Take a Second Look at Your Sleep Deprivation
What is often overlooked when people say they are “sleep deprived” is exactly HOW your sleep deprivation presents itself.
The answer to how your sleep deprivation occurs can be the most valuable lead to your tailored sleep solution.
For example, difficulty falling asleep generally has a completely different underlying problem to waking up too early in the morning. Waking up in the middle of the night anxious and worried, is a different underlying problem to waking up in the middle of the night with twitching legs. It’s pretty obvious, but not often investigated.
Here are a couple of sleep deprivation problems and possible solutions:
Waking too early in the morning. Evidence has shown that this can have a direct relationship to depression and grief. It can also be associated with food additives and colorings that have been associated with depression (e.g. calcium propionate 282, which occurs in some manufactured breads and frozen foods). And there are also common drugs that have the side-effect of depression and/or waking too early in the morning. Solutions here include daily exercise, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), omega-3 supplementation, finding out the side effects of your prescription medications, and making decisions to change your life to overcome the problem.
Waking in the night anxious and worried. Obviously anxiety can be an issue here. Not so obvious may be an intolerance to a particular food additive or coloring that increases restlessness and anxiety – and sometimes the reaction does NOT show up the night immediately after having eaten that particular food item – it could take days. Evidence shows that most people don’t think that a food item was a problem unless the adverse reaction happens in the next hour, which makes the diagnosis quite difficult. Some food additives, even natural food substances have been associated with increased feelings of anxiety, frequent night waking, even nightmares, night terrors and weird dreams.
Remember that if you have a restless, crying baby (sometimes even screaming!) – it might be behaving in this way because the chemicals you are eating are passing to them through your breast milk. (To clarify – we are not saying breast feeding is the problem, but that the mother’s diet can be the problem).
There are a number of chemical free diets and organizations to help you if you want to investigate this option. Food chemicals are also addictive, so there may be some withdrawal symptoms that need managing during this process. It is a great idea to join groups who can help with this.
These are just a couple of examples (nowhere near a conclusive list), but they will give you an idea of some of the underlying sleep deprivation issues.
Don’t just think of insomnia in broad terms any more, your mission is to get down to detail, and self-diagnose your problem(s) in order to find your unique solution.