Many people suffer from different sleeping problems. Insomnia is defined as loss of sleep or when a person feels difficulty in falling asleep. Insomnia is one of the commonest sleeping problems. If a person tries to sleep, but he is unable to sleep, it is termed as insomnia. People suffering from insomnia do not feel fresh after sleep and may experience other symptoms due to loss of sleep. Insomnia may be divided into two types depending upon the duration of the problems. Acute insomnia is for a short period of time and it happens due to circumstances of life such as students feel anxious before exams and they are not able to sleep, when a person hears some bad news, or when is someone out for late night work or a party. This kind of insomnia disappears soon without taking any kind of medicine.
Chronic insomnia occurs when a person experience loss of sleep for three days or more in a week and it lasts for two months or more. There are different causes of chronic insomnia. Chronic insomnia should be checked and treated properly. It may result in many other health problems if not treated on time. Sleeping time may be different for different people. Some people sleep only for three to four hours in a day and feel refresh. A normal person requires about six to seven hours of sleep. People develop different sleeping habits as per their needs. The most important thing is that a person should feel refresh after sleep. One should not feel sleepy after taking proper sleep.
Causes of insomnia
There are different causes that may result in poor sleep or insufficient sleep. Every person suffering from loss of sleep or difficulty in sleeping may have one or more of the following causes:
- Some people may feel worry of getting up in the morning. They wake up several times during night to see the time. This disturbs sleep and makes them tired and they are not able to wake up with fresh mind and body in the morning. This results in bad sleep at night.
- Poor sleep may also occur due to anxiety of examinations, stress of work, jetlag, strange place, new born baby, etc. If sleep gets disturbed due to these reasons, there is no need to take any medicine as sleep will improve with time. This factors or causes are temporary.
- Poor sleep may also occur due to depression. There is lethargy and poor concentration that can lead to deficiency in sleep.
- Sleep apnoea may occur due to snoring in some people. Snoring reduces the supply of blood to the respiratory organs and this causes a problem in breathing. You may have to wake up at night to take proper breathing.
- Other health problems such as any kind surgery, illness, breathlessness, fever, cough; cramps, indigestion, etc. can also produce loss of sleep.
- People who take certain medications can also interfere with sleep. People who take medicines for chronic problems may suffer difficulty in sleeping. This may occur as a side effect of taking prescription medicines.
- Insomnia may also occur due to excessive use of habit forming substances such as nicotine, coffee, alcohol or any other substance.
Symptoms of insomnia
Insomnia is not a disease but it is a general problem that may occur anytime and may be temporary. But, if insomnia continues for a long period of time, it may result in many other health problems. Some other symptoms associated with insomnia are:
- Tiredness and weakness all over the body is an important symptom of loss of sleep
- Headache may occur due to less sleep
- Irritability is common in people with lack of sleep. A person who suffers from loss of sleep may feel irritable and angry all the time and takes no interest in doing any work.
Natural treatment for insomnia
People suffering from insomnia may also improve lifestyle for getting rid of sleeping problems. One also takes herbal remedies for insomnia which are safe and may be taken regularly to prevent insomnia. Some useful tips to prevent insomnia are:
- Melatonin is a natural hormone that regulates sleep pattern. One may take melatonin supplements to improve sleep. It helps in balancing the hormones.
- Another important way of improving sleep is to do meditation. Meditation helps to promote sleep. Meditation reduces the stress hormone and also helps in memory improvement. Many people do regular meditation for memory improvement and to reduce stress.
- Light exposure is an excellent therapy to get good sleep at night. Exposure to more light increases the production of melatonin and helps you to get better sleep at night. You may take a walk outdoors for half an hour in the morning.
- People suffering from insomnia should reduce intake of coffee and tea especially at night before going to sleep. It may cause restlessness and insomnia.
- Yoga is also an excellent way to improve sleep. Relaxation and breathing exercises stimulate mind and body and help to balance the hormones. Yoga exercise improves the quality of sleep naturally.
- Excessive sugar can also cause disruption in sleep. People with insomnia should reduce the intake of sugar.
- Foods such as banana, whole grain crackers, wheat germ are good for enhancing sleep.
- Magnesium rich foods such as green leafy vegetables, almonds, cashew nuts, brewer’s yeast can also help in improving sleep patterns.
- Avoid alcohol intake and smoking before going to bed. It should be avoided at least four hours before going to sleep.
- Eat your meals about two hours before going to sleep. Proper food digestion is also necessary to get proper sleep. Do not eat heavy meals at night.
- Do not perform any heavy exercise about four hours before bedtime. Try to exercise in the morning or in the evening about three to four before sleeping time.
- Do not take a nap in the daytime. This can affect your sleep at night. Go to your bed only when you feel sleepy. Switch off the light immediately when you go to your bed. Your bedroom should be relaxing. You can also use a book for reading to get sleep. Take a bath before sleep to stimulate good sleep.