Insomnia: What You Need to Know

Insomnia: What You Need to Know

08/12/2018 0 By Anthony Ekanem

Have you ever suffered from insomnia? In other words, do you face the difficulty of falling asleep and staying asleep at night? So what causes it? Often times,insomnia is caused by multiple factors, such as not getting enough rest,hunger, psychological trauma and so on. No matter the cause of this health condition, millions of people worldwide suffer from it.  Insomnia robs you of getting enough rest, saps your energy and destroys your productivity the next day. Not to mention the detrimental effect towards your own physical and mental health.

What is Insomnia?

Insomnia by definition is the difficulty of falling asleep and staying asleep. It refers to the types of restlessness a person suffers at different points of his or  her sleep cycle. A simple indication to diagnose insomnia is when a person is not satisfied with the amount of sleep that he or she has been getting.

Those with insomnia will feel the lack of energy, fatigue at different moments of the day,facing difficulty in concentrating on tasks, experiencing terrible mood disturbances, and having a low-performance level in the workplace. It’s possible for insomniacs to have any of these symptoms after staying awake throughout the night. A human body requires rest to rejuvenate both mind and body. A lack of rest in either one of them will result in fatigue and various mental illnesses. Although they are terribly exhausted to the core, they still fail to fall asleep or stay asleep due to different causes.

Types of Insomnia

There are two main types of insomnia. The first type is the kind of insomnia when you only suffer a couple of restless nights. Often times, you’re able to fall asleep and stay asleep easily. For many, insomniacs might not think that they are suffering from it but the fact is, they could be having Acute Insomnia.

1. Acute Insomnia. This kind of insomnia comes from the core levels of stress that insomniacs are experiencing at that moment. They will face a short period where they are not able to fall asleep because of the life circumstances they’re facing at that moment. This type of insomnia doesn’t last for a prolonged time. Instead, it only happens due to certain factors or events during a specified period of time.

For instance,acute insomnia might occur after insomniacs faced the wrath of their boss,gotten a bad grade on a test, got rejected by their crush, or merely because they’re having a ‘Bad Day’. These situations can cause a person to have a night or two where he or she simply cannot get any sleep. Many people may have experienced this kind of insomnia and it tends to resolve on its own.

2.Chronic Insomnia. The second type of insomnia is known as Chronic Insomnia. It’s a prolonged kind of insomnia which occurs at least three nights per week and lasts for at least three months. Usually, this occurs when you are facing a significant change in your environment, physically or mentally. It could be moving to a new home, losing a loved one, being in anew workplace, facing challenges in school, or having trouble adapting to a harsh weather condition. Perhaps, the reason why chronic insomniacs are having trouble with sleep is that they have an unhealthy sleep habit without  a proper sleep routine.

As a result, the mind doesn’t know when to shut down and would be accustomed to staying up late. That’s the reason why insomnia has become a common problem  in today’s society. What people fail to understand is that the body will not be able to function with a small amount of sleep one night and expect to compensate their sleep gap by taking naps later on during the day. While this may seem possible and useful in the beginning, this sleep pattern is not sustainable for the long-term.

Eventually, the mind and body will collapse, and you will experience complete exhaustion until you get enough rest. The best fix is to have a fixed schedule to  sleep and practice healthy sleep routine. Otherwise, you need to visit the doctor for medication. Typically it will be linked to another medical or psychiatric issue; meaning that the reason why you might be having chronic insomnia will be due to stress. What seems to be a typical situation will seem stressful if you have chronic insomnia. A restless mind and body will feel annoyed by any stimulus from the immediate environment.

Causes of Insomnia

Regardless of the type of insomnia, the causes are the same. The difference lies in the intensity of emotions a person experiences for a set amount of time. Besides that, underlying medical conditions can also cause insomnia. Fortunately,insomnia is treatable in most cases. These medical conditions can be either severe or mild, inducing insomnia to occur at a different point in a person’s life. These symptoms include nasal allergies, sinus allergies, lower back pain,overall chronic pain, gastrointestinal problems, arthritis, asthma, and other neurological problems.

The stress on the patient’s body will cause the mind to stay awake for a longer period of time. For instance, those who catch a cold will realize that they are staying awake for the majority of the night or they might find themselves waking up frequently. Both of these factors can result in a person having a severe lack of sleep and rest. They might try to relax while having a cold, but insomnia will prevail.

Physical pain can also cause insomnia as the body cannot get into a comfortable position to rest. Have you ever experienced sleepless nights because you’re unable to get into a comfortable position? This situation is typical when you experience any pain in your body. The best way to fall asleep and stay asleep fast is to get your body in a comfortable position in bed. It will also aid in healing and ensure a more productive sleep. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in a constant battle to fall asleep and even opt for unnecessary medication if you can’t get into your best sleeping posture.

