Insomnia is something most adults will experience at some point in their life. Whether it is not being able to fall asleep or waking up multiple times during the night, everyone can agree not being able to sleep properly sucks. Adults need around eight hours of sleep a night. Insomnia can make that rather difficult.
Thankfully, most people will experience short-term insomnia. Short-term or acute insomnia is usually connected to a recent event that has left its mark and left you unable to sleep. This type of insomnia normally lasts a few days or weeks, but eventually goes away. There is also long-term, or chronic, insomnia which can last for months or even years.
With either type of insomnia, there is always the possibility that insomnia is just a side-effect of a different problem. According to the National Sleep Foundation, insomnia can be caused by allergies, body pain, mental health disorders and even asthma. Working to fix the base issue will likely help with insomnia, though sometimes insomnia itself is the primary problem. Luckily, there are many ways to deal with all types of insomnia.
First, examine your life. If you are going through an especially stressful time there is a good chance stress is keeping you awake at night. Working to address the causes of stress may get you back to sleeping. If you have recently changed bedtime routines or just arrived in a new time zone, give your body a few weeks to adjust to the new routine. Bad sleep habits can also be keeping you awake. As much as we all love TV, computers and our phones, they can interfere with our body’s natural sleep cycle if viewed in the hours before sleep. Other bad habits include eating too much before bed, consuming too much caffeine during the day, napping during the day and being in an uncomfortable sleeping environment.
The next place to look is where you are trying to sleep. It is common knowledge that bright lights and loud noises will keep us awake, but there are other environmental factors that cause insomnia. Using your bed for things other than sleeping can warp how your brain views the bed. Using your bed as a place for eating or work can mean your brain thinks it needs to be more awake in case you are going to work or eat. Try and reserve your bed for only bedtime activities.
If your insomnia persists after adjusting bad habits or getting through a stressful time, there are other home remedies worth trying. The old trick of a warm cup of milk before bed actually holds merit. Dr. Jeanne Duffy says the warm glass of milk helps your body fall into a routine so long as you maintain it. Duffy also suggests lavender scents to help decrease anxiety and promote relaxation. Try combining a bath with lavender scents for an even more relaxing night.
For insomnia not solved with at-home remedies, talk with a doctor to find the best sleeping solution for you. Chronic insomnia can be very difficult to manage alone, so seeking a professional opinion is encouraged. Sleep is far too important to put off fixing. The Mayo Clinic states that problems sleeping can impact your performance professionally, leave you with slower reaction times and can even put you at risk for mental health issues.
So no matter the cause, insomnia can greatly affect your life if left untreated. Find a routine that helps you fall asleep and stick with it. If you find you are still plagued by sleepless nights, find a doctor so you can enjoy your Zs again.