Insomnia, a common sleep disorder, affects millions worldwide, leading to restless nights and groggy mornings. In this blog we’ll explore what insomnia is, its root causes, and effective ways to combat this sleep thief.
Insomnia refers to the inability to fall asleep, stay asleep, or achieve restorative sleep, leading to daytime fatigue and reduced productivity. It can be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term), disrupting one’s overall well-being.
What Causes Insomnia?
- Stress and Anxiety: Persistent worries and racing thoughts can keep the mind active, hindering sleep. Dr. Annise Wilson, a Baylor College of Medicine sleep expert, explains that “people who are stressed think excessively about responsibilities such as work, family, and finances. For teens and young adults in school, this stress often focuses on exams and other important assignments.”
- Lifestyle Habits: Poor sleep hygiene, irregular sleep schedules, and excessive caffeine or alcohol consumption contribute to insomnia. “While alcohol can help make you sleepy, it will wear off as you sleep and most likely disrupt sleep, which is why I would limit or avoid it,” Sheila Tsai, MD says.
- Medical Conditions: Chronic pain, respiratory issues, and hormonal imbalances can disrupt sleep patterns. Additionally, arthritis, back pain, asthma, gastrointestinal problems, allergies, endocrine problems, and neurological conditions can lead to insomnia.
- Medications: Certain medications can interfere with sleep, leading to temporary or chronic insomnia. Good Rx provides good information on the top 9 medications that contribute to the inability to get a good night’s rest. Read more here.
Way to Help with Insomnia
- Establish a Sleep Routine: Stick to a consistent sleep-wake schedule, even on weekends, to regulate your body’s internal clock.
- Create a Relaxing Bedtime Ritual: Engage in calming activities before bed, such as reading or taking a warm bath, to signal your body that it’s time to wind down.
- Manage Stress: Practice relaxation techniques like medication, deep breathing, or yoga to alleviate anxiety and stress.
- Evaluate Your Sleep Environment: Ensure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet to promote a restful sleep environment.
- Limit Screen Time: Avoid electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime, as the blue light can disrupt your body’s production of sleep-inducing hormones.
- Watch Your Diet: Limit caffeine and heavy meals close to bedtime, and consider a light, sleep-friendly snack if hunger keeps you awake.
- Exercise Regularly: Engaging in physical activity during the day can improve sleep quality but avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime.
- Avoid Naps: Limit daytime naps, especially in the late afternoon, as they may interfere with your ability to fall asleep at night.
- Limit Bedtime Clock-Watching: Constantly checking the clock can increase stress and anxiety about not sleeping.
- Consider Professional Help: If insomnia persists despite lifestyle changes, consult a healthcare professional or sleep specialist.
Insomnia is a frustrating and common sleep disorder that affects many individuals, impacting their physical and mental well-being. Understanding the root cause of insomnia allows us to take proactive steps to improve our sleep quality. By implementing healthy sleep habits, managing stress, and creating a calming sleep environment, we can enhance our chances of getting the restful sleep we deserve. Remember, getting a good night’s sleep is vital for overall health and productivity, so prioritize your sleep and bid farewell to sleepless nights.
American Online Benefits Group offers health plans that give access to healthcare professionals that can assist those suffering from insomnia. Contact our Member Services Team today at 214-389-9072 for more information.