Insomnia is a life altering, personality affecting deficit to our bodies that cannot go on for very long before people crash. Sleep is so important that a continuous lack of it can actually shorten one’s expected lifespan, as shown in a recent Harvard study.
Common Causes of Insomnia
Common causes of insomnia include:
- stressful events
- emotional stress
- temporary pain
- disturbances in sleep hygiene, or environmental factors under one’s control that may contribute to disturbed sleep and insomnia
- disruptions to circadian rhythm or the 24 hour rhythmic regulation of our body processes
Other Chronic Insomnia Causes
Any of the varied kinds of medical reasons can cause sleeplessness, and unfortunately, so can their treatments. It’s tough to say whether the benefit is worse than the side effects, sometimes. Some of the ailments that may use those medicines are as follows:
- acid reflux
More Medicinal Causes of Insomnia
Depressive illnesses are often associated with sleep disturbances. These include anxiety, inability to relax, bipolar, panic and other psychiatric disorders. Treatment for these kinds of insomnia is for the underlying medical condition and therefore may not be giving relief of sleep loss in any way. Medicinal treatment may include but not be limited to:
- central nervous system stimulants
Sleeping Problem Broken Into Categories
Treatment for insomnia is broken into two categories; medication and behavioral strategies for sleep initiation.
Behavioral Strategies include sleep restriction. That is, use the bedroom only for sleep and nothing else. The bedroom can get to be like a torture chamber if many hours are spent in it, unable to sleep. Restrict use so that the mind associates the room with sleep, not torture.
If you are in bed 25 minutes without successfully sleeping, don’t lie there and toss and turn. Instead, get up and find something calming to do, like, painting on a canvas, or reading. But don’t watch TV, as it will make you lose even more sleep. Take a warm bath, light candles for a soothing atmosphere and get super relaxed. When sleepiness is first felt, it’s time to go back to bed and try again. If sleep doesn’t happen in 25 minutes, get back up and try it again.
If the insomniac is only sleeping four of the eight hours they’re in bed, then they should force themselves to stay up until the time they’d normally fall asleep. Stay up until sleepiness comes, force staying awake until there’s four hours left to sleep, and then go to bed. Once this is done successfully for a week, then add another 30 minutes on to your sleep and go to bed half an hour earlier. Keep adding half an hour until staying in bed goes up to eight hours. This helps to condition for good, restful sleep while one is in the bed.
Try These Sleep Remedies
Try progressive relaxation techniques such as beginning with relaxing the toes, then the toes and feet, then the toes, feet and calves, then the toes, feet and calves, and knees, etc. If you don’t fall asleep by the time you reach the head, do it again. Often repetition will cause sleepiness, too. That’s why there’s that age old remedy of counting sheep. Anything can be visualized, such as a swing going back and forth, a clock pendulum, or anything rhythmic, like counting sheep.
Also there’s a breathing exercise that’s easy to do and it really works to relax, even if you have to focus on it at first. Lie on the back and inhale deeply, expanding the diaphragm muscles as much as possible. Hold the breath for a moment, and slowly release it all the way. Count to five and inhale again, using your diaphragm to get the most air possible. Visualize the air coming in and rushing throughout your body, and when you exhale, see it rush back out to make room for clean fresh air in the next lungful. Do this as long as possible, or until sleep comes.
Sleeping Disorders Can Need a Variety of Doctors for Treatment
Cognitive behavioral therapy is where a doctor helps to eliminate thoughts associated with a poor night’s sleep. Often this involves a combination of medication and counseling or behavior changes and is closely monitored.
When stressful times resolve, when pain subsides, when recovered from illness, when sleep hygiene improves, sleep will return to normal. Don’t stress out over it, just try to get through it so sleep can be the reward.