Sleep is just as important as food, water, and oxygen because without it a person will eventually suffer from many illnesses. It is a fact that a person who does not have enough sleep becomes weak, groggy, disoriented, and more prone to diseases. To remain physically and mentally fit at all times, an adult person needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep every day while growing children need more.
During sleep, the body relaxes and this is the time when damaged blood vessels and the heart are repaired. People who do not spend the right amount of time sleeping may be in danger of suffering from diabetes, heart and kidney ailments and are prone to have heart attacks or stroke. When a person cannot sleep well, he might be suffering from insomnia.
What Is Insomnia?
Insomnia is defined as inability to sleep even if a person has the chance to do it, especially at night, which people spend sleeping except those whose jobs require them to work the whole night. Sometimes, you experience staying awake the most of the night even if you are lying in your bed. When this happens, you usually wake up feeling groggy and irritable. This is because despite lying in bed the whole night, you were notable to get some sleep. Bouts of sleeplessness occur as people grow older. Babies sleep most of the time day and night. As they grow older, the time they spend sleeping is reduced.
As people grow older, they tend to sleep less. Women in their menopausal stage would usually sleep less at night. Many older people wake up just after midnight and are unable to go back to sleep. All these are symptoms of insomnia.
Types of insomnia
There are 3 types of insomnia. These are sleep-onset insomnia, sleep maintenance insomnia, and early awakening insomnia.
- Sleep Onset Insomnia. This refers to difficulty to fall asleep. Many people experience this type of insomnia. They go to bed ready to sleep only to have their minds crowded with so many thoughts that they cannot fall asleep. They might fall asleep but this happens in the middle of the night or even at dawn.
- Sleep Maintenance Insomnia. This refers to a person’s inability to stay asleep the whole night. Instead, they would wake up after a few hours sleep, stay awake for some time, then sleep again, then wake up again. This happens several times at night and usually, the person would suffer from headache, tiredness, and grogginess.
- Early-awakening insomnia. Persons suffering from this type of insomnia may wake up around 1 or 2 o’clock in the morning and will not be able to sleep again. Usually, old people suffer from this type of sleep problems.
Symptoms of Insomnia
Being not able to get enough sleep occasionally may not have serious impact on one’s overall health but when failure to fall asleep becomes habitual, then, the person might be suffering from insomnia. The following are the symptoms of insomnia:
- Failure to fall asleep even if a person feels tired and sleepy
- Waking up very late at night or at dawn and not being able to go back to sleep.
- Not falling asleep unless sleeping pill is taken or alcoholic drink is ingested.
- Feeling tired and irritable in the morning.
- Waking up several times at night and difficulty to return to sleep each time.
- Lack of focus and restlessness during daytime.
Causes of Insomnia
Just any other ailments, insomnia has several causes and knowing them will help you find remedies. Here are the symptoms of insomnia:
- Psychological and emotional problems or stress. If you are thinking about lots of problems, you will notice that you cannot sleep. You might be lying on your bed with closed eyes but the reality is you are not asleep but thinking about your problem. The same happens when you are angry or worried. Your mind becomes active thinking about how you can avenge yourself, thus, causing your failure to sleep.
- Medications taken. Some medicines can make you feel sleepy while others can keep you awake most of the night. These medications include medications for high blood pressure, antidepressants, thyroid hormones, alcohol-containing medicines for fever and flu, stimulants, pain relievers, slimming pills, and birth-control pills.
- Medical issues such as having cancer, hyperthyroidism, asthma, Parkinson’s disease, and chronic pain such as migraine and toothache.
- Sleep problems such as snoring, jet lag, night shift job, and throbbing of the legs, as well as muscle pains.
The environment also contributes to sleeplessness. If you live in a noisy environment, then, getting a restful sleep would seem impossible. Also, uncomfortable sleeping places will likewise contribute to the amount of sleep that you can get.
Taking medicines such as sleeping pills to help you sleep well is only recommended for a short time. For long term relief from insomnia, the following are recommended:
- Changing your lifestyle. This means making some changes in your sleep area such as improving ventilation and making it as comfortable as possible. Use a sleeping place where noise made by other members of the family cannot reach you. If you are a habitual coffee drinker, avoid caffeine. Instead, drink milk before going to bed. Watch out what you eat and drink. Taking alcohol can result to sleeplessness and so it must be avoided.
- Exercise regularly. Various studies have shown that exercising regularly results to enjoying restful sleep at night. This is because exercising keeps you alert in the daytime and make you feel tired enough to go to sleep early at night. Exercising in the morning and late in the afternoon can help you get a good sleep at night.
It is important to maintain your regular bedtime and waking up schedule even during weekends when you have nothing to do. Many people sleep late and wake up late during weekends. This can disrupt your body lock so that during weekdays, you find yourself not being able to sleep and wake up early.