What you need to know:
- Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep.
- Insomnia can cause anxiety, tension, and depression. All of these are common symptoms of insomnia because it affects your mental health.
Stress is the number one cause of insomnia. Stress triggers can be as simple as an inability to sleep or anxiety about a job interview. However, insomnia can also be caused by more severe problems such as mental health issues and chronic pain.
The good news is that there are many ways to manage insomnia such as the use of over-the-counter medication and natural remedies like lavender essential oils. In addition, people use supplements and herbal teas to lower levels of stress hormones, which often cause difficulty sleeping.
Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep. Think of insomnia as an onion with many layers. The outermost layer of the onion may be stress caused by a job interview or mental health problems.
The next layer may be pain or other chronic illnesses. Then you have other factors like medication side effects and alcohol use.
There may also be times when you stay up late either because of work, travel, or studies; these can interfere with your sleep cycle.
Types of insomnia:
Chronic insomnia – chronic means long-term and lasts for three months or longer. This type of insomnia is usually related to an ongoing issue, such as chronic pain or mental health problems.
Short-term insomnia – if you have trouble sleeping one night or less than a week and then it goes away, this is called transient. It is usually caused by a change in the weather or taking on too much work at home or school.
Acute insomnia – if insomnia persists for a month, then ends.
Major symptoms of insomnia
- Difficulty falling asleep – with most types of insomnia, you might find yourself lying on your bed for a while. This may last from five minutes or longer.
- Frequent awakenings during the night – you may fall asleep, but be unable to stay asleep. Or you may wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble getting back to sleep. This is called sleep maintenance insomnia.
- Waking up too early – you may find yourself waking up too early in the morning, which means you do not get as much sleep as you should.
Daytime mental and physical fatigue – this is a usual symptom of insomnia. It can cause problems with memory, concentration, or job performance.
You may feel irritable because you do not have the energy to do things. This can lead to relationship difficulties at home or work, especially if your tiredness causes you to snap at loved ones or co-workers.
Insomnia can cause anxiety, tension, and depression. All of these are common symptoms of insomnia because it affects your mental health.
If you have chronic pain, the inability to sleep will make the pain worse. Find a way that works for you so that your quality of life is not affected.
Behavioural treatments are recommended as the first line of defense against sleep disorders. Behavioural techniques can retrain normal sleeping behaviour disrupted by stress and anxiety.
The behavioural process involves creating a personalised plan. Therefore, you will know precisely what actions need changing prior to bedtime. This includes ensuring you do not use your computer a few hours before bedtime, taking a warm bath before sleep, and other actions that promote good sleep hygiene.
Behavioural therapies for insomnia teach your body to link going into bed with sleeping rather than being awake.
Natural remedies such as lavender essential oils and magnesium supplements may help you sleep. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant, and lavender oil has been shown to reduce cortisol levels in the body, which can improve your ability to fall asleep.
Medical treatments – In cases where behavioural therapy does not work, doctors may suggest taking over-the-counter medication to help you fall asleep. But this will only be for the short-term and must always be used under your doctor's direction.
Whether you are struggling to fall asleep, waking up in the night, or experiencing early morning wakeups that affect your body function during your day, insomnia can have a significant impact on your quality of life.
No matter what is preventing you from getting a good shut-eye at night, you can get help. Ready to take control? Act today