Up at night

When I was a kid I was quite jealous of my mom. She was narcoleptic and could fall asleep anywhere and at any time (although not always by choice!). Myself, I fall asleep easily enough (OK, as long as the room is perfectly dark and quiet), but I rarely sleep through till morning, waking up at between 2 and 3 a.m. most nights. I do not really consider this a problem, since my partner has a similar sleep pattern. He is a good company at 2 a.m. Doctor Co-director of the Sleep Program at Hospital says that insomnia, whose definition includes waking up in the middle of the night and having trouble falling asleep again, is a common problem in our culture.

“30 per cent of the population complains about their sleep process in any given year. Of that 30 per cent, half, or 15 per cent of the population, will have significant difficulty with impairment caused by insomnia.” The most common sleep disturbance, Doctor says, is something we all experience to some degree: stress. But, an authorized teacher of the Sounder Sleep System, a series of movements and breathing techniques designed to help us snooze, offers a different explanation. She says that wakefulness during the night might be related to the two distinct sleep periods of our prehistoric ancestors; as we age, we tend to revert to our ancestral patterns. Yet another perspective on why people wake in the middle of the night comes from, a medical herbalist, explains how our organs are active at different times of the day and night

Between 1 and 3 a.m., your liver is busy, making vitamins and hormones, eliminating toxins, and generally cleansing your body. If you are under a lot of stress, your body releases a lot of cortisol, and for some people this has a stimulating effect as the liver detoxifies.” Medical herbalist has several suggestions to help me that my liver does its job without stimulating me to wakefulness, starting with the obvious: reduce my reliance on caffeine and alcohol.

“Initially, it is best to use a kit to detoxify your liver. And then, if you start to eat foods that are cooling for the liver, you should expect to see, improvements in your sleep. Cooling foods include bitter herbs like dandelion root, rosemary, thyme, and turmeric, and vegetables such as radicchio, romaine lettuce, and artichokes. For meat, fish, is the best bet; lamb, however, will almost definitely cause you to wake up hot in the night. Authorized teacher of the Sounder Sleep System also shares some suggestions to help me get back to sleep on those nights when I am the only one awake in the wee hours.

“Light wakes us up and darkness puts us to sleep, so make sure your sleep cycle relates to the natural daylight cycle. If you engage in vigorous exercise, do this earlier in the day. In the evening, keep your consumption of excitatory foods, such as red meat and sweets, to a minimum, and eat inhibitory foods: milk, cheese, chicken soup, bananas, and turkey, for example.” And if all else fails, authorized teacher of the Sounder Sleep System offers a Sounder Sleep System exercise to use when sleep is evasive. It is called “breath surfing.”
“Hold your hands thumb to thumb, index finger to index finger, and lay them lightly on your belly. Let your thumbs separate and rise slightly on the inhale and return on the exhale. Focus your attention on the movement of your hands rising and falling, surfing on your belly. Repeat this six or eight breaths and then rest.”
Two or three repetitions of breath surfing is usually enough to settle me back to sleep. And on the nights it does not work? Do not tell my partner, but sometimes I roll around just enough to wake him, so we can celebrate our caveman roots.

Important note: We do not take responsibility for any of the content you may find on these sites. If you have a personal health concern please consult your qualified health practitioner.