Insomnia affects a large portion of the population and particularly often older people. The causes are numerous: stress, anxiety, anguish, pain, nervous tension, late dinners and the consumption of stimulants, such as coffee, cocoa and carbonated beverages. Often the quality of sleep diminishes with age, but it is important to recognize that this type of situation often causes health problems. The ingestion of certain medication may also be the cause. Particular vitamin and mineral deficiencies can also affect the quality of sleep, as well as cause respiratory problems and hormonal changes. There is no standard relative to the number of hours of sleep necessary, given that the need of the individual depends on person’s specific activities. However, studies have shown that individuals who sleep between 7 and 8 hours, live longer, happier and are in better health.
Avoid eating late at night. In fact, dinner should be sufficiently sustaining so that there should not be any hunger before bedtime, but it should be lighter than lunch. Eat at least three hours prior to retiring. Alcohol and tobacco can adversely affect sleep. An evening stroll helps digestion and calms mental stress. Intense physical exercise on the other hand, will keep one awake longer. Sleeping in a quiet and well ventilated room promotes restorative sleep. Some of the means to obtain a good night’s rest are a hot bath with calming oils and herbs, and using a diffuser with essential oils. If one cannot fall asleep, get out of bed and don’t return until really tired.