Simple Guide To Beating Insomnia

Causes, Cures, Remedies And Sleep Tips For Insomniacs

Beating Insomnia

Insomnia Overview and Facts

If you struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep, you are certainly not alone. According to the most recent Great British Sleep Study (carried out over 2 years, with final results being reported in 2012), 49% of men and 56% of women suffer from poor quality sleep. Clearly, the problem of insomnia has grown to affect the majority of our population, and it’s not something that should be ignored. It has a profound impact on a person’s quality of life during the day, and there is no question that lack of sleep leads to a decline in overall health over time.

Insomnia Facts You Need to Know:

  • The problem of insomnia is not only extremely common, but it is also very persistent. A quarter of the respondents in the Great British Sleep Study reported that they have suffered for eleven years or more.
  • According to the Harvard Mental Health Letter, published by Harvard Medical School, problems with sleep are particularly common in patients who suffer from mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.
  • Insomnia is classified into three categories, based upon the duration of symptoms. If insomnia lasts less than four weeks, it is referred to as transient insomnia. If it continues on for one to six months, it is considered to be short-term insomnia, and chronic insomnia is a condition that persists for greater than six months.

Insomnia Causes and Symptoms

Like most medical conditions, there are a number of factors that may be causing your insomnia. Studies have shown that older people are more susceptible to long-term symptoms, and it has also been determined that insomnia is very closely related to other common and persistent problems, such as physical pain and psychological distress.

For sufferers of transient and short-term insomnia, the root of the problem is usually quite obvious. Whether it be due to stress about an upcoming life event or inability to sleep due to acute pain or discomfort, once the underlying cause subsides, the insomnia cures itself. Chronic insomniacs, however, face a much bigger ordeal in trying to determine the cause of their inability to rest properly.

The most common causes of chronic insomnia include:

  • Endocrine disorders, such as problems with your thyroid, testosterone levels, and cortisol levels, can lead to poor sleep habits.
  • Other medical issues that may contribute to insomnia include kidney disease, asthma, acid reflux, and more. Any condition that causes physical discomfort will also make it difficult to sleep.
  • As we mentioned earlier, certain mental health disorders are also to blame.
  • Psychological stress, such as high-tension jobs, concerns for friends and family, financial woes, and any other stressful long-term condition of daily living often leads to insomnia, as well.
  • Sleep disorders, such as restless leg syndrome, narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and chronic snoring are all associated with a resulting inability to rest.

Self-Tests and Diagnosis

The process of determining whether or not you have insomnia is relatively straightforward. Some people prefer to keep a sleep diary and refer back after a period of time to determine whether or not they are suffering from unhealthy sleep habits. For most people, however, it involves answering a few very simple questions:

  • Does it take a long time for you to fall asleep? (greater than 30 minutes)
  • Do you wake often throughout the night?
  • Do you wake up in the morning feeling like you never really rested at all?
  • Do you wake up significantly earlier than you would like? (such as before the sun rises)
  • Does your performance in daytime activities suffer due to fatigue, lack of energy, or foul mood?
  • Do you sleep less than 6 hours per night?

If you have answered yes to any of the questions above, it’s a good idea to look further into what may be causing your insomnia and what you may be able to do to remedy the situation.

Cures, Remedies, and Treatments

Of course, if your insomnia is the result of a medical condition, you should discuss the problem with your physician. However, the majority of cases of chronic insomnia are adequately treated through lifestyle changes and behavioral therapy. If you suffer from the inability to rest properly, one of the following solutions may be the right choice for you:

  • Limit your use of alcohol and nicotine. Both of these substances have been proven time and again to lead to chronic insomnia.
  • For obvious reasons, restrict your caffeine intake to the earlier part of your day.
  • Limit your food intake in the evening, and absolutely avoid consuming large meals just before bed.
  • Exercise regularly. If you’re going to enjoy a good night’s rest, it’s essential that you first give your body the opportunity to become tired.
  • Make sure that your sleep environment is quiet and comfortable with as little stimuli as possible.
  • Naps are fine for people who have no trouble sleeping. However, if you suffer from insomnia, naps are not a good choice. Avoid day sleeping altogether, whenever possible.
  • Treat the underlying cause of your insomnia. If stress if your problem, look into undergoing some form of cognitive behavioral therapy to abate those negative thoughts. If chronic pain is your issue, discuss your pain management protocol with your medical practitioner. If snoring is your issue, look further into what is causing the snoring problem and check out our suggestions for anti-snoring therapy options.

Insomnia affects so many aspects of your life, and it is not something that you should simply tolerate. Most cases of insomnia are manageable with the right therapy, so you owe it to yourself to find a treatment option that works for you.

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