Insomnia is a condition characterized by difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. It includes wide range of sleep disorders, from lack of quantity of sleep to lack of quality of sleep.
3 TYPES OF INSOMNIA:
* Transient insomnia – occurs when symptoms last from a few days to a few weeks.
* Acute or short-term insomnia – is when symptoms last for several weeks.
* Chronic insomnia – is characterized by insomnia that lasts for months and years.
COMMON CAUSES OF INSOMNIA:
Stress. Concerns about work, school, health or family can keep your mind active at night, making it difficult to sleep. Stressful life events, such as the death or illness of a loved one, divorce or a job loss, may lead to insomnia.
Anxiety. Everyday anxieties as well as more-serious anxiety disorders may disrupt your asleep.
Depression. You might either sleep too much or have trouble sleeping if you’re depressed. This may be due to chemical imbalances in your brain or because worries that accompany depression may keep you from relaxing enough to fall asleep.
Caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. Coffee, tea, cola and other caffeine-containing drinks are well-known stimulants. Drinking coffee in the late afternoon and later can keep you from falling asleep at night. Nicotine in tobacco products is another stimulant that can cause insomnia.
Medical conditions. If you have chronic pain, breathing difficulties or a need to urinate frequently, you might develop insomnia.
Change in your environment or work schedule. Travel or working a late or early shift can disrupt your body’s circadian rhythms, making it difficult to sleep.
Poor sleep habits. Habits that help promote good sleep are called sleep hygiene.
Eating too much late in the evening. Having a light snack before bedtime is OK, but eating too much may cause you to feel physically uncomfortable while lying down, making it difficult to get to sleep.
COMMON PHYSICAL REMEDIES:
* See a Doctor
* Take a Warm Bath – It’s a great way to relax your body. Don’t overdo it, however. You merely want to relax your body, not exhaust it. Too long in hot water and your body is drained of vitality.
* Get a Massage – Have your spouse (or whoever) give you a massage just before going to sleep. If you can convince them to give you a full body massage, great. If not, even a short backrub and/or a face and scalp massage can be a big help. Have them make the massage strokes slow, gentle, yet firm, to work the tension out of your muscles and soothe you to sleep.
* Listen to Music or Other Audio – Play some soft, soothing music that will lull you to sleep. There are many CDs designed for that very purpose. Some are specially composed music, others simply have sounds of waves rhythmically breaking, or the steady pattern of a heartbeat. Some will lead you to sleep with a combination of music, voice and other soothing sounds.
* Eat little and often – Rather than large meals with gaps in between, aim for six mini meals a day.
* Eat Early – Avoid eating your evening meal any later than three hours before bed, as this will optimise your blood sugar and melatonin levels.
COMMON DIET FOR PREVENTING INSOMNIA:
* AVOID COFFEE – Avoiding caffeine for one day, on the other hand, can improve sleep quality that night, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Nursing.
* DRINK PLENTY OF WATER – Aim to drink around six to eight glasses of water a day.
* REFRAIN SALTS – Processed foods such as ready meals and even many breads and soups contain a lot of sodium, which can interrupt sleep by raising your blood pressure and dehydrating you.
* AVOID FATS – Research suggests people who have fatty meals in the evening clock fewer hours of total sleep than those who don’t, so stick to lean meat and plenty of veg.
* HAVE A CARB-RICH DINNER – A recent study at The University of Sydney, Australia, found that people who ate rice before bedtime fell asleep faster than those who didn’t as rice is rich in sugars, which increase production of tryptophan, the amino acid that makes you sleepy.
* HAVE A BANANA – ideally in the second half of the day. This sleep wonder fruit is packed with potassium and magnesium, nutrients that double as natural muscle relaxants. Plus, they contain the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan, which ultimately turns into serotonin and melatonin in the brain. Serotonin is a natural chemical that promotes relaxation, while melatonin is the hormone that promotes sleepiness.