Are you suffering from lack of sleep or difficulties in staying asleep? Well, worry no more since we have it all sorted out. Here are a few tips that can help since your challenge could be what medics refer to insomnia.
WHAT IS INSOMNIA?
This is a sleep disorder in which you either find it extremely difficult to fall asleep or continue sleeping. Thus you may find yourself waking up in the middle of the night or staring blankly at your ceiling all night long.
Insomnia is self-diagnosable thus no laboratory tests or screening is required.
SYMPTOMS OF INSOMNIA
These are tell-tale signs which indicate that all is not well. They include:
1. Total lack of sleep
2. Feeling sleepy most of the time
3. Reduced concentration span
4. Waking up at night and finding it very difficult to go back to sleep
5. Waking up too early
6. Feeling spent i.e. too exhausted after waking up
7. Memory lapses, finding it difficult to remember important dates or issues
TYPES OF INSOMNIA
There are two basic types of insomnia:
a. Primary insomnia- it refers to sleep difficulties that are not linked to any other illnesses. This means that your sleep disorder has got no trigger factor such as asthma, headaches, pain or discomfort.
b. Secondary insomnia- in this case, your sleep disorder is associated with medical conditions and illnesses such as cancer, asthma, headaches or even backaches.
CAUSES OF INSOMNIA
The following factors can lead to sleep difficulties:
1) Excessive stress- this may be caused by tragic life events such as loss of your loved one, divorce or getting sacked without prior notice
2) Physical discomforts such as headaches back or muscle pains
3) Too much distraction e.g. too high or low temperatures, flashing lights or noise in your environs
4) Regular interference with your sleep pattern for instance if you are working as a nurse, a sudden change in your shift let us say from day to night and vice versa can easily affect your sleep
5) Extreme anxiety or tension-if you keep on fearing about something bad regularly, this can easily land you into sleep-related complications
6) Depression-a mental illness in which a person is extremely sad and anxious
There is no permanent cure for insomnia but the following tips can help:
You should practice good sleeping habits- healthy sleep
Have a regular sleeping pattern that is go to bed and wake up at a specified time
Sometimes, taking sleeping pills can help
Treating underlying health conditions which lead to secondary insomnia can also be helpful
GOOD SLEEPING HABITS
Here are a few tips to help you practice sleep hygiene:
1. Have a regular schedule for sleeping that is go to bed or wake up at the same time every day
2. Avoid stimulants such as coffee before going to bed since they are bound to keep you alert for a long time
3. Avoid sedatives as they could lure you to oversleep hence interfering with your sleep pattern
4. Avoid rigorous exercises 3-4 hours before hitting the sack
5. Avoid using phones or e-materials for long hours before going to bed
6. Avoid naps during daytime as they are likely to lower the chances of falling asleep
7. Avoid indulging in alcohol as it can make you wake up at night
8. Opt for a light snack instead of a heavy meal before going to bed
9. Make your environment sleep-friendly in terms of temperatures, light and noise
10. Practice sleep routines such as taking a bath, yoga or reading a story before going to bed.