Insomnia: Getting Better Sleep

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Do you have trouble sleeping, or you are having a hard time staying asleep? Or you have trouble going back to sleep when you wake up. You may attribute this to being busy or having a lot on your mind, but your inability to sleep or stay asleep is a medical disorder called insomnia. 

People with a lack of sleep problem don’t feel refreshed when they wake—leaving them feeling tired or drained. Now let’s look at the definition, symptoms and how we can help you get better sleep.

What is Insomnia?

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder in which you have trouble sleeping or staying asleep, causing you to wake up too early and having trouble getting back to sleep. Insomnia leaves you tired when you wake up. 

lack of sleep affects your energy level, mood, performance, quality of life and overall health. 

This condition can be short-term (acute) or can last a long time (chronic). Acute lack of sleep lasts for days to weeks. Insomnia is usually caused by stress or stressful events. Chronic insomnia lasts for a month or more. lack of sleep can be primary or secondary. 

Primary insomnia means your sleep disorder is not associated with any health problem. Secondary means your condition is associated with a health problem. 

According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), insomnia is the most common sleep disorders. APA states that about one-third of adults report insomnia symptoms, and about 10% of all adults have severe symptoms diagnosed with insomnia disorder.

A clinical diagnosis of lack of sleep is made when sleep disorder occurs at least three (3) nights a week for a minimum of three (3) months. This disorder is creating significant functional difficulties. 

Symptoms of Insomnia

People with insomnia usually complain about at least one of the following:

  • Troubles falling asleep at night 
  • Waking up in the night 
  • Waking up too early 
  • Fatigue after a night’s sleep
  • Feeling sleepy during the day
  • Daytime tiredness
  • Depression or anxiety 
  • Difficulties in focusing or paying attention
  • Troubles remembering 
  • Increase errors or accidents during the day 

Causes of Insomnia

As established, lack of sleep can be primary (acute) or associated with other health complications (chronic).

The causes of lack of sleep will depend on the type of insomnia you are experiencing.

  • Acute or short-term insomnia may be caused by:
  • Traumatic event
  • Stress
  • Change in the sleeping place
  • Pain
  • Upsetting events
  • Common causes of chronic insomnia may include:
  • Medical conditions
  • Psychological issues
  • Substance abuse
  • Diabetes
  • Sleep apnea

Other causes of lack of sleep may be mental health disorders, caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. Many prescriptions such as antidepressants, medications for asthma and blood pressure can also interfere with your sleep.

Getting Better Sleep

There are both natural and pharmaceutical ways of treating lack of sleep. Medically, your doctor can help you treat insomnia with the appropriate medication. Sometimes, behaviour interferes with your sleep. Changing some of this disruptive behaviour can help you in getting better sleep.

Suggested behaviour change includes avoiding caffeinated beverages near bedtime and avoiding exercise near bedtime. You should also reduce the time you spend on your bed when you are not feeling sleepy.

Drinking warm milk, herbal tea and having good sex are also natural ways or simple lifestyles you can adopt to help yourself sleep. Supplements can help induce relaxation and help you sleep. Valerian roots, ginkgo Biloba, glycine, magnesium and amino acids can help you improve relaxation and sleep.

Over-the-counter medication and prescription medication can also be used in treating insomnia. Talk to your doctor or physician before using any medications or supplements to treat lack of sleep. Not all lack of sleep medication may be good for you. Some of them may give you dangerous side effects.

Good habits can also help you prevent insomnia.

  • Stay active during the day. This promotes a good night’s sleep.
  • Be consistent with your bedtime and sleep time.
  • Avoid naps if possible.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Check your medication and find out if it may contribute to insomnia.
  • Avoid eating heavily before bedtime.
  • Create a restful sleeping environment.

Insomnia in Pregnant Women and Children 

Insomnia is also common during pregnancy, and children can also have lack of sleep. So is it not limited to an age group or gender. Pregnant women may experience insomnia during the first and third trimesters. Anxiety, pain and some other bodily changes can keep pregnant women awake.  

Simple lifestyle changes include being active during pregnancy, eating well, staying hydrated and maintaining a consistent sleep routine. The good news is that pregnancy-related insomnia passes, and it doesn’t affect the child’s development. 

The exact reasons as adults often cause lack of sleep in children—symptoms such as daytime restlessness, mood swings and repeated disciplinary issues, attention and memory problems.

Bottom Line

Failing to get enough sleep is not suitable for your health. It doesn’t matter the reason you are not sleeping. Some may take pride in having less sleep than they require. 

A Lack of sleep is not just a minor inconvenience or a pride thing. It is a health disorder that can lead to many conditions, including anxiety, depression, stroke, asthma attacks, obesity, weak immune systems, heart diseases and high blood pressure.

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that can be treated. Well, the best cure for insomnia is sleep. If you are having trouble sleeping, you can talk to your doctor or a physician who can help you identify the possible causes and develop a safe and appropriate treatment plan that is healthy for you.

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