A large section of the population, in fact nearly 40 percent of all people, suffers from insomnia. A person is said to be having insomnia if he is unable to fall asleep, is not able to get deep sleep or wakes up feeling extremely tired and this happens every night for more than a month.
The word insomnia has been derived from a Latin word where ‘in’ means not and ‘somnia’ means sleep.
Types of Insomnia
People of all ages are affected by insomnia. A person can suffer from any of the three kinds of insomnia namely transient, short term or long term insomnia. If a person has had trouble falling asleep for say a week then that individual is suffering from transient insomnia. People lying awake at night for periods ranging between one and three weeks are said to be suffering from short term insomnia.
Chronic insomniacs are those who have been unable to get good nights sleep for than three weeks. Insomnia can affect the quality of a person’s life. Lack of sleep causes tiredness, irritability, depression and anxiety. In children, inability to get good nights sleep can affect their ability to learn and retain knowledge. Most serious road and work related accidents are also caused by people suffering from insomnia.
Causes of Insomnia
There are many factors which can cause insomnia. In many cases when individuals suffering from insomnia are able to correct the underlying factors which cause sleeplessness, they can get good nights sleep. Some of the common causes of insomnia are explored through this article.
Going To Bed Hungry
Some people skip dinner in their quest to lose weight. However going to bed on an empty stomach will mostly likely disrupt your sleep pattern. Research has shown that people who go to bed hungry find great difficulty in falling asleep. Instead of going to bed hungry, a person can opt to eat a light, yet healthy meal at night. A bowl of oats or even a grilled chicken sandwich will not only satiate your hunger but will also ensure that you get a good nights rest.
Eating Heavy Meals Before Turning In For The Night
If you are in the habit of eating heavy meals at night you may have difficulty in getting sleep. Eating meals which are loaded with carbohydrates close to your bed time will cause stomach problems. This in turn will keep a person awake. If you are one of those people who like to eat a full meal at dinner then ensure that you eat your food at least three hours before turning in for the night. This way you can ensure proper digestion before turning in and will not have a heavy, bloated and uncomfortable feeling.
Shifting Sleep Patterns
In today’s fast paced life where people work in shifts, erratic sleep patterns can lead to insomnia. To overcome insomnia a person should try to go to sleep and wake up at approximately the same time every day. However if this is not possible a person should follow a routine of calming oneself down before going to bed.
Anything which causes physical discomfort can affect ones sleep. Sleeping in too hot or too cold room can cause a person to lie awake for a long time. Similarly if the lighting in your bedroom is too harsh or there is too much noise from outside then also falling asleep can become a difficult affair. Some people find it very difficult to fall asleep if they have to sleep in unfamiliar surroundings.
Physical discomfort like pain can also interfere with a person sleep pattern. People who suffer from health conditions where the pain increases at night are unable to get a good nights sleep. Proper pain management is the best to ensure good nights sleep and prevent insomnia.
The whole work scenario has changed to such an extent that people are traveling to different continents on work related assignments almost on a weekly basis. Long haul flights can not only leave you feeling drained of all energy it can even interfere with your sleep cycle. The body’s bionic clock has to get used to the different time zones and when it is not able to do so, people end up with insomnia.
Any sudden stressful situation in ones life can also cause insomnia. People who are going through a traumatic period often complain of their inability to fall asleep. These stressful situations can vary from appearing for an important exam, to losing a job, going through a divorce or even the death of a close friend or relative. Once the stressful situation passes a person is once again able to get good nights sleep.
Lack of Exercise
People who lead sedentary lifestyles often complain of inability to fall asleep or get good nights sleep. To get proper sleep at night it is very important that a person does some exercise during the day or at least stays active. Simple exercises like walking, climbing the stairs, swimming, yoga can all help a person to get proper sleep.
Caffeine is a natural stimulant and people who drink too much coffee during the day will not be able to rest properly at night. It is also advisable not to drink coffee close to your bedtime as it will keep you alert the best part of the night. Insomnia caused by drinking too much coffee can be treated by cutting back on the number of cups of coffee you drink over the day.
Most people become incredulous when they hear that their smoking habit is responsible for their insomnia. It may sound very unreal but it is nonetheless true. Cigarette smoke contains nicotine which acts as a stimulant. Like caffeine nicotine has the tendency to keep a person alert and active.
Excessive Alcohol Consumption
Excessive consumption of alcohol especially before turning in for the night can keep a person awake most of the night. Drinking alcohol can lead to extreme dehydration and increase adrenalin production. A combination of these two factors can make a person lie awake most of the night.