With all  of these different causes in mind, we can now move on to the cure.

Remedies for Insomnia

Sleep is incredibly important for health. We need sleep for our body to heal and rejuvenate from our day’s activities. Unfortunately, many people either have difficulty falling asleep or simply don’t get enough sleep, which is where Insomnia remedies come in. There are two basic categories when it comes to Insomnia Remedies.

1.Artificial Remedy. This type of remedy or medicine can be found in the pharmacy and clinic. They are usually prescribed to target the sickness at the source. Artificial remedy usually costs a bomb, but it typically delivers fast results. Most medicine today are toxic, filled with harmful chemicals that are not safe to be consumed for a prolonged period of time.  Most of these remedies will cause drowsiness, so it’s best to take them right before bedtime unless it states otherwise.

2.Natural Remedy. The other kind of remedy is the Natural Remedy.People have practiced natural medicine for centuries. This type of remedy utilizes the body’s natural healing process for beating insomnia. It is often less expensive, but what makes them stand out is the fact that they’re not as toxic as Artificial Remedy.

Regardless of which kind of remedy you choose, the goal is to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. These remedies are meant to aid you to get more rest at night. It is also important to make sure that you talk to your doctor before getting any medication. On the other hand, some would prefer to go for natural remedies instead. You don’t have to depend on chemicals with harmful effects especially upon waking up. Instead, why not use natural remedies to repair your sleep cycle and put an end to insomnia.

Natural Remedies for Insomnia

1.Music Therapy Music has been used since ancient times to combat insomnia. It is a healing tool that can help to ease anxiety which can contribute to poor sleep quality. The major advantage of this technique is that it’s easy to use and has no side effect. There are many different types of music therapies, and they differ in the types of neurological stimulation they evoke. For instance, classical music can be a powerful tool for comfort and relaxation while rock music may cause discomfort. Try to go for soft relaxing music that has sounds of nature like the ocean, birds, waterfall, etc. Several studies showed that people who listen to calming music before going to bed had improved sleep quality during the night than people who don’t. Hence, if you’re having trouble falling asleep, this could be a solution.

2.Power Down For Better Sleep.  Sleep is not an on-and-off switch. Your body needs time to unwind. Insomniacs often find it difficult to shut off their brain at night. You can try to power down for better sleep. This technique aids in quieting things down so that your body will understand that it’s time to get some rest. To set the stage for sleep, it is significant to unwind and dim our mind. For instance, if you take a warm bath before bedtime, it’ll create a drop in body temperature, triggering the body to start prepping for sleep. By taking a warm shower, your body temperature will slow down metabolic functions like breathing, digestion, and heart rate. Your body will understand that it’s time to slow down and relax. If you have the habit of listening to music before heading to bed every night,your body will be conditioned that listening to music at night signals bedtime.It’s all about habits and conditioning. Carve out at least half an hour of wind-down time before bed to do breathing or relaxation exercise to clear your mind. The goal of this power down hour is to signal your brain that it’s time to wind down, relax and sleep.

3.Sleep in a Cool Room.  Those who’ve problem falling asleep usually have a higher core body temperature immediately prior falling asleep as compared to their healthier counterparts.Thus, this group of insomniacs needs to wait for at least 2 to 4 hours before their body temperature lowers and initiates sleep. Research shows that the optimal room temperature for sleep is between 16 to 20 degrees Celsius. When you’re trying to sleep, your brain enjoys the cold environment. Besides, sleeping in a cold bedroom also helps in anti-aging. It aids in releasing of-anti-aging hormones known as melatonin, a potent antioxidant that tackles inflammation, strengthens the immune system, prevents cognitive deterioration and cancer. There’s a saying that those who go to bed early and rise early live longer. The key to enhancing the production of anti-aging hormones in your body is to have adequate sleep. And the first step to do that is to create an optimal sleeping environment by lowering the bedroom temperature.

Lifestyle Modification for Insomniac

You can feel better after trying out the above-mentioned remedies, but insomnia can only be healed completely if the origin of the problem is removed. Otherwise,there is a high chance for insomnia to relapse. So what is the root of insomnia? For many, the primary cause of insomnia is having a poor lifestyle and sleep habits. Simple lifestyle changes can make a world of difference to the quality of your sleep.

Although not all insomnia is caused by stress, it is undeniable that people who experience stress are more susceptible to insomnia. In the case of stress-related insomnia, treating or eliminating the stress will alleviate insomnia. As mentioned, stress affects the quality of one’s sleep which can upset his or her sleep rhythm. Thus, one will find it difficult to fall asleep at night and stay awake during the day.

