While I woke up at 9 one fine morning, I yawned a bit and checked my phone for messages. There were several from a friend of mine; but what was alarming wasn’t the content of the messages, but the time at which they had been sent. ‘2:10 a.m., 3:45 a.m. and 4:20 a.m.’- something that would seem like just mere numbers to one person, could have devastating effects on another.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that can make it hard to fall asleep, stay asleep, or cause you to wake up too early and not be able to get back to sleep. It can sap not only your energy level and mood but also your health, work performance and quality of life. (Mayo Clinic)
There are several causes for insomnia. Some of them are mentioned below:
- Psychological problems and emotional distress: Anxiety and depression are the two most common causes of chronic insomnia.
- Medical problems or illness: Many medical conditions and diseases can contribute to insomnia, including asthma, allergies, acid reflux and so on.
- Medications: Many prescription drugs can interfere with sleep, including antidepressants, high blood pressure medications, and some contraceptives.
(Robinson, Smith, & Segal, 2016)
Treatment options include behaviour & lifestyle changes, medicines, and complementary medicines. Behaviour & lifestyle changes improve overall sleep quality and the time it takes to fall asleep without the side effects of sleep medicines. These improvements last over time.
To improve your sleep, here are some things you can try:
- Relaxation exercises may help you if you lie in bed with your mind racing. Common relaxation exercises include breathing exercises for relaxation, doing meditation, doing progressive muscle relaxation.
- Healthy thinking is a way to help you stay well or cope with a health problem by changing how you think. Cognitive-behavioural therapy is a type of counselling that can help you understand why you have sleep problems and can show you how to deal with them. Cognitive-behavioural therapy helps reduce interrupted sleep over time.
- Lifestyle changes: These include changing your sleep area or schedule, watching what and when you eat and drink, and being more active. It’s also important to keep regular bedtimes and wake times – 7 days a week-and to try to avoid taking naps during the day. (WebMD)
It can be concluded that insomnia is not one of those issues that can be taken for granted, as it can be problematic for those suffering from it. The ‘silver lining’ of this cloud, however, is the fact that it can be managed, with the right amount of help offered by therapists.
HELPGUIDE.ORG. (n.d.). Retrieved November 19, 2016, from http://www.helpguide.org: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/relaxation-techniques-for-stress-relief.htm
Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Retrieved November 23, 2016, from www.mayoclinic.org: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/home/ovc-20256955
Robinson, L., Smith, M., & Segal, R. (2016, October). HELPGUIDE.ORG. Retrieved from www.helpguide.org.
WebMD. (n.d.). Retrieved November 23, 2016, from www.webmd.com: http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/tc/insomnia-treatment-overview#3