Table of Content
Insomnia is a common type of sleep disorder that affects millions of people across the world. Individuals with insomnia find it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep causing them to wake up too early before completing their proper sleep.
Insomnia can diminish your energy levels and take a toll on your mood, health, work, and overall quality of life. As the amount of sleep that people need varies, insomnia is defined by the quality of sleep an individual gets and not by the hours they sleep or how quickly they fall asleep. Thus, if you are drowsy and fatigued during the day even after spending eight hours a night in bed, it could be the symptom of insomnia.
Causes of Insomnia
Short-term or acute insomnia can occur due to stress or a traumatic event and can last for days or weeks. On the other hand, long-term or chronic insomnia can last for a month or more and can be classified as primary and secondary. Primary insomnia is sleeplessness that is not caused due to any existing medical, environmental, or psychiatric reasons. Secondary insomnia is the symptom/side effect of some other problem and can arise due to certain medical conditions, sleep disorders, medicines, and substances.
There is no known cause for primary insomnia, however, secondary insomnia may occur with the following conditions:
- Medical conditions, such as back pain or arthritis
- Psychological problems like anxiety and depression
- Substance use
- Sleep apnea
Treatment for Insomnia
For most people, addressing the underlying problems and sleeping habits leading to insomnia can restore their natural and restful sleep patterns. However, if these measures fail to work, your doctor may suggest the following insomnia treatments and medications to induce relaxation and sleep.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I)
CBT-I is usually recommended as the first line of treatment for insomnia. This structured therapy helps identify the negative thoughts and actions that may be causing your sleep troubles and steps to overcome them. The strategies that CBT-I involves to let you take control of your sleeping habits are as follows:
- Stimulus Control Therapy: This therapy aims at eliminating those factors that condition your mind to resist falling asleep. As a part of this therapy, you may be encouraged to follow a consistent sleep and wake time, leaving the bedroom if you don’t doze off in twenty minutes and coming back only when you are sleepy, etc.
- Relaxation Techniques: To reduce anxiety and calm your mood before bedtime, you can try breathing and biofeedback exercises and progressive muscle relaxation.
- Sleep Restriction: This therapy is focused on reducing the time an individual spends on the bed by completely avoiding daytime naps. The idea is to make you tired enough for the next night. This gradually reduces the effects of insomnia and improves your quality of sleep.
- Paradoxical Intention: Worrying about not being able to sleep worsens the insomnia symptoms. Paradoxical intention aims at reducing the worry by trying to stay awake than expecting to fall asleep.
- Light Therapy: In light therapy, you are exposed to a light source for a certain length of time every day to correct sleep disorders related to circadian rhythm disruptions. Typically, the light source used is brighter than indoor lighting.
Generally, doctors don’t recommend taking prescription sleeping pills for longer than a few weeks as they can be habit-forming and come with side effects. Some medications that may be approved by your doctor are Eszopiclone (Lunesta), Ramelteon (Rozerem), Zolpidem (Ambien).
Over-the-Counter Sleeping Aids
These sleep medications contain antihistamines that can make you drowsy and are not meant to be used regularly. It is crucial to consult a doctor before taking over-the-counter sleeping aids.
Tips to Manage Insomnia
Regardless of your age, insomnia is a treatable condition. In most cases, making changes to lifestyle and habits can help with its treatment. Here are some tips to follow:
Pay Attention to Your Diet
Diet plays a vital role in your sleep. An imbalanced diet, especially during the end of the day, might result in insomnia. Researchers suggest dropping carbohydrates consumption before going to sleep. If your body gets busy burning the foods at night, that will make you uncomfortable on the bed and you will lose your sleep.
Tip: Following a controlled diet and taking healthy foods can make you feel better and comfortable and help you get rid of insomnia. It is recommended to include foods that are high in magnesium and potassium in your diet.
Dealing with Stress
Insomnia is closely linked with stress. An individual who is under a considerable amount of stress might experience insomnia, which makes it hard to fall asleep and affects their quality of sleep. The stress and anxiety that they feel could be due to a traumatic event, problems at work or family life, and having persistent thoughts about the past or future leading to poor sleep quality or insomnia.
Tip: Stress can make you stay up at night. A recommended way to overcome insomnia is to reduce your stress level naturally by getting a relaxing massage before bedtime, taking out 15 to 30 minutes a day for meditation, practicing exercise or yoga, abdominal breathing, and consuming foods rich in vitamin B.
Using Electronic Devices Before Sleep
Using electronic devices before bedtime disturbs your sleep and keeps your brain active when your body needs rest. The brain can't turn off because of ceaseless thinking. Watching TV, smartphone, or using laptops that emit blue light convinces your pineal gland inside your brain to keep it running and keep you from falling asleep.
Tip: Researchers recommend that people should stop using any electronic devices at least thirty minutes before going to bed. You can instead start reading books or journaling that helps you to relax. It could release endorphins in the body that help to get a nice and good sleep.
Some of our day to day activities can also cause insomnia. Day-time sleeping, working in night shifts, noisy sleeping environment, depression, a future event that causes excitement, different time zones (country migration) are a few causative factors of insomnia.
Tip: The absence of personal fulfillment is a major culprit that can lead to sleeplessness. Work and rest should be at a well-balanced level. It is recommended to maintain a dark environment at night. This can make you comfortable for sleeping.
It is also crucial to maintain a positive and happy mindset. There will be situations that will be beyond your control. You need to focus on what can work.
Seek Professional Help
Whatever is discussed here is a short-term remedy for insomnia. For complete and quality recovery, it is essential to reach out for professional help. Cadabam's group provides the best treatment for insomnia with the most upgraded evidence-based therapies like CBT(Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and Biofeedback. Reach us @ +91 97414 76476