What to do if you have insomnia

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So many clients share with me their struggles with insomnia. As a former insomniac I can relate. Sleep is so crucial to optimal health yet so many of us are deprived. I've outlined what I've learned over the past ten years in regards to insomnia. 

 

1. Test your hormones

First thing I would recommend is getting a test of your hormones, which could be attributing to your insomnia. Your cortisol, melatonin, DHEA all regulate the circadian rhythm (sleep rhythms) which is controlled by the hypothalamus. If these levels are out of whack then so will your sleep. 

When I took these tests I learned that my hormones were totally off - meaning the hormones that were supposed to make me sleepy peaked in the morning and the ones that were supposed to keep me awake peaked at night. No wonder I always felt off, even as a child. I think this was due to years of anxiety, stress and heightened fight or flight mode in the evenings due to some challenges in my home life as a child. And probably my homeostasis was more prone to feeling anxious.   

More expensive version here, less expensive but less extensive version here

2. Take an Ayurveda quiz 

Take the quiz and learn about your dosha. There are preferred foods, herbs, exercises, meditation for each dosha and what to do at particular times of the day to enhance good sleep. For instance, some people are not affected by caffeine or exercise in the afternoon or evening, whereas some people are very sensitive to it. 

You could go to an Ayurvedic practitioner to purchase the herbs, or you can buy in bulk online and then make in a tea each morning and evening that can help you sleep. Mountain Rose and Sun Potion are good. 

 

3. Superwoman Rx

I first experienced the power of acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as a 26 year old having just moved to California. I was anxious and angry. The acupuncturist felt my pulse and then regurgitated to me a lifetime medical history after touching my arm and looking at my tongue for about 1 minutes. I was amazed by the wisdom and power of this reading. And even more amazed at how the acupuncture calmed me and relaxed me. Within a year, in addition to removing sugar from my diet, I was sleeping better and experiencing more regular periods than I ever had in my life. I was also had successfully not drank alcohol for one year.

I first experienced Ayurvedic medicine as a 28 year old after noticing digestive issues that weren't resolving from Western Medicine or TCM. Ayurvedic medicine, eating for my dosha, shifted not only my digestive issues but also sleep issues. 

This book by Dr. Tasneem Bhatia offers a quiz in the beginning of the book and then a 21-day plan to follow to reset your body based on the type of woman that you are. She integrates Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurvedic but also Western Medicine. This book is incredible and she integrates so much into one resource for the modern woman, including shopping lists and recipes. 

 

4. Magnesium

Magnesium is known for its ability to relieve insomnia. Some studies have found that it decreases the stress hormone, cortisol. It helps bring a relaxed, calm and sleepy feeling at the end of the day. Another study shows a potential improvement in depression and mood disorders. 

 

5. Woman Code

This book by Alisa Vitti educates women on their menstrual cycles. Your hormones and cycles can affects your sleep. Ideally you want to bleed during the new moon (upcoming Nov 19) and ovulate during the full moon (upcoming Dec 3). 

 

6. Electronics

Turning off the blue light from electronics, or better yet turning off all electronics, at least 1-3 hours before you want to go to sleep. I would also recommend that you go to sleep and wake at the same time each day. This will start to help regulate your body back to a normal state. You can use the flux app on your computer and phone.

Last, allowing the full moon light to shine on you while you sleep the day of the full moon, as well as the day before and after, and then sleeping with eye pillow all other days of the month will help remind your body (and your eggs) of sleep and menstrual rhythms. 

 

7. Meditation and Breathing

I would recommend that you meditate every morning and evening for at least five minutes to become aware of the thoughts and if racing thoughts are affecting your ability to fall asleep. There are so many great apps for meditation and I also have a YouTube videos of guided and grounding meditations. 

Coherent Breathing  is fantastic for insomnia. If you ever want to be guided through it let me know. In summary it is 5 breaths per minute for 10 minutes (inhale 6 seconds, exhale 6 seconds per minute, for 10 minutes). If you want to focus on the Wim Hof breathing that is a great tool tool. The Breathwork that I facilitate in my classes and private sessions is fantastic for clearing blocks and allowing our mind body and spirit to relax at bedtime. 

 

I'd love to hear from you about what you discover. Comment below or email me privately at gwen@gwendittmar.com. Sweet dreams!