Seeing Through the Maze of Sleep Aids
There are so many sleep aids on the market it’s no wonder we get confused!
Types of Sleep Aids
There are natural remedies, herbal mixtures, sleeping pills, over the counter sleep solutions, sleep apnea equipment, nasal snoring patches, Chinese medicines, Bach flower remedies, homeopathic sprays, teas, nutritional supplements, dental plates, medical operations, melatonin – and that’s before we include the more psychologically based sleep solutions!
Where do we start to understand what is the best solution to our sleeping problem?
What is Insomnia?
The most important thing that we need to understand is that insomnia is always a symptom of something else. So, initially, be very pleased that you have insomnia – and that it is showing you that you have a problem somewhere. Yes, this sounds bizarre to some of you reading this, but insomnia, (pain, sores, and other physical anomalies) are indications that something is not right.
Masking The Symptom
Many people forget this most obvious and important first step. What we do NOT want is to find something that will mask the symptom, so that we are not sure whether the underlying problem has actually been fixed.
Imagine for a moment that you have cut your foot at the beach with a piece of glass – with a fragment of that glass still embedded in your foot. You go to a health practitioner and are given a pill that takes away the cut and ‘heals’ the damaged foot. So now you are ‘fine’, or so you think! In actual fact, you still have a piece of glass in your foot, and you have not fixed the underlying problem at all. So resist taking any sleep aids until you have done the following things.
Now, today, write down on a piece of paper what might be the underlying problems that you think could be associated with your insomnia.
Are you really stressed at work?
Is your home mortgage punishing you?
Do you have any allergies or food intolerances?
Are you taking any medications that are associated with insomnia, restlessness, depression, anxiety, etc? Have you looked that up?
Are you overweight?
Are you overheating in bed?
Do you drink excessive amounts of alcohol (or use other substances) that are disturbing your sleep?
Is your sleep pattern actually quite normal for your age group? Does your diet include food additives and colorings that are associated with sleeping problems (there are over 50 of them)? Do you have psychological problems?
Do you have unresolved emotional problems from your past?
And then write down exactly how your insomnia presents itself.
Do you find it difficult to get to sleep?
Do you wake up a few hours after you fall asleep and can’t go back to sleep?
Do you show a seasonal pattern around insomnia (sleeping less in spring, or winter)?
Do you wake up too early and can’t get back to sleep?
Until you actually go through this process, you will not find the underlying problem for your sleep disorder, and reason for why your body, in all its wisdom, has shown you “the symptom”. You might also understand that having 8 cups of chamomile tea a night is never going to make your mortgage disappear, or a sleeping pill fix your toxic career choice. Yes it sounds ridiculous, but people are actually making these choices, rather than fix the reason for their insomnia.
Like any labyrinth, the view from above will reveal the solution, so don’t get caught up in the details of what is contained in certain sleep aids, the dosages, when to take them etc – you may indeed not need to ‘take’ any sleep aid at all!
A reality check might be the best medicine.
You know people like this, don’t you?