Insomnia is said to occur when you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep even though you had the opportunity to get a full night of sleep. The causes, symptoms and severity of insomnia vary from person to person.
The effects of insomnia can impact nearly every aspect of your life. Studies show that insomnia negatively affects work performance, impairs decision-making and can damage relationships. In most cases, people with insomnia report a worse overall quality of life.
Here is a small questionnaire that can hint towards insomnia-
- Does it take you more than 30 minutes to fall asleep?
- Do you wake up during the night and have trouble returning to sleep?
- Do you wake up earlier than desired?
- Do you have daytime symptoms such as fatigue, moodiness, sleepiness or reduced energy?
- Do you get less than 7 hours of sleep each night?
If the answers to these questions are a “yes” then you may be having or developing insomnia.
Here are a few tips to deal with insomnia-
- Sleep Hygiene -not sleeping too much or too little, exercising daily, not forcing sleep, maintaining a regular sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine at night, avoiding smoking, avoiding going to bed hungry, and ensuring a comfortable sleeping environment.
- Using relaxation techniques: Examples include meditation and muscle relaxation.
- Stimulus control therapy – only go to bed when sleepy. Avoid watching TV, reading, using any sorts of light emitting gadgets ,eating, or worrying in bed. Set an alarm for the same time every morning (even weekends) and avoid long daytime naps.
- Sleep restriction: Decreasing the time spent in bed and partially depriving the body of sleep can increase tiredness, ready for the next night.
- Regular exercise -Stay active — regular activity helps promote a good night’s sleep.
- Avoid drinking– By not drinking anything an hour before sleep and going to the bathroom several times as you get ready for bed, you can reduce the frequency you’ll wake up to go during the night.
- Avoid big evening meals. Try to make dinnertime earlier in the evening, and avoid heavy, rich foods within two hours of bed. Spicy or acidic foods can cause stomach trouble and heartburn which can wake you during the night.
If these tips fail to improve your sleep disorder, it is best to discuss it with your doctor so that he/she may decide medical treatment for you.