3. Medical causes
Often underlying medical issues like tumors, brain lesions, arthritis, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, hyperthyroidism, asthma, sleep apnea, acid-reflux disease (GERD), congestive heart failure, chronic fatigue syndrome and many others may lead to insomnia.
Changing hormone levels like estrogen or during menstruation or due to medicines can result in insomnia as well.
5. Other causes
There can be many other secondary causes like pregnancy, genetic conditions, parasites, overactive mind, and a snoring partner can also be contributing factors.
Are you an insomniac?
“Sleeplessness is a desert without vegetation or inhabitants.” – Jessamyn West
In itself, insomnia can be a sign for a serious medical condition. Nonetheless, there are several signs and symptoms of insomnia that can help you identify if you are an insomniac:
- Having trouble sleeping at night
- Repeatedly waking up in the night
- Finding it hard to go back to sleep
- Waking up earlier in the morning than you wanted
- Feeling tired even after sleeping in the night
- Cognitive impairment
- Feeling sleepy and fatigued during daytime
- Feeling irritated, anxious and depressed
- Experiencing mood swings and behavioral issues
- Lack of focus and poor concentration
- Making too many errors, mistake and accidents
- Having severe headaches
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Thinking about sleeping all the time
- Having problem with socializing
How to overcome insomnia
“That’s the advantage of insomnia. People who go to be early always complain that the night is too short, but for those of us who stay up all night, it can feel as long as a lifetime. You get a lot done.” – Banana Yoshimoto
If insomnia is affecting your mental, emotional and physical health, then I would suggest that you start changing your lifestyle, behavior and habits as it can help you beat insomnia without the need for taking any medication.
Here are 9 ways you can cope with insomnia effectively by making small changes in your life:
1. Sleep in a comfortable environment
Make sure your bedroom and your bed are comfortable enough for you to rest properly, mentally and physically. You should be able to control the noise, lighting and temperature in your bedroom to make it favorable for a good night’s sleep.
2. Avoid stimulants and alcohol
Stay away from caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. If you can’t eliminate them from your life completely, then make sure you drastically reduce consumption if you want to sleep better and live healthier. Caffeine and other stimulants can keep you up for almost 24 hours. Moreover, alcohol can make you feel restless despite feeling like a sedative initially. If you are taking medicines like asthma inhalers or decongestants that can function like stimulants, then consult your doctor immediately.
3. Stop stressing before bedtime
“If you can’t sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there worrying. It’s the worry that gets you, not the lack of sleep.” – Dale Carnegie
Yes, we are all stressed… almost all the time. But you need to stop worrying and reduce your stress levels before going to bed. Reflect on your day and plan for the day ahead either before dinner or right after it so that you can avoid these things while lying on your bed. Listen to some soothing music or read a relaxing book before bedtime that will help you calm down and sleep better.
4. Restrict your naps
Although sleeping longer might seem like a logical solution for missing out on sleep, it can often lead to severe insomnia. Create and follow a strict sleep pattern regularly. Take efforts to train yourself to fall asleep by going to bed at a specific time every day, banning all devices in the bedroom and relaxing in the darkness. Naps during daytime can adversely affect the quality of your sleep at night.
5. Start exercising
“Physical activity within four hours of bedtime and illness can also cause this type of insomnia.” – Alistair Sinclair
Personally, exercising works wonders for me. I feel tired after a good workout and I get rather sleepy after having my dinner. So if you haven’t hit the treadmill in a while, this can be a great opportunity for you to get started or restarted. Studies have shown that regular exercise can help to improve the duration and quality of sleep. However, I would suggest that you avoid working out immediately before going to bed as it can leave you feeling energized and restless. It is best to finish your exercise at least 3 hours before your bedtime.