Simple And Effective Ways To Treat Insomnia (And Why It Happens)
In this article, we’ll discuss some easy to implement yet powerful tips to treat insomnia; and discuss why it happens as well.
What Is Insomnia?
It is the inability to fall asleep for more than 45 mins to 1 hour after going to bed. If this sleeping disorder continues for more than 3 calendar days it is termed as a medical condition called Insomnia. It can either be short-term and in worse cases, long-term.
How Does Insomnia Happen?
There is a circadian rhythm (biological clock) that maintains our sleep-wake cycle via secretion of specific sleep hormones. When we break this circadian cycle it leads to insomnia.
Causes Of Insomnia
Insomnia might be caused by various factors. Here are some common issues:
- Hyper excited CNS (Central Nervous System) due to an exciting or uplifting momentary or prolonged event in your life.
- Food items like coffee, milk chocolate, green tea, food containing high sugar, and even alcoholic beverages.
- Noise pollution on the streets or excessive shouting and wind banging doors in the house.
- Medical conditions like migraine, acidity, and brain tumors.
- Psychiatric problems like mania or hypomania.
Also Read: Foods To Avoid Before Bed
Normal Sleep-wake Cycle
For a healthy mind and body to function, sleep is of utmost importance. Our body maintains this regular cycle in which the sleep hormone i.e. melatonin is secreted at night as the sunsets. This depletes by morning during sunrise and your brain is refreshed to interact and send movement signals to all parts of your body.
Sleep has 2 stages (Non-Rapid Eye Movement stage and Rapid Eye Movement stage). A normal person should have a minimum of 4 to 5 cycles of both the stages in 1 night to maintain a peaceful mind and carry on with day to day activities.
What Happens In Insomnia?
For starters, the person begins to develop a sleep-deprived, grumpy, and perpetually irritated persona. The patient would not participate in any activities and prefer to laze around the entire day.
They could also be referred to as “couch potatoes”.
The patient also starts to develop dark circles around the eyes and begins to experience physical and mental weakness. Sadly, insomnia patients like to be alone due to their continuously agitated mood.
The worst impact is evident in the work performance graph. As it severely deteriorates.
How To Treat Insomnia?
Of course, there are many ways to treat insomnia, medically, and physically.
We have curated a list of lifestyle changes that could help cure insomnia.
An effective strategy for curing insomnia would be regular exercise, 6 days a week, at least for 45 minutes. This makes a person tend to feel tired due to constant muscle contraction during working out. Even walking or jogging could count as decent exercise.
Exercise could be in the form of yoga, gym workouts, aerobics, Zumba, dance, home work out, brisk walking, etc. Once you are tired, chances are you will fall asleep when you are in bed.
An individual who learns to control his or her mind is someone who is considered to have the ultimate power.
Similarly, if a person can meditate and control their thoughts during night time, they can fend away sad, happy, and stressful thoughts. This would eventually help in falling asleep.
This is a skill that takes years to excel at and many give up in the very beginning. But, with a whole lot of patience a person can achieve desirable control over their brain activity.
3. Relationship With Your Bed
One should avoid performing other activities in bed that call for attention and concentration. Above all, an insomniac patient should use their bed solely for sleeping purposes. This is because if you eat food or watch shows daily on your bed, your mind always expects the same thing each time you step into bed. Thus, when you get into bed at night ready to sleep, your brain may be sending signals of food or entertainment expectancy.
Literally, despite not having any electronic gadgets, your brain can be so accustomed to that midnight show that you would be naturally picturing various types of visual content you have seen over the past few days. This sends neural signals of excitement and tends to keep a person awake for longer.
4. Get Rid Of Smartphone Habits
With the invention of the mobile phone, our entire world is over-comfortable on their little screens.
Studies have shown that a person who shuts their phone an hour before sleeping tends to fall asleep soon. Even better, they manage to induce deep sleep and wake up fresh in the morning. Whereas people who use their phone until they dose off generally have a disturbed sleep cycle and do not wake up as fresh as generally needed.
Bonus tip: COMPLETELY switch off social media at least 30 minutes before going to bed.
5. Improve Eating Habits
One of the best things you can do to treat insomnia is to improve your eating habits. Consumption of coffee, chocolate, alcohol, or for that matter even going to bed on an empty stomach triggers insomnia. Avoid these poor eating habits and attempt sticking to an eating schedule that you obey with your life.
A healthy diet and food-eating time table are important to maintain sleep cycles. Dinner is mostly suitable to be consumed before 8 pm.
Also Read: Best Foods That Help You Sleep Better
6. Avoid Power Naps
Power naps are important to achieve the mid-day energy burst. Although excessively power napping could be harmful. Try and regulate your power naps to two a day and not more than 20 mins each.
7. Sleep-inducing Cheat
For individuals who want to trick their brains into feeling sleepy, they can try for going on a 15 to 20-minute walk. This helps clear out the firing thoughts and establish a clean “thought palette” to fall asleep. Make sure to do this post-dinner time.
Even consuming oily foods can help to induce sleep. But, it is not considered a healthy dietary habit and can lead to future health complications.
8. Reduce Background Noise
Sleeping in an environment where there is too much noise leads to insomnia. Bedrooms should be soundproofed completely or partially to avoid noise-related hazards.
9. Reduce Lighting
You can either switch off your lights completely or figure out what lighting setting induces sleep the quickest. Some people can fall asleep in a super-dim ambiance faster than in a pitch dark room.
10. Avoid Medical Treatment
Even though the medicinal market is booming and the drugs seem like an easy road to take, no drugs should be taken unless prescribed by a healthcare professional.
Tips To Treat Insomnia: Wrap Up
Insomnia is a common sleeping disorder in the current generation. If you are too busy or have too much at stake to implement the lifestyle changes mentioned above, consider trying these medicines out. They are well-known and would be the first choice for most doctors.
- Zaleplon (Sonata)
- Ramelteon (Rozerem)
- Trazedone (Desyrel)
Each of these medicines would function in different manners and would have to be taken at a varied pace and dose. Consult a doctor to ensure that these medicines are safe for your existing health conditions.
August 14, 2020 Sam Bell