SLEEP DISORDERS: INSOMNIA
If you’re suffering from insomnia, it may feel like you’re at your wits end with no solution in sight. However, it can be helpful to educate yourself on the sleep disorder you’re experiencing in order to better understand the next steps to take. In this article, we’ll cover what the types of insomnia are, the common symptoms to look out for, and different methods to try to cure it.
WHAT IS INSOMNIA?
Insomnia is the inability to sleep, or habitual sleeplessness. It’s one of the most common sleep disorders in the world, with many individuals having experienced it. If you have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or even sleeping at all, then it’s likely you’ve experienced some form of insomnia.
There are a handful of different types of insomnia. The two most frequently referred to are acute insomnia and chronic insomnia. Both are determined based on time. Acute insomnia is more short-term and often occurs due to life circumstances. For example, if you’re stressed at work or receive some bad news, you may experience acute insomnia. This can last anywhere from a few nights all the way up to a few weeks. It often goes away on its own with no treatment necessary to resolve the issue.
Beyond that, chronic insomnia is a much more long-term disorder. Typically, you’ll experience nights of disrupted sleep multiple nights per week, lasting for well over a month. It can be caused by major life changes, environmental changes, generally unhealthy habits, or even by another medical disorder you may have. However, with so many different factors in play, it can be difficult to determine a cause and effect relationship. If you think you have chronic insomnia, it may be time to take some more serious action.
DO I REALLY HAVE INSOMNIA?
It can be challenging to understand whether you’re truly experiencing something more long-term, or if it’s a simple few nights of sleeplessness that will pass on its own. So how do you determine whether or not you need treatment for insomnia? The first step is to assess your symptoms, as well as the duration of your experience. Some question you can ask yourself are:
- Am I waking up gasping for air or having trouble breathing?
- Can I fall asleep within a reasonable amount of time?
- How many nights per week do I have trouble falling asleep or experience disrupted sleep?
- How many hours of sleep do I get each night?
- Do I frequently experience sleepiness throughout the day?
Common symptoms that can be indicative of insomnia include general fatigue, low energy, difficulty concentrating, mood disturbances, and decreased performance, such as at work or school. If you’ve experience multiple nights of sleeplessness for over a month, it may be a good idea to seek advice from your doctor. While it can be difficult to properly diagnose insomnia, they will likely provide you with suggestions to improve your sleep. Some doctors may even suggest medication if they deem it necessary. However, it’s a good idea to explore natural solutions first if you haven’t already.
HOW CAN I CURE MY INSOMNIA?
There’s a wide variety of suggestions online for how you can cure insomnia, but what really works? It can be challenging to find a be-all-end-all solution, with many people experiencing symptoms regularly throughout their lives. Our recommendation to cure insomnia is to first pursue a natural lifestyle change before attempting any other sort of treatment. Educate yourself on how to achieve good sleep, keeping in mind that it comes from creating balance in all facets of your life.
This means incorporating things like dietary changes to opt for healthier food, more exercise, and a calming nightly bedtime routine. You can also work on improving your sleep environment to encourage better rest. Products we recommend include this lavender-infused pillow, a comfy mattress topper, or even consider a new mattress as a whole. Whatever you decide, try to stick to your new lifestyle as well as you can for at least a few weeks. This will allow enough time for you to assess whether or not your insomnia will resolve itself.
Another route to take is trying a melatonin supplement. It’s a naturally-occurring hormone in your brain that signals that it’s time to sleep. Available in many drugstores, melatonin supplements usually used for curing jet lag or aiding those on shift work, and not typically recommended for insomnia. However, you can attempt to reset your internal body clock by taking a single dose each night at the same time. If your insomnia persists beyond that, stop taking it and explore a different solution.
As a last resort, you may need to look into prescribed medication from your doctor. It’s not an ideal long-term solution, but may assist in getting you back to regular sleep schedule.
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Sleep is a critical aspect of feeling like your best self, and we know the difficulties that lie in lack of sleep. While there is no universal solution to cure insomnia, it can help to understand the symptoms you’re experiencing. Talk to one of our sleep experts today to learn more about our recommendations for a well-balanced lifestyle that will encourage better sleep.