What you should do to sleep like a log again?

January 20, 2014 at 1:59 AM

If you are having trouble with your sleep then most probably you are suffering from insomnia. Insomnia is a sleep disorder which means “no sleep or lack of sleep”. It is defined by the inability of a person to fall asleep or to stay asleep for a long time. Insomnia is the most common problem among all other sleep problems that we are facing these days. But how would you come to know that you are suffering from insomnia? The symptoms and indications of insomnia are very obvious. The person suffering from insomnia faces difficulty in falling asleep, awakes several times during night, feels tired during day time and lacks mental concentration on work.

Insomnia can be acute or chronic. Acute insomnia is of short duration and resolves within few days while chronic insomnia takes weeks and months to resolve completely, leaving negative impact on both the physical and mental health of the insomniac patient. 

What can cause insomnia? 

Causes of insomnia can either be primary or secondary, due to some underlying disease or condition. Some common causes of insomnia are:

  • Stress: We all are facing stress related to work in our day to day life but being overstressed or too much concerned about a thing can actually raises your chance to become insomniac.
  • Depression and anxiety: People with anxiety and depression disorders like post traumatic stress disorder or bipolar disorder are more prone to suffer from insomnia attacks.
  • Change in daily routine: Our body has a circadian rhythm which controls the sleep and wake cycle. But sometimes changes in daily schedule like travelling, late night shifts and keeping awake till late night can disturb the body’s natural rhythm. 
  • Alcohol and caffeine intake: Alcohol and caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and keeps the person awake and alert. Consuming too much of them can cause insomnia.
  • Medical condition: People with some diseases like breathing disorder, GERD, arthritis, angina, stroke, hyperthyroidism, chronic pain disorder and Parkinsonism are more likely to suffer from insomnia.

How to induce sleep naturally?

Your doctor may prescribe you some medication for insomnia but they won’t be effective until you change your daily routine and sleeping habits. Transient or acute insomnia can be managed effectively by natural ways as compared to chronic insomnia which requires intense medical treatment. Here are given some natural ways to ameliorate the symptoms of insomnia:

Sleep hygiene

Sleep hygiene is the most important part of non medical treatment of insomnia. It includes some lifestyle changes and tips that help you maintain a good quality sleep.

To enjoy a sound sleep, you will have to adopt the following lifestyle changes:

  1. Get out of bed: Once you wake up, get out of your bed and don’t force yourself to sleep more. Use your bed only for sleeping and not for other activities like watching TV or movies or eating. 
  2. Avoid naps: Day time naps will keep you awake at night and will make it difficult for you to go to sleep. Limit or avoid the naps as much as possible to get a proper sleep at night.
  3. Avoid caffeine and alcohol: Alcohol and caffeine will make you deprived of sleep. So better avoid them to have a peaceful sleep.
  4. Exercise regularly: Keeping yourself engaged in physical activities throughout the day will promote sleep at night. Exercising regularly 4 to 5 hours before sleeping for 20 to 30 minutes will deprive you of energy and will make you more tired and sleepy at night.
  5. Eat less and drink less before bedtime: If you are having large meal just before bed time, your stomach won’t have enough time to digest it resulting in acidity. This way our stomach will be upset and your sleep with be interrupted frequently at night. Similarly consuming liquids and drinks before bed time will make you urinate more often at night that can be quite irritating. So, eating less and drinking less before bedtime can save you from sleep troubles.
  6. Make a proper schedule: We all have a natural clock inside our body which determines when to sleep and when to wake up. If you disturb this rhythm of nature, you will have to pay for it by sacrificing your precious sleep. Sometimes poor sleeping habits like irregular sleeping schedule or late nigh work can disturb this natural clock. To get uninterrupted and restful sleep, follow a tight schedule. Sleep and wake up at fixed time every day. When you make it a habit, your body’s internal rhythm will become coherent with your sleep wake cycle that will help in inducing and maintaining sleep.
  7. Make a comfortable environment: Your bed room should have a sleep promoting cool environment. Change the bed sheets or make them neat before sleeping. Light should be kept as dim as possible and there must not be interrupting noises in the surrounding. 
  8. Avoid stimulating activities before bed time: Avoid watching movies and TV before going to sleep as they can release those hormones in body that make you more active and alert. Rather you should do reading before bedtime than watching TV as reading will help in inducing sleep.

Behavioral therapies to induce sleep

  1. Relaxation techniques: Muscle relaxation techniques, yoga and meditation are the best ways to induce sleep. These relaxation techniques will bring a sense of peace to your mind and body. You will start feeling more relaxed and comfortable and it will become easier for you to fall asleep quickly.
  2. Cognitive therapy: If you are preoccupied with a certain thought or thinking too negative, this might be the reason you can’t sleep properly. But a session of cognitive therapy or counseling with a psychiatrist can help you overcome this problem. Cognitive therapies will teach you the ways to get rid of negative thoughts and to think in a more positive or optimistic way. The purpose of these therapies is to distract the insomniac person from the thoughts or fears that are causing insomnia.

Sleep restriction

Limit the time you spend in bed. Go to bed only when you feel drowsy or sleepy. The more time you spend out of bed, the more tired you will be at night.

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Written by: Michal Vilímovský (EN)
Education: Physician
Published: January 20, 2014 at 1:59 AM
Next scheduled update: January 20, 2016 at 1:59 AM
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