If you have insomnia or sleep disorders, lifestyle changes can help you to a great extent to eliminate insomnia from your life.
When I’m questioned about my favorite thing to do or my pastimes, I often reply that I love to sleep. So, I just grab my pillow and perform my beloved hobby. Sleep is as essential to health as a balanced diet or regular physical activity. Sleep affects the quality of life to a greater extent. But have you thought of a situation when you’re not at all able to sleep and all your energy feels faded all-day time. Drastic? Yes! That situation is called a sleep disorder, to be more precise, Insomnia.
Insomnia is a relatively common problem that has been experienced by a huge proportion of the general population. In fact, there are more than 10 million people in India who suffer from insomnia per year. Epidemiological surveys were conducted in various parts of the world but the finding they conveyed was almost the same demonstrating a massive number of people are still suffering from insomnia. Also, the stats based on the reports of surveys put on a conclusion that insomnia is more common among women and old age people.
What is Insomnia?
In the most simple form, insomnia is sleeplessness. It is a sleep disorder where people have trouble sleeping and they do not get the expected and essentially important amount of sleep which is necessary to wake up feeling fresh and rested. This term is practically applied to those people who suffer from sleep disorders and the chronic inability to obtain sufficient sleep. The amount of sleep varies from person to person as per their need. So, insomnia is measured on the basis of the quality of sleep and how the person feels after completing sleep. For instance, if you’re spending 10 hours a night in bed, but even then feel drowsy and fatigued throughout the day time, you may be suffering from a sleeping disorder. Whether it is quality of sleep or it is the quantity of sleep, both of them come under Insomnia. A person who is suffering from insomnia faces issues in
- inconvenience in falling asleep
- Interruption in sleep through frequent awakening
- Awakening early in the morning
- Problems in staying asleep
Because of these troubles, the individual keeps feeling low and unrefreshed throughout the day time and as a result not able to complete valued day time activities.
A specific group of individuals has more risk of developing insomnia. Women, people with depression or anxiety issues, people with chronic medical conditions like Asthma, and older people fall into the category of more likely to have a sleep disorder. Insomnia negatively affects nearly all aspects of life. It affects work performance, decision-making ability and can decrease the quality of life.
Let’s have a peek at these stats based on the sleeping patterns of people, which will shortly drag us to the finding that Insomnia is on the surge and the world is sleep deprived. And we must not underestimate the circumstances it can cause.
- 80% of women interview insomnia during pregnancy.
- It is estimated that more than 50 million Americans are affected by Insomnia.
- One out of four people suffers from insomnia.
- 30% of adults show symptoms of insomnia.
- 10 % of grown-ups have severe insomnia
- Less than 10% of adults can maybe have chronic insomnia.
The points cited above demonstrate that there is a high prevalence of sleep disorders in the general population and with no doubt Insomnia is the most common disorder that is ever encountered
The symptoms of insomnia may include :
- Difficulty faced in sleeping during the night.
- Awakening too early in the morning
- Feeling low and unrefreshed after a night’s sleep
- Ongoing uncertainties about sleep
- Drowsiness, fatigue, and tiredness experienced throughout the day
- Difficulty faced in concentrating or focusing on tasks
- Increased quantity of errors and mistakes
- Dependence on sleeping pills to sleep.
Stages of Insomnia
The stages of insomnia are based on the period of occurrence of the problem. Insomnia can be classified as transient, acute or chronic.
Transient insomnia is not a long time problem, it fades within a week. Transient insomnia lasts less than a week and can be caused by changes in sleep atmosphere, severe depression, change in timing of sleep. Transient insomnia can lead to sleepiness and incapacitated psychomotor performance.
The next level of insomnia is acute insomnia, which is the inability to sleep in a consistent manner for a period of less than a month. Acute insomnia is also called short term insomnia or stress-related insomnia. The presence of insomnia is ascertained by the difficulty in initiating sleep or poor quality sleep. These problems result in an improper daytime function.
Chronic insomnia lasts for a longer duration of time. Its effects can be adverse and vary as per its causes. Its effects comprise of muscular weariness, hallucinations or mental fatigue. It can also lead to double vision.
Insomnia may be caused by a large variety of physical, mental, behavioral and drug-related causes. It can also be a cause of other illnesses. There is sometimes an underlying medical condition that may be responsible for insomnia. Stressful events or trauma can also be one major reason behind a person undergoing insomnia. Travel or work schedule also affects the sleeping pattern of an individual and thus, can give rise to insomnia. An irregular diet or an unbalanced diet may keep the patient awake.
Those individuals who have mood disorders like bipolar disorder, depression or anxiety issues and psychotic disorders are more likely to develop insomnia. Other than this, some psychiatric issues such as obsessional neurosis mental, anorexia, schizophrenia or hypomania may also result in insomnia.
