Why Me, Insomnia?


If the title of this article has peeked your interest, I already know you are someone that has struggled with sleep management. If you are someone that decided to read this article at two o’clock in the morning than, like myself, you most likely struggle with insomnia.

What is Insomnia?

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is commonly characterized by having trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep. There are two types of insomnia: Primary Insomnia and Secondary insomnia. Primary insomnia refers to sleep problems that are not directly related to or caused by any other condition, however secondary insomnia refers to a sleeping disorder that is caused due to the presence of a secondary condition such as diabetes, arthritis, pain, or medications.

Insomnia can also vary in duration as well as occurrence. For instance, Acute insomnia is generally short-term and can occur from one night to a few weeks, while chronic insomnia is generally long-term and occurs at least three nights a week for three months or longer.

How Do I Know If I have Insomnia?

There are multiple symptoms associated with insomnia including:
• Difficulty sleeping
• Waking up often during the night and having trouble falling back asleep
• General tiredness
• Sleepiness during the day
• Irritability
• Problems with concentration or memory function

What Caused Me To Be This Way?

There are several factors, sometimes in combination, such as:
• Stress
• Illness
• Emotional or Physical discomfort
• Environmental factors (noise, lights, extreme temperatures)
• Medications
• Changes in normal sleep schedule (shift changes, travel, napping)
• Anxiety and/or Depression
• Pain or discomfort at night

How To Create Better Sleep Habits

• Go to sleep at the same time and wake up at the same time (optimal sleeping range is 10:00p.m. (latest 11:00p.m.) to 6:00a.m. This time frame follows your body’s natural hormonal release of melatonin (sleep hormone) as well as the cellular regeneration of your adrenal cells
• Avoid the use of electronics before bed (light affects ability to fall asleep, specifically blue light)
• Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol later in the day (caffeine and nicotine are nervous system stimulants and alcohol interferes with a full nights sleep)
• Get regular exercise no later than 3 hours before bedtime.
• Do not eat a heavy meal before bed (a light snack may help)
• Make your bedroom a sanctuary (black out curtains, ear plugs, sleep mask)
• Follow a relaxative routine (read a book, take a bath, listen to soothing music, meditate)
• Avoiding using your bed for anything other than sleep, this includes eating and studying in bed
• Create a to-do list for the week to avoid anxiety and stress
• Try herbs, herbal teas and natural supplements (magnesium, valerian root, ashwagandha, lemon balm, lime blossom, lavender, melatonin, chamomile)

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