Insomnia can really prevent you from enjoying life to the full. If you cannot sleep and cannot fall asleep fast, you end up with no energy.
Without enough energy to be able to do what you really want you may end up being less than easygoing with your family and neighbours, to say the least. Its pretty annoying. Do you struggle for hours tossing and turning, not being able to get to sleep even though your really tired? Are you experiencing waking up in the middle of the night and lying awake hours on end? Insomnia is a really common sleep problem and has numerous causes and treatments.
Its very frustrating because you just want to get on with the day and not wake up with black bags under your eyes. What a mess!
So what exactly is insomnia?
Essentially it is a sleep disorder that means not being able to get the amount of sleep you need to help you feel fresh and relaxed the next day. People in general need different amounts of sleep. Chronic insomnia which involves long periods of sleepless nights, can contribute to an individuals health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and chronic fatigue.
Insomnia can take control of your mood and ability to function in your daily activities. Simply changing daily habits in your lifestyle can stop those horrible sleepless nights. It is identified mainly by the quality of your sleep not by how many hours you have slept. Emotional issues i.e stress, anxiety, worrying and depression can lead to stressful wakefulness. Your daily habits, routines, night routine and health may also contribute to lack of sleep.
Effect of Medications
Medications that you are taking could cause insomnia, such as antidepressants, diuretics, thyroid, hormone, high blood pressure medications and cold and flu medications that contain alcohol and pain killers which contain caffeine.
Some of the sleep disorders that could cause it are sleep apnea, narcolepsy and restless legs syndrome.
Medical causes include allergies, asthma, Parkinsons disease, acid reflux, kidney disease, night leg cramps cancer or chonic pain, all of which can keep you awake at night. Plus of course, a snoring partner!
Some of the symptoms for insomnia:
Frequent waking up during the night.- Waking up too early in the morning.
During the day youre feeling tired and drowsy or fatigued.
Finding it difficult to concentrate during the day.- Dont feel refreshed after waking up from your sleep.
Finding it difficult to fall asleep even though you are feeling really tired.
The causes of insomnia:
Are you struggling with chronic feelings of anxiety or worry?
Are you feeling depressed and hopeless?
Have you recently gone through a traumatic experience?
Are you taking any medications that could have an effect on your sleep?
Going to bed at the same time and waking around the similar time each day?
What are the treatments available ?
Treat any underlying medical conditions, which may be at its root. This is the most important step. Often after this the inability to sleep may disappear. If not then you may need further medical help.
Your doctor may advise you to establish fixed times for going to bed and waking up and also avoid sleeping after a not so good nights sleep. Try to relax before going off to bed. Maintain a good and comfortable sleeping environment not cold, hot, bright or noisy. Avoid having a nap through the day. Avoid caffeine or nicotine containing products at least 6 hrs before going off to bed. Avoid eating a heavy meal very late at night.
Give yourself time to wind down from the days concerns and to unhook from heavy analytical thinking. Last minute cramming for an exam or watching a scary movie just before bed is definitely not a good idea!
There are a variety of treatments which you could try to cure insomnia. Here are a few suggestions that your doctor may recommend for you:
Biofeedback: Sensors connected to a machine are placed onto your body to measure body responses like heart rate of muscle tension. The machine then delivers pictures or sounds to indicate to help you control your breathing and body responses.
Paradoxical intention: This means trying to stay awake and avoiding having any intentions of going to sleep. It can only be used if you are having trouble getting to sleep but not maintaining it.
Relaxation training: Aims to reduce the tension and minimise intrusive thoughts that may interfere with your sleep.
Sleep restriction therapy: Creates a mild sleep deprivation. Where you limit the amount of time spent in bed to the amount of sleep.
Cognitive behavioural therapy: Which aims to change your belief, opinion and attitudes towards insomnia.
Stimulus-control therapy: This aims to help you to establish a sleep and wake pattern.
If you feel that any of these insomnia cures and treatments may help you in any way to fight the problem then speak with your doctor.
There are also many alternative, natural cures around and plenty to choose from including energy therapies such as acupuncture, EFT, reiki and so on. Other remedies might include massage, a warm bath, aromatherapy session, listening to relaxation music, meditation, nutritional remedies and more
Dont worry, try some of these and soon you may find yourself having a sound and refreshing sleep.