Insomnia is a common condition that affects more and more people’s rest. Certain strategies, tips and tricks can help you fight it effectively.
Insomnia is a person’s inability to fall asleep, stay asleep and/or sleep for as many hours as necessary to get adequate rest. These days, the fast pace of life, stress, and financial problems cause the number of people suffering from insomnia to increase steadily.
A distinction can be made between transient insomnia (if it occurs over a short period of time, less than three months) or Chronic insomnia (when it persists for months or even years). We can also make a distinction between onset of insomnia (problems with starting to sleep in less than 30 minutes) or maintenance insomnia (problems falling asleep, waking up during the night, or waking up prematurely).
Causes of insomnia
Usually, insomnia is the result of a combination of factors medical, psychological, and personal reasons, which vary from one person to another.
Causes that can cause insomnia include: sleep disorders, psychiatric disorders, metabolic and hormonal, neurological, rheumatological, digestive, cardiovascular diseases, those that can interrupt sleep due to pain or urological diseases due to urgent need to urinate. Pregnancy and menopause are also factors to consider.
On the other hand, the causes of insomnia are often related to environmental factors that have a negative impact on our ability to fall asleep and/or sleep: bad habits, substance and drug use and abuse, inadequate work hours, frequent transoceanic flights, personal problems, etc.д.
Нealthy lifestyle habits
Lack of sleep (e.g., excessively late nights, lack of bedtime routines, physical hyperactivity, watching TV or surfing the Internet just before bedtime) are also conditioning factors (e.g., too much falling asleep or tossing and turning).
What are its symptoms?
The main symptom of insomnia is difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. The result is lack of sleep and resulting fatigue. There are three main symptoms:
- Major difficulty falling asleep (a person spends a lot of time lying or tossing in bed before falling asleep).
- Frequent awakening during the night or sleeping at times.
- Waking up too early in the morning, feeling tired and showing drowsiness, irritability and difficulty concentrating during the day.
Insomnia, in turn, may be a symptom of some other problem, such as depression, chronic pain or stress. It can also be a side effect of treatment with certain medications.
What problems can cause
Insomnia causes a significant lack of sleep, which has visible consequences in the daily lives of those who suffer from it. Lack of sleep, too little or bad sleep can be a real nightmare.
The main consequences of sleep deprivation include:
- Exhaustion and general malaise.
- Anxiety, depression and irritability.
- Mood swings.
- Decreased attention span.
- Impaired motor reactions.
- Delayed response to stimuli.
- Decreased ability to make decisions.
- Deterioration of memory.
- Possible development of sensory changes, such as decreased field of vision or slower speech.
- Impairment of certain brain functions, such as flexibility and originality of thought or insight.
The consequences of insomnia have a negative impact on daily tasks, as well as on quality of life and health.
In addition, persistent sleep deprivation is associated with the development of certain diseases or pathologies. It can also cause risky situations, such as drowsiness while driving or falling while playing sports or working in certain work situations.
Tips on how to effectively fight insomnia
If you suffer from insomnia, here are some tips to help you fight it effectively:
Write down how much sleep you get and at what time, when you wake up, what symptoms you have and what time of day they occur. This will help you identify what activities or habits are preventing you from falling asleep, and you will have it handy if you decide to see a professional, as it will be very helpful (and they will ask for it anyway).
2. Establish a healthy routine
Find an activity that relaxes and/or exhausts you just before bedtime, avoid watching TV or surfing the Internet, and set a suitable bedtime and wake-up schedule that you can follow even on weekends. It’s also recommended that you don’t strain your mind too much before bedtime. You can enjoy a hot bath or shower instead.
3. Use the bed only for sleeping
Don’t watch TV or eat in front of it, find another place to rest or read, and don’t take work to bed. Make sure your bed and mattress are comfortable. If not, replace them with.
4. Avoid tobacco, alcohol, and stimulant drinks
Insomnia is another reason to quit smoking. Tobacco is a stimulant, and withdrawal symptoms can cause you to wake up at night and not be able to sleep. Caffeine is also bad for sleep. Drinking alcohol right before bed disrupts sleep cycles after the initial drowsiness passes.
5. Exercise during the day
Regular exercise during the day improves sleep quality. Try to exercise about three hours before bedtime so your body has time to physically relax before going to sleep.
6. Daytime naps should be short
To avoid losing sleep at night, naps should last no longer than 10-20 minutes and you should never go to bed after 4pm.
7. Practice relaxation techniques
Relaxation strategies such as meditation, breathing techniques or progressive relaxation can be very effective.
8. Watch your diet
Avoid heavy dinners with heavy digestion and take natural relaxing herbal teas, such as valerian or chamomile tea, which help reduce anxiety and help you fall asleep better.
9. Create a suitable environment
Reduce the intensity of light about 2 hours before bedtime. Soft lighting with diffused light affects our nervous system less and will help us fall asleep. You can also listen to relaxing instrumental music or nature sounds to induce sleep. Finally, keep the bedroom dark and cool.
As a general rule, it is not advisable to insist on trying to fall asleep if you don’t want to sleep. In this situation, it is best to do light and light activities a few hours before bedtime relaxing activities (meditate, listen to music, or read) until you begin to feel drowsy.
Possible treatments for insomnia
If the effects of insomnia begin to take over your daily life, it’s best to see a doctor. Because the causes of insomnia can be varied, each case must be studied individually.
Over-the-counter medications should be avoided. Doctors will evaluate possible treatments, which can range from hypnotic medications to antidepressants. In any case, treatment time is limited to avoid side effects.