Autumn is a time of significant changes in nature. And this is not only the beauty of fading parks and squares. The onset of cold weather, bad weather, short days, lack of sun — all these are also signs of autumn, which often adversely affect our health. In addition to colds, autumn blues and exacerbations of chronic diseases, insomnia manifests itself. Why do sleep disturbances appear during this period, and sometimes in people who do not have such problems at other times? How to deal with insomnia? Let’s find answers with Healthyinfo.
Causes of autumn insomnia
There are physiological and psychological causes of autumn insomnia. The first include the reaction of the body to adverse weather conditions characteristic of this time of year:
pressure surges due to unstable meteorological conditions;
discomfort associated with a decrease in temperature;
a decline in mood and sometimes the development of depression as a result of a reduction in daylight hours.
Physiologists consider the latter circumstance to be the main cause of autumn insomnia. Sunlight has a huge impact on all processes occurring in our body, including the regulation of biological rhythms responsible for sleep and wakefulness. Under the action of infrared radiation, the synthesis of the neurotransmitter serotonin (it is called the “happiness hormone”) occurs, which is responsible for a good mood and effectively resists depression. Its amount in the body depends on the production of another substance — the sleep hormone melatonin, which is synthesized at night and, among other functions, is responsible for a full-fledged healthy sleep.
Due to the lack of daylight in the autumn and a decrease in the formation of serotonin in the body, the production of melatonin also decreases, which explains not only the autumn blues, but also the deterioration in the quality of sleep: problems falling asleep, nocturnal or early awakenings, insomnia. Scientists have experimentally proven that a sufficient amount of light received by a person normalizes sleep and improves the condition of patients suffering from chronic seasonal depression.
Psychological factors that negatively affect the quality of sleep include longing for the past summer, good weather, vacation or vacation that has ended. The need to adapt again to the strict daily routine of the working (school) year, the return to cares forgotten in the summer, coupled with natural changes, causes apathy, irritation, and worsens sleep for many. However, there are ways to help fight both seasonal depression and insomnia.
Healthy lifestyle and good habits against insomnia
It’s an old truth: to have healthy sleep, you need to lead a healthy lifestyle. Cigarettes, alcohol, unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle, stress do not contribute to a quality night’s rest. Let’s take a closer look at how our habits and lifestyle affect sleep.
Many studies have shown that physical activity is an effective tool in the fight against sleep disorders and chronic insomnia. 150 minutes a week of moderate or vigorous physical activity improves sleep quality by 65%. It has long been noticed: the more you move, the faster you fall asleep. And the reason for this is not just fatigue, there are other factors. Walking, swimming, dancing relieve stress, reduce anxiety; more intense activities release endorphins, substances that cause a feeling of pleasure and joy. All this helps to strengthen the nervous system, improves the emotional state, which has a beneficial effect on the quality of sleep. However, you should refrain from intense physical activity in the evening: the excitement they cause can prevent you from falling asleep.
Movement in the fresh air during the daytime will bring even more benefits, since the intensive production of serotonin under the influence of light will be added to the above, and saturation of the body with oxygen will have the best effect on the functioning of the nervous system. If it is impossible to use enough daylight, scientists advise installing powerful artificial lighting lamps at home or at work. At the same time, scientists warn about the dangers of blue radiation from the screens of various gadgets, which interferes with the production of melatonin, and do not recommend using phones, computers and other similar devices before going to bed.
Creation of an evening ritual.
For a comfortable sleep, you need an appropriate environment in the evening, which you need to create yourself. It should be relaxing and soothing. It is better to refuse to discuss daily affairs, worries and thoughts about them, postpone physical or intellectual activity until the next day, dim the lights. It is very important to come up with a sequence of actions that are repeated every evening. Evening toilet, soothing music or reading a good book, a cup of herbal tea, meditation — to each his own. The usual ritual will help prepare the body for a night’s rest. It should also be a habit to go to bed.
Lavender, marjoram, chamomile oils have a sedative effect and make it easier to fall asleep. A few drops of this oil can be applied to the crook of the elbow, wrist, or behind the ear. A bag of dried hop cones placed at the head of the bed will also contribute to sound sleep.
Foods and drinks that help you sleep
The food we eat not only ensures the viability of our body, but also in a certain way affects its various functions. In particular, certain substances found in foods can make it difficult or easier to fall asleep, improve or worsen the quality of sleep.
Do not use before bed:
Coffee, strong tea and caffeinated drinks due to their stimulating effect.
Alcohol. Its relaxing effect, which helps to fall asleep quickly, does not last long, after which a restless superficial sleep sets in, which is not conducive to rest and recuperation.
Facilitate falling asleep and improve the quality of sleep foods containing tryptophan, which is involved in the synthesis of serotonin and its conversion to melatonin. Record holders for the amount of this amino acid are:
nuts and seeds;
turkey, rabbit, chicken, veal, beef, beef liver;
red and black caviar, herring, salmon, squid;
dates, dried apricots.
Foods containing magnesium and potassium, B vitamins, iron will also help to fall asleep; these substances contribute to better absorption of tryptophan, and also have a beneficial effect on the nervous system, relieving tension and calming. These products include:
banana, dried dates;
cherry, cherry juice (contains melatonin);
Herbal teas with valerian, chamomile, linden, mint are good for relieving stress, soothing and have a slight hypnotic effect. A tried and true remedy is warm milk with honey.
Have a good sleep in any weather!