Not getting enough sleep can be debilitating and cause health problems and emotional issues. Tiredness can cause problems in our day-to-day lives but not being able to sleep can be particularly difficult to deal with. Insomnia can affect anyone at any time but the causes remain largely unknown.
What Is Insomnia?
Insomnia is characterized by an inability to fall asleep and to stay asleep. Repeated difficulties in getting enough sleep is not good for our overall well being and can cause, among other things, illness and depression. Anyone who has ever experienced acute tiredness can probably recall how foggy it made their head, making it difficult if not impossible to concentrate and function normally. Even the most basic of tasks and daily activities such as driving can be severely impaired by a lack of sleep.
Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to longer-term health issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure and even an increased risk of suffering a stroke. Unfortunately, a large proportion of insomniacs can suffer with the condition for a number of years.
[Image from healthewoman.org]
How to Treat Insomnia
Known triggers can include illness, stress or depression and although many of these ailments can be successfully treated with medication, curing insomnia is not always so straightforward. Sleeping pills can be effective in the short term, but for people with long-term insomnia this approach and reliance on such tablets is not advised.
Experts agree that the best way to deal with insomnia is to firstly focus on the bedroom. Making your bedroom a comfortable, warm and inviting place can promote a period of rest. Invest in a good-quality bed frame and mattress which will support the contours of your body all night long. If you share a bed with a partner, make sure you have enough room. Invest in double divan beds for a good amount of space for you both. Wear appropriate sleepwear that will not constrict your movement during the night. Ideally, you should be wearing something loose fitting which will maintain an even body temperature.
The ambient temperature of the room should not be too warm or too cold. Fresh air is good, so open a window slightly but make sure this does not create a draught. Also ensure that your bedroom is dark enough. Fit some blackout blinds if your window is near a streetlamp and switch off all other unnecessary sources of light such as TVs and lamps. Try to avoid watching television or reading in the hour leading up to bedtime. These activities can stimulate you too much and prevent you from winding down and switching off completely. Insomniacs should also avoid eating or drinking certain things before bedtime. Tea, coffee, cola and chocolate are all known stimulants and should be avoided in the evening wherever possible.
These are just some approaches that can help people suffering from insomnia but may not work for everyone. What is important is that you lead a fit and healthy lifestyle and rest whenever possible. If you need more advice and support then consult a GP.
About the author:
This article was contributed by Lloyd, a freelance writer and blogger, who is currently working with Archers Sleep Centre.