It is important to handle all parts of your life in the best manner possible to ensure that you are at a healthy balance. You need to make sure that you are getting sufficient sleep on a daily basis. Sleep plays a major role in your physical health. Insufficient sleep for a short time may make you more moody and irritable. Long-term effects can be serious: cardiac problems, depression,stroke, heart attack, to name a few.

According to sleep experts, several studies showed that when people get sufficient sleep, they will not only feel better, but will also increase their odds of living longer, healthier, and more accomplished lives.

To overcome insomnia, you should stay away from any nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol. All of these will cause the mind to become restless overtime naturally. Having a constant amount of caffeine will force the mind to be mo reactive than it is.

Most people need the energy to start their day, so they chose stimulant. Caffeine is one of the most popular choices of stimulant today to ensure alertness and wakefulness in the morning and for the rest of the day. However, they’re ignorant of the fact that caffeine is one of the leading causes of insomnia. It screws up the natural balance of wakefulness and sleep. Therefore, insomniacs should stay away from these drinks to have a quality sleep. Skip that coffee break, reach for a glass of plain water instead of the coffee, which may be the reason why you are having trouble falling and staying asleep at night.

Besides that, setting up a sleep schedule for yourself is one of the best self-help techniques for insomnia. It is a major step in overcoming insomnia for good. It is so important to go to bed at the same time at night and wake up the same time every morning because the body needs consistency. The body likes a routine. It thrives on habit. With a regular bedtime and wake-up time, your body is more likely to stay on track. If you can, avoid alternating schedules,late night parties, night shifts or other things that may disrupt your sleep schedule.

When you have a difficult time falling asleep, try to drink a glass of warm milk. It is a traditional remedy for insomnia, and there’s evidence that it can help you to get better quality sleep. Not only does milk help prevent hunger from disturbing your sleep, but it also contains an amino acid called tryptophan,which is converted in the brain into a “relaxing” chemical known as serotonin. Calcium is very pro-metabolic, reducing stress and decreasing levels of parathyroid hormone, which has been known to play a role in insomnia.

Switching Off

Fighting insomnia is an uphill battle. When you are trying to cure insomnia, you are actually trying to stop your mind from being too active at night. There is no reason to be afraid of staying up for countless nights in a row and wondering if it is all going to end. Worrying will only bring about sleepless nights. So stop battling insomnia in your head! All that you need to do is ‘Switch Off’your brain.

Switching off needs practice. For many busy adults, the only time they reflect upon their lives is during bedtime! It’s good to reflect once in a while, but not during bedtime. Often times, this is the biggest culprit that stops you from falling asleep. So for those who want to reflect on their lives, consider waking up earlier to have time in the morning to do so or even schedule some time in the evening to do some reflection.

Another reason why people fail to switch off is that they have many activities at night that are over stimulating, causing them to stay awake instead of feeling tired.Some even love to have caffeine at night! No wonder people are struggling to fall asleep! So stay away from coffee, from your mobile phones, laptops, televisions when it’s bedtime. Avoid activities that force you to think and require physical exertion at night. And most importantly, avoid ‘Blue-screen’from the electronic devices.

How to ‘Switch Off’ At Night

The first thing you should do after you have eaten dinner and cleaned up for the night is turn off any of your electronic devices. Having your phone or computer switched on when you are getting ready for bed will stimulate your brain and it will eventually hinder your sleep. Admit it, your electronic devices are addictive,and you won’t know when to stop.

The light will interfere with your sleep pattern and cause you to stay awake. It’s recommended to avoid using your gadgets at all costs at least one hour before bedtime.

Reading before sleep is fine, but not through your electronic devices. Reading a physical book as a hobby before bed actually helps you in getting ready to sleep. It’s better not to read in your bedroom. You’re encouraged to read in another room since you do not want your mind to be active in the room that you need to fall asleep in. Again, to condition your mind to switch off the moment you step into your bedroom. If you can completely relax when reading a book,then it’s fine to do it while in bed. Otherwise, it’s best to read in another room.

Another thing that you can do is have a relaxation drink such as tea right before bed. However, make sure that you stay away from caffeine, alcohol, and drinks with a high amount of sugar. A nice cup of tea can calm your mind down and help your body to relax.

So what to do next? It’s time to take action today!

Find out which of these methods work best for you and implement them into your daily routine. Write them down and imagine how your average day looks like when you add these strategies to your routine. Only by trying them out, you can find out the best way for you to overcome insomnia.