Many people struggle with insomnia. Some are entirely unable to sleep, while others don’t get enough sleep. If you find yourself in either of these positions, understand that you’re not alone. Insomnia is a global problem that requires critical attention.
What is insomnia? Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by a person’s prolonged inability to sleep or stay asleep despite feeling very tired. Insomnia can significantly alter a person’s mood, and lack of sleep can significantly affect one’s daily activities. When very serious, insomnia may be rudimental to severe health problems, especially mental health issues.
But there is good news! Most cases of insomnia require only a change in routine to treat. That is to say, identifying the cause and making simple adjustments can do the trick. But there is more to insomnia than just losing sleep.
Insomnia as a Global Concern
One of the most pervasive and common problems of today’s 24-hour society is unbalanced sleep. Everything moves so fast, and people are under pressure to meet the various demands of their lives. Certainly, this hectic pace comes with a cost—lost sleep.
Some people don’t deliberately reduce their sleep hours; instead, they simply can’t sleep. The impact of insomnia cannot be overemphasized. Insomnia spells negativity in physical health, mental health, and social relationships.
Though insufficient sleep can adversely affect academic performance and productivity levels in the labor market, it can also lead to death. Research in Canada, for instance, has shown that more people are reporting reduced sleep. The magnitude of this problem is vast and calls for global concern.
How Do You Qualify Insomnia?
Though insomnia may relate to the number of hours spent sleeping, quality of sleep might be a better indicator of the condition. Let’s say you slept for eight hours but still feel tired and drowsy in the morning. Chances are that insomnia is at play. Of course, we also know that different individuals require different amounts of sleep.
Insomnia does not stand on its own, however, but is more likely a symptom of an underlying issue. Those with insomnia may also experience anxiety or panic attacks. Others’ struggles to sleep could be the consequence of something as simple as excess caffeine intake. The underlying cause of insomnia can vary among individuals, so it is important to assess yourself and to identify the root cause.
Common Symptoms of Insomnia
Are you experiencing abnormal sleep but don’t know if it is insomnia? Consider the following common symptoms of insomnia:
You find it difficult to sleep no matter how tired you feel.
You experience sleep obstruction that leads to your frequently waking up at night.
You have difficulty getting back to sleep once you wake up.
You don’t feel refreshed after sleep.
You constantly wake up earlier than required.
You experience drowsiness and fatigue during the day.
You frequently lose concentration as you go about your daily activities.
Common Causes of Insomnia: Factors That Can Make You Lose Sleep
Most of the time, the reason you can’t sleep is not an unusual one. To treat your insomnia wholly, you need to consider all possible causes. Check out the following common causes of insomnia.
Are you under stress? Stress at work, at home, in your relationships, etc.? Any form of stress can cause insomnia.
Worry, Anxiety, and Depression
Worry, anxiety, and depression contribute to a significant number of severe insomnia cases. In turn, lack of sleep increases worry, anxiety, and depression, thereby perpetuating the cycle. Emotional problems such as anger, grief, and trauma also contribute to insomnia.
Health Problems and Medications
Some underlying medical conditions can cause you to lose sleep. Examples of such conditions include cancer, acid reflux, allergies, Parkinson’s disease, kidney disease, and chronic pain.
Certain medications can cause insomnia as well. Prescription drugs such as antidepressants, medications for high blood pressure, corticosteroids, and other common drugs that contain alcohol or caffeine can lead to loss of sleep.
Simple Ways to Treat Insomnia: Helping Yourself Manage Your Sleeplessness
After you have identified all the possible causes of your insomnia, you can take practical steps to fight it on your own. These methods have proven to be effective over time.
Adopt a Comfortable Sleep Routine and Environment
Ensure that your sleeping space (bedroom) is quiet, dark, and cool, and try to maintain a regular sleep routine. These are simple but powerful tools that will help you fight insomnia.
To help with your bedtime routine, observe a peaceful time before going to bed. Avoid any activity that will cause you stress.
Kill Your Anxiety
Anxiety, worry, and overthinking are the greatest enemies of sleep. Therefore, you need to kill them before they kill you. All of these are affected by your thoughts, so try to engage in more positive thinking. For example, instead of worrying that every night is the same, allow yourself to think that some nights are different.
Use Your Bedroom Only for Sleep-Related Activities
Keep away clocks, televisions, and other items that can distract you from sleep. Make sure that anytime you lie down on your bed it is with the intention of going to sleep. Also, avoid having phones nearby because they can disrupt your sleep. At times when you are not able to sleep, simply get out of bed.
Use Sleep Aids Wisely
When you have tried to sleep but it’s just not happening, you might be tempted to take a sleep aid. And that’s okay. But before you start, though, remember that some natural dietary supplements can help promote sleep. Sleep aids or natural supplements might sound like a quick fix, but remember to speak to your physician before taking any. And remember that any sleep aid has possible side effects.
Insomnia is a global concern that affects more people than you might think. Don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself in such a situation. Many people have recovered fully from the damaging effects of insomnia, and you’re next in line.
This blog outlines simple steps that can help you understand and control your insomnia. Apply these self-help methods and see how effective they can be. If self-help isn’t enough, seek the help of a sleep specialist.