How to Stop Insomnia in its Tracks
Do you have trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep when you finally nod off? If so, you might be one of the many people who struggle with insomnia, a common sleep disorder.
The Symptoms of Insomnia
The most common symptoms people with insomnia experience are:
- Feelings of being tired or exhausted when they awaken.
- Trouble falling asleep.
- Arising too soon in the morning.
- Trouble focusing.
- Daytime tiredness.
- Frequently awakening during the night and having issues falling back to sleep.
The Two Kinds of Insomnia
Insomnia is characterized into two different types – primary and secondary. With primary insomnia, there is no underlying health reason for insomnia – it’s simply a sleep problem.
With secondary insomnia, the sleep issue is caused by another factor, such as conditions or diseases like asthma, cancer, arthritis, or depression. The sleep issues can also be caused by other factors like pain, medications, or substances like alcohol.
How Long Will Insomnia Last?
Insomnia can last for just one night or it can span much longer. How long it lasts can determine if it is acute or chronic.
Acute insomnia is a shorter-term problem, and it can just be one night or even up to several weeks. It can be caused by temporary issues such as emotional distress, illnesses, disruptions to sleep schedules, and external factors like temperatures, noise, and light.
Chronic insomnia lasts longer – to be classified as chronic, it has to happen a minimum of three times a week for at least a month. This type is caused by conditions that can be lengthy in duration like chronic stress, pain, anxiety, or depression.
How Insomnia is Diagnosed
Those who suspect they have insomnia, especially the chronic variety, should consult with their doctor. They may conduct an examination, and look at the patient’s medical history and underlying conditions.
Sleep diaries are sometimes recommended to spot patterns or potential causes. Sometimes, patients are sent to sleep centers for studies or other tests.
Can Insomnia Be Treated?
If a bout of insomnia is fleeting and doesn’t last more than a few nights, you don’t have to treat it. You can just make some lifestyle modifications to help manage the problem. If it becomes a real problem in the meantime, and not just a nuisance, you can use sleeping pills until the issue resolves itself.
With chronic insomnia, managing any medical conditions causing the insomnia should help with the symptoms.
What Are Some Lifestyle Tips for Managing Insomnia?
Here are some tips that will help calm the mind and body to prepare it better for sleep. You can try:
- Relaxing exercises like yoga.
- Cutting out devices like phones and laptops for an hour before bed.
- A strict bedtime schedule.
- Staying away from caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, especially in the evening hours.
- Exercise that taxes the body – but you should do it at least three hours before bedtime.
- Sleeping in a room that’s cool in temperature.
- Avoiding heavy meals.
- A warm bath before bedtime.
- Making a to-do list for the next day instead of worrying about your upcoming tasks.