Many people have a hard time getting a good night sleep. They can’t fall asleep no matter how tired they are, they wake up in the middle of the night, or just lie there in their bed, awake and stare at the clock with anxiety. Chronically suffering from insomnia can have an effect on your mood, energy and your ability to function throughout the day. Also, if you don’t get any help, it can lead to more serious health issues. But, don’t worry, the sleepless nights are about to come to an end. Here are a few tips on how to deal with insomnia.
Before we get to the part on how to deal with insomnia, first we should explain what is insomnia. The inability to stay asleep or to fall asleep at night, which results in a non-restorative sleep, is insomnia. It can be really frustrating to spend hours in your bed, trying really hard to fall asleep, but you simple can’t get yourself to do it. Insomnia can really take a toll on every aspect of your life.
This problem can lead to feeling drowsy, fatigued and it can leave you without any energy. Insomnia can affect your overall mood, it can disrupt the productivity at school or work and it can lower your concentration. If this problem is left untreated, it can cause you to take sleeping pills, or even alcohol. This can make your insomnia problem much worse. Further down the line, insomnia can increase the risk of other health problems such as high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, obesity, stroke, heart diseases, certain cancers and several mental issues.
Let’s break down the types of insomnia and what triggers them.
Acute Insomnia aka Short-Term Insomnia
This type of insomnia is temporary, which is a result from changes in the daily routines that result from grief, stress, hormone fluctuations, travel and illness. Many people have faced acute insomnia, at a certain point in their lives. However, as soon as they get their lives back on track, this problem usually resolves itself. Also, if you don’t address it early, it may become a permanent problem.
Chronic Insomnia aka Long-Term Insomnia
This type of insomnia happens when a person has trouble sleeping for three or more nights a week. The chronic insomnia can even last for a longer period of time, even longer than three months. Because this problem has rooted deeply into the everyday life, it will take longer time to change the unhealthy habits. However, willingness to try out different solutions and perseverance are crucial to overcoming the long-term insomnia.
Sleep Maintenance Insomnia
This type of insomnia is when a person has difficulties to stay asleep. Even though it is normal to wake up for a short amount of time during your sleep, you may not even remember this. However, if you have this type of insomnia, you may wake up in the middle of your sleep and struggle to get back to sleep for hours. Also, the sleep maintenance insomnia is associated with waking up too early in the morning. Whatever it is, one thing is for sure, you wake up feeling tired and without energy.
Sleep Onset Insomnia
This type of insomnia is when you have difficulties falling asleep, even though you are feeling tired. The good sleepers have the ability to fall asleep within 15-20 minutes, after they go to bed. However, those that are onset insomnia sleepers can toss and turn for several hours before they finally fall asleep.
Usually, the acute insomnia, or short-term insomnia, is caused by a temporary change in your daily activities and routines. On the other hand, the unhealthy habits, the psychological and medical issues, or the less than ideal sleep environment cause the chronic insomnia, or long-term insomnia. The long-term insomnia can even be a mixture of all these factors.
The most common psychological causes of long-term insomnia are depression, stress and anxiety. And not getting enough sleep can even make these psychological problems much worse. Other emotional issues that cause insomnia are trauma, grief, worry, bipolar disorder and anger. You must get help and resolve these problems and in time you’ll be able to deal with insomnia.
Medical illnesses that cause insomnia are acid reflux, cancer, kidney disease, allergies, asthma, hyperthyroidism and Parkinson’s disease. Another medical problem that causes insomnia is the chronic pain. Antidepressants, high blood pressure medications, thyroid hormone, stimulants for ADHD, some contraceptive, corticosteroids and other prescription drugs can cause insomnia. Also, pain relievers, which contain caffeine, slimming pills, diuretics and flu and cold medications, which contain alcohol can disrupt the good night sleep.
The daily habits can also have an effect on getting a good sleep. So, avoid eating sugary foods, drinking beverages that are full with caffeine and don’t eat heavy meals before you go to sleep. Also, it is important to get enough exercise and have a regular sleep schedule.
The noise can also contribute a lot to the insomnia problem. So, make sure that the environment that you sleep in is comfortable, dark and quiet. Use a sound machine or a mask noise to make a more comfortable sleep environment. Also, the blue light that is emitted through the electronic screen can disrupt your regular sleeping cycle. So, forget all about using your computer, smartphone, TV or tablet before you go to sleep and listen to an audio book or a soft music. If this doesn’t help try some relaxation techniques, meditation and deep breathing.
- Avoid all stressful situations or stimulating activities before you go to bed.
- You should only sleep and have sex in your bedroom. Avoid doing other activities in this room, so that your brain will associate the sleep with your bedroom.
- Remove all the clocks from your bedroom.
- Don’t drink anything, one hour before you go to bed.
- Alcohol interfaces with your sleep cycle.
- If you can’t fall asleep, get out of your bed and do something that will relax you. Read a book, drink a cup of warm milk or tea, or take a bath, then go back to your bed.
If these tips don’t help your insomnia problem, it is best that you ask for professional help and consult a doctor. Don’t hide anything from your doctor, tell them what is happening in your life. Even the smallest information that you think is not important can cause this issue. Depending on your situation, your doctor might prescribe sleeping pills or other therapies. The sleeping pills are mostly prescribed on patients that have an acute insomnia. However, if you suffer from long-term insomnia you should see a psychiatrist and find the root of this problem. Taking sleeping pills, while suffering from long-term insomnia can make your problem much worse.