Everyone loves to sleep. After a long day at work, our minds become occupied with thoughts of peacefully lying asleep on a bed. However, when it’s time to sleep, some people find it difficult or are unable to stay asleep for a long period. This difficulty falling asleep is called insomnia. Here’s why you are experiencing this difficulty and ways to get around it.
It’s a sleep irregularity that affects a regular sleep pattern. The human body is expected to get at least 7 hours of proper sleep, but Insomnia disrupts this by making it hard to fall and stay asleep.
Why do I have Insomnia?
While sometimes, insomnia could be a sign of an underlying disease, other times, it has other causes that aren’t related to an underlying disease. Here are some probable reasons why you’ve been finding it difficult to fall or stay asleep.
1. Stress: Stress is a common cause of insomnia. Having to worry about countless things keeps the mind disrupted and occupied. When the mind becomes too occupied with thoughts, it becomes difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep.
2. Trauma: People who have gone through some life-changing traumas may find it difficult to fall asleep and may constantly find themselves waking up in between their sleep due to nightmares or flashbacks from such traumatic events
3. Schedules: School, work or other schedules can trigger the inability to fall asleep. Once the body gets used to a particular schedule, it automatically adjusts, and it becomes difficult to change. An instance is a person who works night shifts and wakes up very early in the morning, the body will automatically get used to being awake at a specific time each day, and on days when that person wants to sleep for a longer period, it becomes impossible because such change is new to the body.
4. Sleeping habits: Bad sleeping habit is a common cause of insomnia. Habits such as irregular sleep routine, scattered bed, uncomfortable pillow or eating late can make it difficult to fall asleep
5. Drugs and alcohol: some medications such as antidepressants, drugs for high blood pressure, cold, or allergy drugs can cause insomnia. Drinks containing caffeine (coffee, tea, etc.) also have a medical history of disrupting sleep. Alcohol could make you fall asleep but makes it impossible to sleep deeply and causes you to wake up early.
6. Health conditions: Heart attack, diabetes, overactive thyroid, cancer, asthma, or heartburn are common health conditions that trigger insomnia
How do I know I have this sleep disorder
1. Difficulty falling, waking up in between sleep and inability to stay asleep for long
2. Daytime fatigue
3. Difficulty concentrating or remembering things
4. Mood swings
5. Lack of motivation and reduced performance in school or at work.
Tips to help deal with insomnia,
1. Sleeping habits: Develop a better and healthier sleeping habit by going to bed early and at a specific time each day, limiting naps during the day. Keep your TV off, keep your phone away from the bed, and avoid any other source of distraction. Make your bed, choose a comfortable pillow, and adjust the room temperature and brightness.
2. Eat light meals for dinner, avoid going to sleep hungry and do not eat a few minutes before going to bed. Also read – five ways to live a healthy lifestyle.
3. Avoid caffeine and alcohol
4. Exercise regularly. It would reduce stress and make it easier to fall asleep. Here are other ways to deal with stress- top 10 ways you deal with stress.
5. Have a relaxing bedtime routine such as taking a shower before sleeping, listening to soothing music or reading.
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder both in adults and teens. However, it’s usually not a cause for concern. Most times, you only need a change in routine and some cases, medications to regulate sleep. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, please do not hesitate to contact a medical professional.