We all have experienced the nights that we toss and turn in bed but it’s no use and we cannot fall asleep. The more we move the less hopeful we are to have a good night sleep. What is it called and why does it happen?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that regularly affects millions of people worldwide. In short, individuals with insomnia find it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. The effects can be devastating. Insomnia commonly leads to daytime sleepiness, lethargy, and a general feeling of being unwell, both mentally and physically. Mood swings, irritability, and anxiety are commonly associated symptoms.
But what causes insomnia and why we are like that when our body desperately needs and yells for sleep.
Insomnia is commonly caused by:
Disruptions in circadian rhythm - jet lag, job shift changes, high altitudes, environmental noise, extreme heat or cold.
Psychological issues - bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety disorders, or psychotic disorders.
Medical conditions - chronic pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, congestive heart failure, angina, acid-reflux disease (GERD), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, sleep apnea, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, hyperthyroidism, arthritis, brain lesions, tumors, stroke.
Hormones - estrogen, hormone shifts during menstruation.
Other factors - sleeping next to a snoring partner, parasites, genetic conditions, overactive mind, pregnancy.
Several small studies in adults and children have suggested that an exposure to light from televisions and smartphones prior to going to sleep can affect natural melatonin levels and lead to increased time to sleep.
Now that we know what insomnia is and what the causes are let’s see what the treatment is or can be for this disorder. There are two kinds of treatments, one is a home remedy and the other is medical treatment and what your doctor tells you to do.
Here are some advice with home remedies:
Improving "sleep hygiene" - not sleeping too much or too little, exercising daily, not forcing sleep, maintaining a regular sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine at night, avoiding smoking, avoiding going to bed hungry, and ensuring a comfortable sleeping environment.
Using relaxation techniques - such as meditation and muscle relaxation.
Cognitive therapy - one-on-one counseling or group therapy.
Stimulus control therapy - only go to bed when sleepy. Avoid watching TV, reading, eating, or worrying in bed. Set an alarm for the same time every morning (even weekends) and avoid long daytime naps.
Sleep restriction - decrease the time spent in bed and partially deprive the body of sleep, this increases tiredness ready for the next night.
Medical treatments for insomnia include:
prescription sleeping pills, antidepressants, over-the-counter sleep aids, antihistamines, melatonin
The people who are most likely to suffer from insomnia are:
Travelers, shift workers with frequent changes in shifts (day vs. night), the elderly, drug users, adolescent or young adult students, pregnant women, menopausal women and those with mental health disorders.
Hope you never suffer from insomnia but if you do take our advice and try to overcome it.