.......................................................................................................................................................People with insomnia have sleeping problems. They have a difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep. Due to a lack of sleep, people with insomnia may experience the following symptoms:
How long will insomnia last?
A person’s insomnia is characterized based on its duration: acute and chronic insomnia.
- Acute insomnia - often happens in a short period and usually resolves without a treatment intervention. Some people experience acute insomnia due to a stressful event in their lives or when they received a bad news.
- Chronic insomnia - occurs for at least three nights a week and will usually last for three months. This type of insomnia has a variety of causes. Some of its causes include unhealthy sleeping habits, working with a shifting schedule, environmental changes, other underlying diseases, and taking certain drugs or medications.
10 Tips on Living with Insomnia
1. Make your sleeping surroundings as comfortable as possible.
To achieve a comfortable sleeping environment, you should address the factors that you can control in your bedroom. These factors involve proper lighting, appropriate temperature, and noise levels that support falling asleep. Another factor is the use of electronic gadgets such as phones, laptops, and tablets that have become part of our lives.
Electronic devices are ideal for generating high amounts of blue light in the short wavelength region. The blue light hinders and limits the formation of melatonin, which is the hormone responsible for inducing sleep. Melatonin production in our bodies occurs in the late evening, and the concentration can be reduced by 22 percent if an individual uses a gadget for about two hours before bedtime.
Another factor that disrupts a good sleep is sleeping later than expected since your wake up time will also be affected. Some gadgets can use apps that eliminate the light that affects the production of melatonin. Their use should, however, be limited to two hours or less, as their usage does not reduce significant amounts of melatonin production. A dimly lit red light is the best to use before sleeping time. Pets that make noise at night should be placed somewhere else to sleep.
2. Have a regular sleeping and waking up patterns.
Most people tend to have a consistent sleeping pattern during weekdays. On weekends, the chances are that strict adherence to this pattern is ignored, but it may be very unwise for individuals with insomnia. It’s very important for people with insomnia to practice a regular sleeping pattern with specific sleep and wake up times. Having a regular sleeping pattern also means that you need to let go of your worries before bedtime to avoid having significant levels of stress. Relaxation and meditation techniques are ideal for significant reduction of stress levels.
3. Avoid drinking alcohol and stimulant-containing beverages and products.
Beverages that contain stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine should be avoided at all cost. Their effects are capable of lasting up to 24 hours and can significantly affect an individual’s ability to sleep. Caffeine negatively affects people's sleep onset and causes sleep disruptions by frequent awakenings. A few hours after alcohol consumption leads to sedative effects. However, alcohol consumption can either cause frequent arousals or a night's sleep that’s not restful. If you are taking stimulant-containing drugs such as asthma inhalers, you need to consult your doctor on the best time to take them so your sleep will not be affected.
4. Be consistent in performing regular physical exercises.
The quality and quantity of sleep are greatly enhanced by regular exercises both in normal individuals as well as those with insomnia. It is important that the exercise is done three or more hours before bedtime as the body can have stimulant effects if done immediately before sleeping time.
5. Participate in a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) regularly.
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) should be considered by individuals harboring beliefs and thoughts that may be contributing factors to insomnia. CBT helps them pinpoint and correct the problems. In a CBT therapy, you can obtain the right information concerning sleep changes related to age, setting realistic sleep goals, sleep norms, and much more.
6. Stop stressing out and worrying.
Do not bombard your mind with woes and worries of the next day. Try closing your eyes and block the distracting thoughts while in bed. Be positive and have some time for yourself by focusing more on the solutions that you can do instead of worrying.
Meditation and other stress-relieving methods should be parts of your nighttime activities just before going to bed. The 4-7-8 technique, deep breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, or even a soothing podcast can be of help. The aim should be a complete relaxation, which will make you doze off.
7. Try yoga or alternative methods.
Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that puts you in a deep, relaxing state. If done correctly, and in a regular manner, yoga can induce a state of true consciousness and inner peace. There are several asana exercises that can aid in sleeping and each and every detail is available online, which you can learn beforehand.
Methods such as hypnotherapy (sleep-induced by hypnotism), aromatherapy (essential oils and baths), herbal pills, and an array of applications can also help you to sleep better.
If you still cannot sleep well after doing the above-mentioned methods, then wake up and work on something. You can also workout until you tire your body. By doing so, you will let yourself be exhausted, which will eventually lead to sleep.
8. Write down your thoughts.
Sometimes, emptying your mind might feel like a daunting task. Thus, try to write all those nagging thoughts down in a piece of paper. Revisit the paper the next day. It is an effective method to deal with those distracting ideas.
Keep a journal and fill it up every night just before bed. Write down each and every thought that has crossed your mind the whole day and also add anything that you have to do the next day. Your journal serves two purposes. It reduces worrying and at the same time, you will have a to-do list.
9. Be optimistic and happy.
Believe it or not, a happy person sleeps a lot better than someone dealing with chronic depression and other mental ailments. Consult a doctor if you cannot ward off those depressing thoughts or if you are not emotionally well.
Optimistic behavior and joyful memories would work as a great stimulant for a good night’s sleep. Therefore, remember the moment when someone made you laugh or particular events that made you happy. Having these thought processes alone can get you to sleep better.
10. Avoid using any gadget before bedtime.
Turn off the TV and put down your mobile phones two hours before sleeping. Technology can affect your sleeping pattern in various ways. The light that your phones/tablets/computers emit is bad for your eyes.
Thus, try minimizing the use of your gadgets at nighttime. Be it social media, daily talk shows, or addictive games, all of them should be properly scheduled and finished long before bedtime. Maybe you can try reading a book just before bed since they are proven to be good sleep inducers.
Insomnia is a treatable sleeping disorder. In severe cases, people with insomnia are advised to seek medical attention. With a bit of practice and willpower, you will be dreaming in no time.