Do you stay awake for hours because you can’t get to sleep even when tired? If so, then you could be suffering from insomnia, which is the inability to stay asleep throughout the night.
Insomnia is a common problem among many people, and they report that they struggle to get to sleep for many hours and days.
However, having a good night’s rest is as crucial as having a healthy diet and regular exercise. Lack of enough sleep has several negative impacts on your brain function, exercise performance, and hormones.
The article will highlight the effects of insomnia and how you can improve your sleeping habits.
Causes of Insomnia
Insomnia can be the main issue or can be caused by an underlying problem. Thus, treating the main problem will resolve the insomnia issue. The following are some of the causes of insomnia
Human beings have an internal clock called circadian rhythms that directs the sleep-wake cycle. Body, temperature, and metabolism. Therefore, disrupting this clock due to work schedules or travelling contributes to insomnia. For instance, work-related travel may cause jet lag due to multiple time zones. Further, working late or early due to regular changing shifts interferes with the sleeping pattern.
Anxieties caused by issues related to health, work, finances, school, or family may keep you awake the entire night. Another cause of insomnia is trauma as a result of divorce, illness, death of a family member or friend, as well as job loss.
Some medical issues are reported to cause insomnia. They include kidney diseases, Parkinson’s disease, asthma, acid reflux, and cancer. Thus, chronic pain from these illnesses contributes to insomnia.
Insomnia is or a sign of sleep disorder such as restless legs syndrome, and sleep apnea.
Some medications have adverse effects that can lead to sleep interference. These include stimulants, antidepressants, thyroid hormone, corticosteroids, contraceptives, and high blood pressure, among others.
Flu and cold medications that are sold over the counter have caffeine, pain relievers, slimming pills, and diuretics.
Poor Eating Habits
Although eating a light snack before going to bed is alright, taking a heavy meal may contribute to heartburn or backflow of food and acid to the oesophagus from the stomach, thus keeping you awake.
Inappropriate Sleep Habits
Sleep habits like irregular bedtime, unsuitable sleep environment, working late, and watching TV or playing video games can affect the sleep cycle.
Complications Associated With Insomnia
Sleep deprivation affects an individual both physically and mentally. Thus, individuals who have insomnia have a lower quality of life as compared to individuals with good sleeping patterns. Some of the potential effects of insomnia are:
- Weak performance in school and work
- Mental health disorders like anxiety, and depression
- High risk of heart diseases and high blood pressure.
- Slowed reaction time, especially when driving, and this can contribute to accidents.
How to Sleep Better at Night
1. Avoid Caffeine, Nicotine, and Alcohol
Avoiding taking coffee, tea, and cola because they contain caffeine, which is a stimulant, and it will keep you awake throughout the night. That means that you shouldn’t take such beverages 4-6 hours before sleeping, particularly if you have insomnia. Further, smokers should avoid handling tobacco products before bedtime.
2. Your Bedroom Should Be Dark, Quiet and Cool
Make your bedroom conducive for sleeping by blocking light using a darker curtain. Go for appropriate mattress firmness and pillow, put earplugs to block out noise, and open the window for enough air circulation.
3. Turn off Blue Screens an Hour before Bedtime
Electronic screens affect your sleeping pattern because they emit blue light that interferes with melatonin production and fights sleepiness. Thus, read a book or listen to soft music instead of watching TV, playing videos, or browsing the internet with your computer or tablet.
4. Establish a Regular Sleep Schedule
You have a biological clock that determines when to go to bed and to get up each day. Thus establish a pattern of when you will be waking up and sleeping; stick to it even on the weekends.
5. Perform Sleep Inducing Activity before Bedtime
Make the transition from daily undertakings to sleep time smooth and appealing by engaging in an activity that can soothe you to sleep. For instance, you can read a book, practice relaxation exercises, and take a shower. However, don’t perform energy-demanding activities before bedtime like working, or solving issues. Such things can lead to the secretion of the stress hormone cortisol, thus increasing alertness.
6. Take a Light Evening Meal
Refrain from eating a heavy meal a few minutes to bedtime. Thus, instead of grabbing two slices of pizza or a burger at 10 p.m, take a glass of milk and a light snack that won’t disturb your sleep.
7. Refrain From Taking So Many Fluids
It’s crucial to balance your fluid intake before bedtime, for it will keep thirst away and will minimize your trips to the bathroom.
8. Minimize Daytime Naps
Refrain from taking irregular, long naps during the day, for these will affect your sleep. They will confuse your internal clock and harm your health. Therefore, ensure that your naps are limited to 30 minutes and below.
9. Get Out of Bed when You can’t Fall Asleep
Step out of your bedroom if you can’t sleep instead of tossing and turning in bed. Struggling to fall asleep will increase your anxiety, and the body will release the stress hormones that will enhance your alertness. Therefore, get up of the bedroom and look for something relaxing that you can do to attract sleep. Then go to bed when you feel sleepy.
10. See a Doctor
Chronic Insomnia can make your life unbearable due to increased accidents and errors, difficulties in remembering, focusing on tasks, or even paying attention. It may contribute to depression, irritability, and anxiety. For that reason, you should see a doctor because sleep deprivation can affect your function during the day. Therefore, the doctor will identify and treat the underlying problem.
Sleep is vital for your health. Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep and contributes to alertness throughout the night. The problem is caused by underlying issues like trauma, smoking, and taking caffeine a few hours to bedtime or unconducive environment.
The problem can be controlled by altering your behaviours before bedtime. That means that you should make sleep your top priority and avoid activities that encourage alertness before bedtime. Visit a doctor if the problem persists.