There are some physical conditions that may be associated with the cause of insomnia, such conditions include hypertension, endocrine disorders, dementia, conventional heart failure or intestinal parasites.
In some cases, insomnia may emerge on the basis of a particular habit or lifestyle. Behavioral theories incline to conditioned insomnia when an individual spends many hours on the bed thinking about unpleasant events and ends up connecting it with a state of sleeplessness. Other states of mind may also be harmful.
All of the causes mentioned above can be a reason behind insomnia.
Lifestyle Changes That Can Let You Overcome Insomnia
Simple lifestyle change can help you beat insomnia in a very efficient way. So, in this section, we have created a list of some do’s that you must do if you want to overcome insomnia. Lifestyle changes can help to make it easier to fall asleep. These directions are simple and easy to follow. Let’s see :
- Maintain an Undisturbed Sleeping Environment
Sleeping requires an undisturbed, quiet and restful environment. This refers to a dark and cold place, where light may not disturb you because it can be challenging to sleep in a bright atmosphere. So, you must control the temperature, lighting, and noise in your bedroom so that you can easily fall asleep.
- Hold Regular Sleeping Schedule
Making a habit of sleeping will help you win over insomnia. All you need to do is to select the range of time when you usually feel tired and exhausted and try to sleep daily within that range of time. This way you’ll create a habit of sleeping.
The appropriate amount of sleep, suggested by doctors, for an adult is seven hours. Set a sleeping schedule for not more than eight hours. If you don’t feel sleepy until 20 minutes after going to bed, get up. Listen to music or perform any activity that may calm you. You can also do a reading, meditating and bathing before going to bed as all these activities relax the body and bring it to a restful state.
- Regular Exercise
You must include physical activities in your daily schedule to overcome insomnia. Even if you don’t think it’s helpful, physical activities are always beneficial for a healthy self.
Moderate physical exercises like swimming, running, jumping or walking can let you release tension and withstand the stressful day. But keep in mind not to perform these exercises, before going to bed. Exercising before going to bed can increase the temperature of the body or mental alertness.
Exercise releases stress and this way it can let you win over insomnia.
- A Comfortable Bed
Having a hygienic and sterile sleeping environment can increase the effectiveness of falling asleep to a great extent. Falling asleep in a comfortable environment can increase sleep quality in a great way.
Make sure that you have a comfortable mattress and pillow so that you can easily sleep.
- Say No To Alcohol and Smoke
Smoking is injurious to health and so as to your sleep. It contains nicotine which is a stimulant. People who smoke on a regular basis take more time to fall asleep and wake up more often. Smoking must be avoided in all scenarios for optimal health.
Do not consume alcohol before moving to the bed because at its initial level it may sedate you to sleep but it metabolites stimulate you and halts your sleep at midnight.
- Quit Caffeine
Try not to intake caffeine in tea, coffee, energy drinks or colas, specifically in the evening time. Caffeine prevents deep sleep. You can either have a milky drink in place of caffeine. Caffeine negatively affects the quality and quantity of your sleep. Caffeine can stay in your system for up to as long as 12 hours and thus affect your sleep by making it lighter and less restorative. Limit the number of sleeping pills as they can have side effects like causing daytime grogginess. Before taking a sleeping pill you must consult your doctor about its side effects and other possible medications.
- Eat Light Before Going To Bed
Eating a big meal before sleeping can drastically affect your sleep. In fact, if you consume a light snack before sleeping, it may induce sleepiness. Some specific foods like turkey, meat and dairy products consist of, tryptophan, which is an amino acid that your body turns into sleep encouraging melatonin and serotonin. Little changes that you will make throughout your day including changes in food habits will make your night sleep better. To maintain your sleep, it’s essential to follow a healthy meal plan and try to avoid food with processed sugar will help to maintain your energy levels.
- Don’t worry!
When you head to bed for sleeping, don’t think about everything that you have to do tomorrow. Don’t think about your work schedule or anything else because it distracts your mind from sleeping. Try to relax and keep your mind at equilibrium, so that you can sleep.
Other than implementing lifestyle changes, there are certainly other possible medications that can help in eliminating insomnia. Some strategies that are used to eradicate insomnia consists of stimulus control therapy, relaxation techniques, light therapy. In addition to that, there are various types of sleeping aids which consist of nonprescription and prescription-based medications. The main class of prescription-based medication encompasses benzodiazepine hypnotics, nonbenzodiazepine hypnotics, and melatonin receptors, agonists. Ayurvedic treatment, panchakarma therapy, Homeopathic treatment are some of the alternatives to medications.
Having sleeplessness occasionally is not an issue but if you often face this problem, then it surely is. The quantity and quality of your sleep depend upon your overall health. Lifestyle changes can help in the treatment of insomnia to a great extent. But, if insomnia is the symptom or side effect of some other disorder, then it’s essential to treat the cause.