· By Graham Sorkin
Why Can’t I Sleep? Common Causes of Insomnia
We all know the feeling -- You are laying in bed, the night before a big event and you can’t seem to relax enough to nod off. Every sound is amplified. No matter which way you contort your body you aren’t comfortable. You feel hot. You feel cold. Then, just when you think you are getting close, the dog has to pee and loudly clacks across the tile floor, reminding you that you really need to trim their nails. Eventually, you toss and turn your way into a frenzied dream only to be woken up by the alarm. Good news, you have plenty of coffee. Bad news, this isn’t sustainable.
Many turn to over the counter sleep aids to help with their sleep, or lack thereof. But, what are the root causes of insomnia, and what healthy remedies are there? Would you believe that dark chocolate may have the answer?
Read more on how Functional Chocolate Company’s fortified chocolate can help!
Common Causes of Insomnia
Our gut is connected directly to our mood and well-being. When our microbiome is out of sorts, it has a domino effect on our health. This includes how we sleep. In particular, high carbohydrate meals can be bad for quality sleep. Making sure that you have a robust amount of fruits and veggies will help your health in multiple ways, including the quality of your sleep. Incorporating omega fatty acids with fish also has positive effects on the brain and anxiety.
Drinking red wine and passing out on the couch does not count as quality sleep. More often than not, you will wake up in the middle of the night and have more difficulty falling back to sleep. For better odds, stop drinking an hour before bed and have a tall glass of water before hitting the hay.
You’ve probably heard this before, but screen time in excess is not good for you. Devices such as computers, tablets and smartphones emit blue light which is shown to reduce the natural production of melatonin needed to feel sleepy. The most common recommendation given is to avoid screen time in the evening and keep these devices away from your bedroom. When you do wake up and want something to lull you back to sleep, opt for reading or writing in soft light instead of scrolling social media.
Stressing about your day and subsequently about your lack of sleep at night is a vicious cycle. It is no mystery that the hormones related to stress have a drastic impact on sleep. Activities that calm your mind and bring your focus away from stressful events are the best way to avoid spiraling into sleepless nights followed by caffeine-filled days. Some calming things to do before bed may include: taking a hot bath, journaling, reading a favorite book or doodling in a sketchbook.
Laying in a pool of sweat is not ideal for sleep, neither is throwing your leg out of the cover for a demon to grab. So, laying in limbo with your sweat is what you get left with. A more proactive approach would be to acclimate your sleeping quarters to the season. Switch the thickness and fabric of your blankets and sheets depending on the season and use a rotating fan for ventilation and white noise. Also, wear pajamas that won’t tangle and bind when you roll around in your sleep.
Chocolate for Sleep
Dark chocolate alone can have a positive effect on sleep. That’s because it contains serotonin and tryptophan which assist in the production of melatonin. Combine the aspects of dark chocolate with botanicals such as lavender, lemon balm, passion flower, vanilla bean, and chamomile and it’s no wonder our Sleepy Chocolate is so dreamy.
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