Everyone has the occasional night where they toss and turn, trying to doze off, but sleep just won’t come. For some, however, this problem happens more nights that not. Everything in their lives suffers, simply because they cannot get the sleep that their bodies need to function. In most cases, those with insomnia are left wondering why their bodies won’t allow them to rest and what they can do to prevent this from happening, night after night.
What causes insomnia?
Insomnia is generally a side effect of another physical or mental issue that is plaguing the sufferer. There are a number of conditions that can cause insomnia or similar sleep issues. By determining the exact root of your insomnia issues, you are more likely to be able to beat the problem and find the help that you need.
Depression and anxiety – Anxiety and depression are among the most common causes of insomnia. This can turn into a vicious cycle, because the lack of sleep and adequate rest can exacerbate both anxiety and depression.
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Hormonal issues – In women, normal monthly hormonal fluctuations, hormonal imbalances caused by women’s health issues, and menopause are often the cause of insomnia.
Stress and personal issues – When dealing with stressful situations or major life changes, the situations can cause people to lose sleep, lying in bed trying to solve their problem or worrying about the issues.
Underlying medical conditions – Certain medical conditions can cause insomnia as a symptom, or the pain and discomfort from a medical problem can cause a loss of sleep.
Defeating insomnia and getting the rest you need
In order to deal with insomnia effectively, you must treat the illness, issue, or underlying disease that is causing the insomnia. Until this is properly dealt with, there are some treatments that can help to treat the symptoms, but the issue itself will not disappear. In instances of acute insomnia, as a problem passes or a short term health problem ends, the resulting insomnia should end and sleep patterns should return to normal. For chronic insomnia, be sure to schedule an appointment with your physician to determine what may be causing the problem. The root cause of the insomnia must be treated in order to have long term relief from the issue.
While waiting for diagnosis and treatment, here are a few tips that might help you to get a bit more sleep and fight the monster that is insomnia:
* Sleeping pills can be used, but should be used very sparingly. Many people have developed serious dependencies to these medications, resulting in an ongoing need for them in order to fall asleep.
* Develop a sleep routine for yourself. Engaging in relaxing activities in preparation for heading to sleep can help you train your body to relax and sleep in a shorter period of time. This is a tactic often used by parents with children, but is forgotten as we grow older.
* Avoid stimulants close to bedtime. Caffeine is often a culprit when people have a hard time sleeping. Check medications to see if they have side effects of sleeplessness and change your dosing schedule, if necessary.
* White noise is often helpful for those who have a hard time relaxing. There are CDs and white noise machines that are available for purchase, while some find sounds such as a fan or air conditioner to be relaxing.
* If you cannot fall asleep within a half hour of lying down, get up for a half hour and try again later. Your bed should only be used for sleeping and other appropriate bedroom activities.
* Avoid long naps, particularly within a few hours of bedtime. If you need rest, a short catnap will be enough to get you through, without throwing off your sleep routine.
* Even when you have not slept well, get out of bed at a normal time. By sleeping in, you will wreak more havoc on your sleep schedule and potentially cause yourself another sleepless night.
While insomnia can be a serious problem, there is usually a solution that will result in you getting a good night’s sleep once again. Consult with your doctor if your insomnia becomes chronic and try to discover the underlying causes and treat them. It may take time to find a long-term answer to your sleep issues, but your mind and body will be healthier once you are able to get a good night’s sleep.