Do you find it difficult to sleep? Does it take you hours to fall asleep and then you find it challenging to maintain sleep for the whole night? Do you wake up in the early-morning and cannot go back to sleep?
Insomnia is a gross feeder. It will nourish itself on any kind of thinking, including thinking about not thinking. – Clifton Fadiman
Sleeplessness or Insomnia?
Criteria for insomnia is when you don’t have a good night’s sleep for at least three nights per week, and it continues for a period of 3 months. A lot of research is being done on insomnia. Did you know that approximately 6% to 10% of adults have insomnia? It is more common in women, and older adults and only a low percentage could be caused by diseases.
What is the Impact of sleeplessness and or Insomnia?
• Poor concentration
• Mood swings
• Huge impact on the economy due to productivity loss.
Insomnia can be treated with psychological or pharmacologic therapy or a combination of both. Alternative approaches include acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.
Sleepless nights or waking up at night is not uncommon, and according to James Findley, Ph.D., clinical director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program, people move towards a lighter stage of sleep during the night, and this contributes to more awakening.
So why do we wake up and what can we do about it?
1) Sleep disorders like sleep apnea – usually only identified by a sleeping partner that picks up that you stop breathing for a short period of time or Insomnia.
2) Underlying condition – huge meals before you go to sleep or medicine. Keep a diary of what you eat and drink and the impact it has on your sleeping pattern.
3) Bedroom environment. – Here temperature and darkness plays a huge role. Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature that will suit you.
4) Alcohol. – This is known as a sleep disruptor. In some people it will let you sleep deep for an hour or two but has the negative effects of awakening numerous times during the night.
5) Stress. – The most common reason for not sleeping well. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help your brain to control stress while meditation, breathing exercises and yoga may also help.
What to do about it
1) Set a constant wake up time. – Waking up the same time every day will eliminate waking up during the night. The most important factor is to set your brain’s internal biological clock. This will train your brain to know the difference between night and day.
2) Avoid your phone and tablet. – The blue-spectrum light emitted from phones and tablets is known to impede sleep. Constant sounds of incoming messages and light of these devices can also interfere with a good night’s sleep. It is suggested that you charge your devise before going to bed, put it on silent and turn it face down or even better use an old school alarm clock.
3) If you cannot sleep, don’t stay in bed. – Relaxing activities are recommended like yoga, meditation, and reading.
4) Avoid taking naps during the day as this will interfere with your sleep at night.
5) Use your bed for what it is intended to, sleep and pleasures. Don’t read your emails, engage in social media activities, read a book or eat in your bed as this sends wrong signals to your brain that could disrupt your sleep.
6) Get enough exercise, but early in the morning, research has shown that exercise in the morning contributes more to a good night sleep than exercise later in the day.
7) Lastly, something that will affect all of us is aging. The need to go to the bathroom more, aches and pains and sleep for shorter periods and wake up more often.
Identify your reason for a sleepless night, and it will change your life.
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