Phrases such as: “I have trouble sleeping, it takes me too long”, “I wake up in the middle of the night and then I can’t fall asleep again” or “I’m very tired because I didn’t sleep well last night.” are commonly attributed to insomnia.
In addition to the fact that sleeping gives us a lot of pleasure and satisfaction, it is one of the basic functions of our body. Normally, a third of the day is dedicated to sleep, that’s why sleep is of great importance. Sleeping well allows us to recover from the physical and mental exhaustion of each day. However, when we have sleep problems, our state of mood, physical and cognition can be affected negatively due to insomnia.
Everyone at some point in life could suffer from “transitory insomnia” (when it lasts less than three months) due to different events: change of schedules in the region, substance abuse, stressful situation in some areas of life, etc. but it usually disappears when the “stressful” experiences expire or are eliminated. In addition, one could suffer insomnia due to hormonal or metabolic diseases such as headache and thyroid or some mental issues like depression or bipolarity.
To talk about insomnia as a pathology, two important aspects must be taken into account:
- The extension in time and its negative effect on daily life. That is, if the problem in falling asleep persists at least three times a week for at least three months.
- When it affects different relevant areas of the life of that person in a serious and negative way; at work, social relationships etc.
There are some signals that can detect insufficient sleep, such as: Changes in mood, irritability, fatigue, low performance in the activities of daily life and challenges in concentrating or applying focus.
What is NOT recommended to tackle insomnia?
People who are unable to fall asleep force themselves to fall asleep, try to relax or keep lying in bed until they do. But what happens is just the opposite, it’s precisely this effort to sleep that makes it difficult to fall asleep. As a result, the person probably associates the bed with a negative experience of not being able to sleep and being awake.
Sleep is something that should come naturally, without any effort and when we let ourselves be carried away due to the physical and mental fatigue of the day.
What can we do to deal with insomnia?
- Avoid naps
- Avoid ingesting stimulant drinks before going to bed, such as caffeine
- Have a good diet
- Practice sports, as long as it is not practiced before going to sleep
- Nicotine: has a stimulating effect, so it is not advisable to smoke hours before falling asleep
- Try to keep the room at a good temperature and free of noise.
- Cell phones or other devices can will make it difficult to sleep if used before bedtime
Whatever your case, it is possible to overcome insomnia and stop suffering because of it. It is advisable to contact a health professional so that they can help you and evaluate those factors that might be affecting your sleep.