Read, listen to music or bathe in warm water. There are many ways you can help relax your body and mind before going to sleep. Insomnia includes at least 9 million Italians in its ranks and when falling asleep becomes complex it is very important to prepare this physiological process with small rituals to recover energy, process memories and improve learning. Sleep is also part of everyday behavior that can be learned and improved.
The sleep “routine”
To promote rest means to literally make the body learn a real routine of sleep. The first thing to do is to remind us that preparation, as in everything, is important. Getting ready for a night of pure rest means avoiding starting activities that instead of relaxing, awaken or excite us just before going to sleep. Sleep is a quiet and relaxing activity, which is why it makes little sense to let it precede with something that is exactly the opposite. Mind and body seek homeostasis and do not like abrupt changes. Some fall asleep as quickly as possible and others are struggling at this stage. However, if you suffer from insomnia the recourse to a pharmacological remedy is not the first thing to consider. There are many other ways in which we can try to help our rest before relying on therapy.
Recommended sleep rituals
The more difficult it is to fall asleep, a longer time should be spent doing all those relaxing activities that will encourage sleep. The choice is very personal. It is good to ask yourself what makes us feel a feeling of relaxation in the shortest possible time. In general, the choice could be to read a book, listen to relaxing music, stretch, bathe, meditate or dedicate oneself to a moment of spiritual meditation. No matter what we choose, it is important how much this activity will have a strong impact on our sleep.
Recommendations of what not to do before going to sleep
According to experts, all excessively stimulating activities such as aerobic exercise, work, use of computers or mobile phones, video games or watching television should be avoided. It is better to stay away from all light sources, especially if they come from screens, before falling asleep.
“To prevent sleep disorders – continued the specialist – it is essential to look at lifestyles and all those unfair practices that we put in place in the second part of the day or just before going to bed, from a diet rich in foods that stimulate the nervous system or that hinder digestion such as refined carbohydrates (baguettes, biscuits, white bread, pasta, non-integral, rice), to the consumption of tea, coffee chocolate, monosodium glutamate, watching TV before bed up to the excessive use of PCs, smartphones and tablets under the covers”.
Foods and useful supplements
“One nutrient that could help us sleep better is magnesium, which helps cells adapt to the alternation of day and night,” explained Dr. Vincenzo Tullo, neurologist and headache specialist at Humanitas. Magnesium is present in various foods including almonds, walnuts and pistachios, legumes such as beans and lentils, as well as courgettes, spinach, sardines and octopus. In addition to the diet, magnesium can be taken with supplements, but should always be taken on prescription. Other natural substances indicated in the treatment of insomnia are melatonin, Bach flowers, valerian, escolzia, hops, lemon balm, passionflower, hawthorn, linden.