Insomnia And How To Prevent It
By: Archan Mehta
Do you suffer from insomnia?
Insomnia is about difficulty initiating or/and maintaining sleep. In adults, insomnia is the most common sleep complaint. Approximately, one in ten adults have a long-term problem. Moreover, women are affected twice as often as men, but there is no gender difference prior to pubert, according to experts.
The causes of insomnia are multiple.
Often, insomnia is a result of hormonal changes–for example, during menopause. In fact, any condition that results in chronic pain can cause insomnia. Restless legs syndrome and bladder problems can also cause insomnia. Alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine and late-night eating can also cause insomnia. Depression, anxiety and work or domestic factors, such as babies, discord or shift work may be involved as well. Early morning wakening i.e. waking up at 4 a.m.–and being unable to get back to sleep–is a classic symptom of insomnia.
Initial insomnia and broken sleep can be a sign of stress and anxiety. Inability to go to sleep at all may signify a period of mania, as in bipolar affective disorder. Those who indulge in recreational cocaine and alcohol binges are likely to find it hard to "come down" and often report sleep problems.
So, what's the solution?
It goes without saying that a healthy diet, moderation and exercise are a must. Also, avoid eating large amounts at night or eating spicy foods. Avoid caffeine culprits, such as chocolate, cola and tea before bedtime as they are stimulating.. Being overweight can affect sleep, so address this as well. Use your bed only for sleep and not for eating or TV. Make sure the temperature and noise levels are optimum. Hide the bedroom clock, or you'll watch and hear it tick-tock throughout the night. If you can't sleep after thirty minutes, get up and do something else, preferably relaxing and in dim lights.
It is vital to stick to a schedule, so avoid taking naps, if possible. In addition, cognitive-behavioural therapy can help by changing negative thoughts about sleep, so relaxation therapy is beneficial. The role of acupuncture and hypnosis can also play a role, although they have not been fully verified.
By contrast, melatonin is the naturally occuring hormone that regulates our sleep pattern and is also the jet-lag hormone. It can regulate short-term insomnia and is available to the over-fifty fives on prescription in the U.K. In the States, it can be bought over the counter. In Australia, you can get it over the counter or on prescription. However, it would be wise to talk to your physician, since over-the-counter brands may not be fully therapeutic.
Furthermore, foods like milk which contain tryptophan are sleep-inducing. Other sources are bananas, poultry and honey. This helps to explain why we tend to snooze after Sunday lunch.
Does this resonate with your experience? What steps did you take to cope with insomnia? Please share your ideas in the comments. Thanks for your patronage.