Insomnia: fight it without sleeping pills
One in five French people suffers from insomnia and there are about 10% of severe insomniacs in the general population. Most of them still prefer sleeping pills, despite their side effects and their long-term dangerousness.
How to fight against insomnia
Yet, there are other much safer, non-invasive and effective ways to improve the quality of sleep as soon as you fall asleep. These techniques suggest the modification of certain behaviors in order to promote sleep. They are based on the understanding of the system of awakening/rest of our body. If they also treat the symptoms rather than the causes of insomnia, they have at least the merit of being safe.
Stress, rumination, behavioral difference, biological needs … The causes of insomnia are many and very personal. To find sleep more easily and naturally, there are three effective (and recognized) approaches.
The mechanisms are poorly understood, but setting up a sleep ritual helps to fall asleep. Our body is particularly sensitive to habits. It is therefore automatically prepared for sleep when it detects the signs (the famous rituals) in our behavior. Read a few pages of a book, drink something warm… the important thing is not so much the type of ritual (provided that it is not detrimental to sleep itself), but its consistency. This automatic sleep preparation reduces sleep time and even the level of anxiety.
Relaxation combats stress, one of the main causes of insomnia. Stress is a natural physiological response that allows the body to respond quickly to a dangerous situation. It, therefore, enhances the level of awakening of the body. On the contrary, the relaxation exercises allow relaxing the latter to sleep more easily. There is a multitude of different exercises: listening to relaxing sounds, meditation, free or guided breathing… The key: try several techniques, and adopt the one that suits you best.
To fall asleep, the body goes through a number of changes: lowering the core temperature, decreasing the respiratory rate, suspension of coherent thinking … The conditioning exercises will ask you to act consciously to bring your body closer to a body state that promotes sleep. For example, it involves lowering your heart rate or forcing your brain to stop ruminating by interfering with the consistent thought process with random words. Even more effective when ritualized, these conditioning exercises are very powerful.
The different techniques mentioned above are of course included in the Dreem headband, with a major advantage: biofeedback. Dreem tracks brain and body activity in real time. It is, therefore, able to adjust the exercises spontaneously, depending on your level of awakening.
Cool head, warm feet
Did you know that a simple pair of socks can help you fall asleep? It’s very serious.
Our biological clock naturally regulates our body temperature. It drops at the end of the day, from 7pm, and reaches its lowest point around 3am. This drop in body temperature is necessary to fall asleep. In the evening, must, therefore, facilitate the cooling of the body and eliminate excessive heat.
How? Hands and feet being our main “heat exchangers” with the environment, it is by them that we let out excessive heat. If they are too cold compared to the rest of the body, it will block the heat inside the body, and delay the cooling of the body necessary to fall asleep. On the other hand, keeping them warm will promote blood expansion, therefore a better evacuation of the heat, and… will help to fall asleep faster. Sleeping with socks may be more useful, and most importantly less dangerous than many sleeping pills!
Note that in all cases, it is important to sleep in a cool area to maintain a low average temperature, conducive to sleep.
Changing lifestyle for a better sleep
Sometimes it’s just too difficult to identify or change the behaviors that affect your sleep. A long-term method, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has proven itself to fight chronic insomnia. It involves identifying the points of blockage with the help of a professional therapist and building up a personalized set of techniques to fight against anxiety, help to fall asleep, limit night awakenings, etc.
This active method, which often requires several consultations and the keeping of a sleep diary, allows to understand and act on the vicious circle of bad sleep. It is the ultimate weapon against insomnia. It is recognized effective on 70 to 80 percent of the people who tested it. This treatment, the most successful of all, is unfortunately expensive and very demanding. It does not provide immediate results and is therefore not suitable for the treatment of acute insomnia.
Although the Dreem headband is not a medical device, it does provide a better understanding of sleep, since it follows it precisely and objectively throughout the night. It also gives you personalized advice based on your sleep statistics and their evolution. In addition, it uses a number of effective and non-invasive techniques for you to fall asleep, and even improves the quality of your deep sleep with the help of sound stimulation.
It’s a pretty common occurrence: you’re lying in bed, having just turned out the light, and all of a sudden, you’re wide awake. There are…