Insomnia and why sleep is so important

Insomnia sleeplessness
I can’t sleep!

Yes, you know what it’s like to have insufficient sleep. You wake up feeling hungover, fuzzy in the head, heavy eyed, dull thinking, maybe with a headache, grumpy and not fit for the day. But do you remember what it’s like to wake up after a really good sleep? Feeling bright, cheerful, capable of getting on with the day and optimistic.

There is a reason for the difference. The brain, which is only about 2% of the body’s total weight, uses up 25% of its energy. All metabolism has toxic by-products which the lymphatic system carries away. So far, just basic level biology. But what happens to all the toxins that accumulate around brain cells (using a quarter of the calories you consume)? The lymphathic system is not connected to the brain.

What happens is the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) washes through the brain and takes the toxic material away with it. It’s a brilliant and efficient system. But there is a catch: it only happens when you are asleep.

So if you don’t sleep sufficiently, you are not going to be able to get a good flow of CSF around the brain, the by-products of brain metabolism won’t get removed and you will in effect be hungover. This is no way to start the day, and in the case of chronic sleep problems it is no way to live your life.

Top tips:

Don’t have any light on in your room at night (including clock light and TV light)

Don’t have your mobile phone in your room. If you have to, turn it onto Airplane Mode.

Don’t take a nap to compensate for not getting enough sleep at night. Take two or three days to train yourself to stay awake during the day and NOT fall asleep in front of the TV. Get up, walk around.

Don’t keep getting up in the night to go to the loo. You might feel like your bladder is going to burst but it has an enormous capacity and it just getting into a habit of going when there is the slightest amount of urine in it.

Do go to bed at more or less the same time every night and get up at the same time, week day or weekend.

When people go to see a homeopath with insomnia or sleeplessness they usually think that it is a problem with a common cause; that it is basically the same for everyone. But that isn’t the case.

There’s the night-owl can’t get to sleep at a convenient time, so can’t get up in the morning.

People who have no problem getting to sleep but then have disturbed sleep, premature waking with negativity, depression, worry, anxiety,obsessive thoughts or behaviours.

Some people are physically hyperactive get tics or can’t sit still (plumping up the cushions and tidying as soon as anyone moves).

For some people it’s hormonal. It might be worse in the summer or winter, they might get winter blues or PMT as well.

Some people are wound up and have panic attacks; phobias (fear of heights, small spaces, snakes, etc) fibromyalgia, migraines along with sleeplessness.

The cortisol people get afternoon or evening cravings for carbs, alcohol, or marijuana.

Some feel very tense in their bodies, burned out unable to relax/loosen up stiff or tense muscles

Some have resorted to sleep medications like benzodiazepines or even valerian or Nytol and are now stuck with the drugs becoming less and less effective.

Whatever is causing your sleep problems, remember sleep is a number one priority.

I’d really like to know about your experience of not being able to get good sleep.

You need to take steps to get it sorted out.


If you like this, please share it

2 thoughts on “Insomnia and why sleep is so important

  1. Pauline Robison March 16, 2015 / 12:57 am

    I m a nurse aged 65 and work several night duties a week usually 2 night or 3 at the most 4 during the day between nights I sleep 11 hrs plus one even slept in for the next night shift now on my last night shift I try and get up atumch time and have some excersise go to bed 11 pm and often a is tonight it’s 1 am and wide awake and spend my days off mainly in bed recovering sleep body clock not good any advice would be welcome

    • Janet March 16, 2015 / 7:41 am

      Poor you. A day off after a stretch of night shifts, just isn’t a day off is it? It’s a recuperation period. My parents were young during WWII and they said that when you did nights you did them for months at a time and the way to deal with nights was to run your day as if you were working a day. So you get off work, meet friends for a pint maybe or go to the cinema then go home and to bed and get up, have breakfast and go to work. It sounds a more humane way of doing it. But cinemas aren’t open at 8am and after a short run of nights you’re just drained. Arnica is the first port of call for the nightshift weariness. Maybe give it a try. And let us know.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.