Updated: May 28
Many people suffer from sleep problems, whether it be insomnia - not being able to sleep at all, or more commonly, those who go to sleep feeling tired but wake up during the night. Some people can get back to sleep, where others find it almost impossible to get back to sleep once they wake up.
If you wake before 1:00am
This is most commonly associated with people who have a high sugar intake, and those who have trouble managing their blood sugar levels. If this is you, you should dramatically reduce your sugar intake immediately to help resolve your sleep problems.
Most processed and packaged foods are loaded with sugar, so try consuming a more natural whole food diet. Cut out on all the junk foods, such as chocolate & sweets, crisps, cakes, etc. Avoid processed cereals and especially cut back on fizzy drinks and fruit juices (including the 'diet' sodas). Also try to avoid consuming high amounts of breads, pastas, rice and potatoes which can also spike your insulin and blood sugar levels.
If you wake between 1:00am - 3:00am
If you wake up between these times, or a couple hours after you have fallen asleep, this usually indicates a liver issue. People who wake during these times often find it very hard to drift off again and can be awake for a good couple of hours before nodding off again.
The most likely reason for this is that your liver is high in toxins. It's your livers job to filter out all the toxins from your body. Your liver really kicks in whilst your asleep. If your liver is highly toxic and is having a hard time processing all the toxins, it will become stained and will call upon your adrenal glands to release adrenalin to help it keep going. This is great for your liver, however not so great for you, as adrenalin is going to prepare your body for action (fight or flight response), so you will not be able to sleep easily, if at all.
Try to reduce your alcohol intake if symptoms persist. Various medications can also cause high toxicity levels. The best solution would be to supplement with black walnut or milk thistle. Taking 10-15 droplets of milk thistle, with water, every morning and before bed will usually sort your sleep problems out within a week. For a full detox, take the milk thistle for about a month, then take during the first week of each month to maintain a healthy toxicity level.
If you wake between 3:00am - 5:00am
Low levels of anti-oxidants or lung/breathing issues often result in you waking between these times. If this is the case you need to dramatically increase your consumption of anti-oxidant foods. Foods which are high in anti-oxidants include black rice, fresh fruits and vegetables, especially fruits that are dark and have a thin skin, such as avocados.
You will generally need to load your body with high amounts of anti-oxidants for at least a period of 2 weeks. Aim to find a high quality supplement of Vitamin A, C & E. Just be sure not to buy the 'cheap' versions of vitamins/minerals from pound shops and supermarkets as they will have very little effect due to their poor quality and poor absorption rates.
If you wake before your alarm clock goes off
This is more common for those who suffer from anxiety. Whether you are aware of obvious anxiety issues, or not, you need to fix any issues in your life that are causing stress or anxiety, or you need to learn how to control your anxiety, for example through relaxation exercises and meditation.
Supplementing with magnesium is also strongly recommended, both as a supplement, and also by consuming magnesium rich foods, which include...
Dark Leafy Greens (Spinach)
Nuts and Seeds (Squash and Pumpkin Seeds)
Beans and Lentils (Soy Beans)
Whole Grains (Brown Rice)
Low-Fat Dairy (Plain Non Fat Yogurt)
Dried Fruit (Figs)
Dark Chocolate (60-70% cocoa)
Many sleep problems are usually rectified through a healthy natural highly nutritious diet, low in highly processed and packaged foods, and regular physical activity. If you have tried the above, and are following a clean healthy way of living (diet & exercise), yet are still suffering from sleep problems, it is recommended you consult with your doctor for further advice.
You can also try stretching exercises, warm baths and lavender oil, and consider using a foam roller during the evening to help lower cortisol levels. Be sure to avoid any stimulants in the evening which include tea, coffee and pre-workout supplements. Also avoid eating too late in the evening whilst choosing white meats over dark meats. Finally, providing you have good sugar management, a meal containing a small serving of carbohydrates in the evening may also be beneficial to a good natural sleep.