Around 10% of the adult population suffer from severe insomnia and regularly treat the condition with medication. In retirement homes and care homes, this figure can be as high as 20 to 50%. However, there are natural solutions available. Natural, meaning free from additives, non-addictive, and with no side effects. Because yes, it is possible to (re)discover your balance by getting out of the vicious cycle of taking sedatives in the evening and stimulants in the morning.Want to know more?
A quick reminder of the sleep phases
We are all familiar with paradoxical sleep, known as REM (Rapid Eye Movement), which corresponds to the dream phase. This is THE time to recover from nervous fatigue and to organise the information accumulated during the day. Alongside this, slow wave sleep is divided into phases of increasing depth: falling asleep, light sleep and deep sleep, which is particularly important for physical recovery. These phases are each of interest in their own way, and must be respected if we are to observe a truly restorative sleep.
Do you suffer from insomnia?
Insomnia is described as poor or insufficient quality sleep, having a detrimental effect on ability to function during the daytime. But you already knew that.
In specific terms, there are typical symptoms such as:
- Takes more than 30 minutes to fall asleep.
- Frequent wakening during the night
- Waking up too early in the morning
There is often an explanation behind secondary insomnia: poor lifestyle, stress, environment that interferes with sleep (noise, light), depression, somatic disorders (cough, gastro-oesophageal reflux), typical sleep disorders (apnoea, restless leg syndrome), taking medication, and circadian rhythm disorders (jet lag, working staggered hours...) are all factors that can prevent peaceful sleep. If you recognise any or several of these causes in your own lifestyle, you know what you have to do to improve your night's sleep. If you have already ruled out all of these potential factors, you may be suffering from primary insomnia, which is insomnia for which no aetiology can be established. Rest assured, there are also solutions in such cases.
There are solutions that help combat sleep disorders. Here are just some of them:
Preparing for sleep with relaxation techniques
A good night's sleep is something you can prepare for! It is essential that one controls one's thoughts, one's emotions. Ideally one should learn how to manage these using stress management techniques (link to Doctissimo article). There are various methods, however, the practice of yoga, relaxation or sophrology are often popular.
When it comes to alternative medicines, acupuncture really allows you to relax. Needle therapy is particularly helpful for expectant mothers suffering from sleep disorders.
Institute a bedtime ritual
And yes, this practice is not just for children - adults can also reap the benefits of the bedtime ritual. Once in bed, inhale and exhale very deeply for 5 minutes to totally switch off! To reinforce the benefits of breathing, go ahead and put on a little background music if you like. The following must be kept out of sight: screens, and all magnetic wave devices in general! Instead of your mobile phone or television, choose to read a good book or magazine before going to sleep.
Essential oils can really help to achieve a healthy and restful sleep.
Prepared in a diffusion - create an atmosphere conducive to relaxation before bedtime by diffusing essential oils in your room (30 minutes before going to sleep and not during sleep). The ideal essential oils to look out for are: Tangerine, Sweet Orange, True Lavender and Noble Chamomile.
If you don't have a diffuser at home, 2-3 drops on your pillow or applied to the wrists for direct inhalation will do the trick!
However, essential oils should be used with caution and some may be contraindicated, in particular for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
What aboud buds?
Another solution is to try gemmotherapy and buds.
By acting in a manner attuned to each individual, the bud effects a deep and gentle change, adapted to the rhythm of the body. Like a guardian leading us towards the light, it helps for a time, until we are once again strong enough to do without it, drawing what we need from within. With regard to sleep, research in gemmotherapy has shown very good results, with two buds in particular: fig and linden
The Fig tree bud :
a bud known to regulate the nervous system, the Fig freeis one of the main macerates used in gemmotherapy. It acts primarily on stress, and consequently on the disorders associated with stress: sleepand digestionproblems, especially in the stomach. The fig tree calms and soothes those suffering from stress, facilitates falling asleep and reduces night-time wakening. If you find yourself lying in bed with thoughts running around in your head, with worries hanging over you that prevent you from sleeping, the fig tree budis for you!
It is particularly effective in helping to prevent sleep disorders, by acting in 3 ways:
- on the cortico-hypothalamic axis, therefore at a psychosomatic level: it can regulate many disorders resulting from neurovegetative dystonia (fatigue, thirst, dizziness, etc.).
- against anxiety: its neuro-sedative action has positive effects, both on insomnia and on its potential causes.
- on gastric secretion and appetite: it has very interesting properties that help prevent nausea and indigestion of nervous origin.
The Linden bud:
the linden tree is a beautiful, imposing, yet delicate tree. It has a "comforting" side, a bit like a gentle and protective grandmother. One of the great benefits of gemmotherapy is that it exerts a regulatory effect on the nervous system.It is suitable as a treatment for anxiety and stress, and also when the nervous system is completely disoriented. However, its main indication remains to promote healthy and restorative sleep in babies, children and adults alike.
It is also recommended for hyperactive people, as it allows them to relax and reduce obsessive thoughts, thus allowing the mind to concentrate more easily.
In summary, lime tree macerate has tranquillising and soothing properties, thanks to 3 specific actions:
- It raises serotonin levels, with a calming effect.
- It acts on the digestive system.
- It has been observed to be beneficial in withdrawal from sleeping pills and from analgesics.
Gemmotherapy is usually prescribed as a 3-week course of treatment. For longer periods, consider taking a week's break before resuming treatment.
Do not hesitate to seek advice from a health professional for more information.
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