It’s hard to find anything in life that’s more frustrating than an inability to sleep. Not only does insomnia affect your sleep but the lack of rest leads into daytime consequences as well. When you’re the one who’s been tossing and turning all night, insomnia is no laughing matter.
Insomnia is the most common sleeping disorder and it’s said to affect around 1 in 4 people. It’s safe to say that at some stage in our lives, everyone will suffer from a degree of insomnia depending on what is occurring in their life. Aside from being tired, which is bad enough in itself, persistent insomnia can also lead to even more complicated problems and commonly leads to daytime sleepiness, lethargy and a general feeling of being unwell both mentally and physically.
Symptoms of Insomnia
Those who are experiencing insomnia know all too well the symptoms that they experience.
These include, but are not limited to:
- Difficulty falling asleep at night
- Awakening during the night
- Awakening earlier than desired
- Still feeling tired after a night’s sleep
- Daytime fatigue or sleepiness
- Irritability, depression or anxiety
- Poor concentration and focus
- Being uncoordinated, an increase in errors or accidents
- Tension headaches
- Difficulty socializing
- Gastrointestinal symptoms
- Worrying about sleeping.
These are just some of a number of symptoms that you might experience. The symptoms are not designed to provide a diagnosis – for that you’ll need to see a doctor – but they can be used as a guide.
What Causes Insomnia
Insomnia can be temporary but in many individuals it can be long term. However, while Insomnia is often seen as the cause it’s more often a symptom of a more serious health condition like depression, stress, anxiety, sleep apnea or other emotional and mental illnesses.
The good news is that usually, once you find a way to deal with the causes, your sleep pattern will get back to normal.
What are the causes?
Anxiety, stress, and depression
Mental health issues are some of the most common causes of chronic Insomnia and as Insomnia affects your sleep it heightens your emotions and therefore adversely increases anxiety, stress, and depression and worsens the symptoms you may already be suffering from. Other psychological causes include anger, worry, grief, bipolar disorder, and trauma can also be the cause of Insomnia.
If you want to resolve your Insomnia issues you must first understand what might be affecting your emotional and mental wellbeing.
Medical problems or illness.
Medical conditions and diseases can also contribute to insomnia such as Parkinson’s disease, hyperthyroidism, cancer, asthma, allergies and many more.
Many medical conditions and diseases can contribute to insomnia such as:
- Nasal/sinus allergies.
- Gastrointestinal problems such as reflux.
- Endocrine problems such as hyperthyroidism.
- Neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease.
- Chronic pain.
- Low back pain.
Many prescription drugs can interfere with sleep, many of which are given to patients for antidepressants. Types of medication that can cause Insomnia included but not limited to the following:
- Antidepressants such as Prozac and Zoloft
- Dopamine agonists (includes some medications for Parkinson’s disease)
- Psychostimulants and amphetamines.
- Cold medicines and decongestants.
- Beta agonists.
Common over-the-counter culprits include cold and flu medications that contain alcohol, pain relievers that contain caffeine (Midol, Excedrin), diuretics, and slimming pills. Caffeine is a drug in itself so if you’re a big coffee drinker try to avoid drinking in the evening, substitute with decaf or try removing caffeine completely from your diet for a period of time and see if it helps.
Insomnia is itself a sleep disorder, but it can also be a symptom of other sleep disorders, including sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and circadian rhythm disturbances tied to jet lag or late-night shift work.
What To Do When You Can’t Sleep
Maintain Regular Exercise
According to studies, regular exercise works as well as medication for some people to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and the effects can be long lasting. One vigorous exercise session can be enough to help reduce or alleviate symptoms for hours.
By reducing your anxiety and depression you’ll inevitably have a positive affect on your sleep.
Make Sleep-Friendly Lifestyle Changes
So what changes can you make to your lifestyle that can help you reduce insomnia for you.
- Powering down in the evening. The blue light emitted from your smartphone is like a digital form caffeine: It leaves your brain feeling stimulated rather than relaxed and ready for sleep. You should switch off your devices an hour before going to bed or try use night shift mode which blocks light from your phone.
- Showering before going to bed. Warmth is a big key to the body feeling sleeping. Having a show just before you head to bed sends the message to your nervous system that it’s time to relax and slow down, encouraging your body to feel sleepy.
- Using lavendar. Consider taking advantage of aromatherapy to fill your bedroom with aromas that are thought to ease anxiety and promote relaxation, like lavender, spikenard, vetiver, frankincense, myyrh, and clary sage.
- Avoid caffeine in the evenings. For most, this is a no-brainer. Caffeine is a stimulus and can greatly affect your sleep therefore avoiding it and only drinking caffeine in the morning will help you sleep better.
Studies have found that regular meditation can halve the risk of future clinical depression and that it’s affects are just as powerful as antidepressant drugs (without the side effects).
There are many classes, mobile apps and courses that can help you learn to meditate and give your mind some quite relief from the constant demands of our fast paced modern lives.
What To Do If Insomnia Doesn’t Stop
If your insomnia doesn’t stop and basic remedies don’t seem to work then you might need to look at alternate strategies. As we’ve mentioned, emotional and mental illnesses can have a huge affect on your ability to sleep and if they remain uncorrected you’ll continue to suffer from Insomnia.
Here at Brain Wellness Spa we offer an all-natural solution to solving insomnia and emotional and mental illnesses. We have a 98% success rate* in treating insomnia, anxiety, stress and many other mental illnesses you might be struggling with.
So if insomnia is making your life a struggle, why not contact Brain Wellness Spa to see how we can help you.
*Based upon a client self-assessment survey, results may vary from person to person