so effective is its simplicity. Each client and their prescription are individualised because no two people’s insomnia is the same. Your life and response to a stressor will be different from another person’s experience of the same event. Equally, your medical and that of your family is unique.
To arrive at a bespoke remedy, expert case taking identifies that unusual and perhaps unique element in your case. For example, what helps or hinder your insomnia; what worries or stresses you; perhaps you resort to drinking to help yourself wind down; or find yourself overeating and suffering with indigestion at night; perhaps you’re in pain, or experiencing side effects from your medication; maybe you drive yourself to excel or perhaps the opposite – you’ve let if all go now you’re working remotely; perhaps you’re lonely, or are better without company; or maybe vivid or repetitive dreams are keeping you from sleep. This will give you an idea of how unique everyone’s insomnia is and is why the ‘one size fits all’ will only ever have limited effectiveness. The key to the long term solution is you.
You’ve probably heard it before but gut health but it is absolutely fundamental to your sleep, immunity and mental health. This is because the microbiome is by far the biggest producer of the sleep hormone, Melatonin.13 See my suggestions below and start from today to improve your gut health and sleep.
Sleep & Mental Health
Research has confirmed a direct, bidirectional link between sleep and mental health,14 so any steps you take to improve your sleep will improve your mental health, and vice versa. In terms of immunity, medical science is encouraged to promote sleep health for therapeutic control of chronic infectious, inflammatory and mental health disorders.15,16
Stress & Anxiety
Stress Management is another vital resource to give people practical techniques they can use to help manage their sleeplessness. The stress may be personal or work-related but regardless of cause, the stress hormones produced will prevent you from sleeping.17-21 This is where a truly holistic approach to sleeplessness is effective. Homeopathy and Nutrition can help take your body off of ‘red alert’ and break the stress hormone cycle, to help restore your sleep naturally. In my experience, no amount of sleep hygiene tips will help a person who is stressed, anxious or suffering from trauma, bereavement or shock.
My Top 5 Tips
My approach is to combine the best of sleep hygiene with Homeopathy and natural remedies but everyone will benefit from one or more of the following:
- Healthy Gut = Healthy Sleep. From today, start taking one or more of the following:
- Kefir Yoghurt
- Kombucha (non dairy option)
- Sauerkraut & Kimchi
- Prebiotic and Probiotic supplements
- Sea Buckthorn supplement
- Eat more fibre (fruit, veg, pulses, nuts and wholegrains to feed gut flora)
- Homeopathy & Natural Therapies. Using my ‘root & branch’ approach, identify the cause of your insomnia with expert case taking and restore sleep using bespoke homeopathic remedies, nutrition and stress management.
- Go Outside! Sunlight helps regulate your circadian rhythm which will help you to produce Melatonin later in the day and which will promote sleep at night. You may also benefit from UVB which helps to generate Vitamin D but avoid the sun when it is at its peak to prevent skin damage. For more from information on Vitamin D from a world authority, please see the work of Dr Holick
- Ditch the Tech. One of the biggest sleep myths is tech to help you sleep! The bedroom is for rest and intimacy only – not your gadgets. Electromagnetic radiation interferes with your sleep brainwaves. De-SMART your home, switch off your tech 2 hours before bedtime - and that includes your router at the plug point!
- Breathe. Breathing is the key to relaxation. It is the route to connect with your body, mind and inner self. It is the way you introduce energy, awareness and oxygen to every cell of your body and from where you begin to let go and heal. Try this simple breathing exercise wherever you are to calm yourself and, at the end of the day, prepare for sleep:
- Breathe in through your nose for a count of 3, as you say to yourself, 'I breathe in'.
- Hold your breath for a count of 4
- Breathe out through your nose for a count of 5, as you say to yourself, 'I breathe out'.
For more information, see my Top 7 Tips – the journey to natural sleep.
Invest in your rest. Because sleep matters.