Those nights you just can’t sleep can seriously affect your health. Here are other ways insomnia can negatively impact you.
In this article:
- What Is Insomnia?
- Who Suffers From Insomnia?
- When Does Insomnia Kick In?
- Where Can I Get Help For Insomnia?
- How Can I Cure My Own Insomnia?
- Why Should I Take Insomnia Seriously?
Can’t Sleep? Here’s How Insomnia Keeps You From Functioning Properly
Insomnia Definition: Sleeplessness; the inability to sleep.
What Is Insomnia?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that affects millions of people all over the world. It comes in a wide range of varieties. People who have insomnia can’t sleep or have a hard time falling asleep. Even when they fall asleep, sometimes they find it hard to remain so.
People who suffer from insomnia become very dissatisfied and frustrated with sleep and may experience symptoms such as low energy, fatigue, lack of focus, as well as behavioral changes. They may also find that their good performance at work or school has decreased.
Insomnia itself is often a symptom of a bigger problem. It can be an indicator of a number of mental and medical issues. Psychiatrists point to a strong link between depression and insomnia symptoms, believing insomnia to be among the leading symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Who Suffers From Insomnia?
Anybody can suffer from insomnia. It’s been said that up to 90% of people can have what is called transient insomnia—temporary, once-occurring at some point, while up to 30% suffer chronic insomnia.
Women are more at risk for insomnia for the following reasons (handy to know when your girlfriend is acting like a zombie):
- PMS, or pre-menstrual syndrome comes with hormonal changes that induce symptoms of irritability, bloating, depression, and anxiety. These also tend to throw off women’s sleeping patterns.
- Pregnancy and sleeplessness go hand-in-hand. This is not surprising, as a woman’s body in pregnancy goes through multiple changes and is flowing with more hormones than usual. They’re also sheltering a new human being. Try sleeping with a small human kicking you from the inside.
- Menopause consists of another great shift in hormonal production in women. This throws off their internal clock and makes it difficult for them to sleep.
Other people who are at high risk for suffering insomnia include:
- The elderly – aging alters one’s natural sleeping patterns. It’s normal for an elderly person to stay up until wee hours in the morning, and subsist on short—and sometimes very loud—naps on their favorite sofas.
- People with depression – this psychological condition is brought about by a number of causes that throw off someone’s normal routine—eating, working, sleeping. Insomnia often causes their depression to deepen, which wreaks havoc on their sleep patterns, which ensues in a vicious, sleepless cycle.
- Young adults – people who are in school can easily become insomniacs too. With how hectic life is in the modern era, combined with their active online and offline lifestyles, young adults can easily find themselves having difficulty sleeping.
When Does Insomnia Kick In?
Insomnia can often come after you make changes in your regular routine. It may be the smallest change, but it can make a big difference to your sleep routine:
- Time zone change – when you fly over long periods of time and switch time zones, your circadian rhythm will be thrown off causing confusion and resulting in a lack of sleep. Known as jet lag, your internal clock takes time to adjust to the time zone of your destination since it’s still synced to your time zone of origin. The more time zones you cross, the more your sleep cycle suffers.
- Hormonal changes – when your hormones are working overtime, your sleep cycle is affected. Those undergoing hormonal changes are women, teenagers, young adults, aging people, those undergoing hormone therapy, and those with mental health issues.
- Medications – whenever you take certain medications, some of them have stimulants that hinder your body’s ability to fall and stay asleep. If you find that you can’t sleep after starting or switching medication, it might be the cause of your insomnia.
- Illegal substances – several illegal drugs contain psychoactive and stimulating ingredients that jolt your nerves and senses into staying awake. It often overrides your body’s natural urge to go to sleep.
Insomnia can also be psychologically caused. Stress, depression, and anxiety are three of the leading psychological causes of stress.
Where Can I Get Help For Insomnia?
There are many helpful ways to treat sleeplessness, but a clinic in London seems to have found a cure. The Insomnia clinic in Bloomsbury reports up to 80% of major improvements in patients per month in 2018.
South African psychiatrist Hugh Selsick founded the facility back in 2009. The root of his approach is that insomnia is a separate disorder in itself, not just a secondary symptom. He demystifies the 8-hour sleep standard, encourages patients to wake up the same time each day instead of going to bed the same time, discourages napping, and believes in creating a solid dichotomy between bedroom activities and waking activities.
The clinic has been so successful that its waiting list has grown immeasurably. Patients interested in getting treatment at the clinic have to wait for up to two years just to get a consultation.
How Can I Cure My Own Insomnia?
Don’t want to wait two years to have a shot at treating your insomnia? Here are several ways for you to help yourself:
- Re-learning how to fall asleep – Many medical professionals recommend a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This is to reset a patient’s expectations for sleep and getting rid of bad habits that cause sleep deprivation.
- Cognitive relaxation – overstimulation is often a cause of poor sleeping habits. Getting some control over how the body deals with stimulation is crucial. Exercises such as meditation, deep breathing, and yoga help some insomniacs prepare for a good night’s sleep.
- Prescription medication – Some medications used to treat insomnia are hypnotics, including Lunesta and Ambien. Many insomniacs also turn to melatonin, as it is known to improve sleep quality.
Why Should I Take Insomnia Seriously?
Insomnia may not sound serious, and you may try to power your way through the fatigue by downing ten cans of Red Bull. But did you have any idea that insomnia puts you at serious risk for long-term health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease?
Studies also show a strong link between insomnia and the risk of injury in the workplace and in public. A third of car accidents not related to alcohol or drug influence occur because of drivers falling asleep on the wheel, or losing focus due to fatigue and sleepiness.
Suffering from insomnia? Check out this video from Stardust Vibes – Relaxing Sounds:
Sayings like “sleep is for the weak” should be put to sleep—a permanent one. Insomnia should not be overlooked or undermined. You will not be able to fully prevent it from happening to you at some point in your life, but there are many precautions in place that can help you treat yourself, and minimize its risks to your well-being. Getting proper sleep helps you recover from certain mild illnesses, lets you be more focused and alert the next day, and helps you stay generally healthy. If you think you have insomnia, this article has hopefully shed some light into your condition and remind you to seek help for it as needed.
Do you have any foolproof ways on how to fall asleep fast? Share your useful tips with us insomniacs in the comments section below!