The Sleep Diaries: How do People with Sleeping Issues Resolve their Insomnia?
Insomnia is more than an occasional sleepless night. It is a chronic condition where an individual consistently has trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep. Insomnia also includes being unable to get a deep, restorative sleep. Chronic lack of sleep has become a national epidemic. Fatigue costs the economy upwards of 136 billion dollars per year. There are also several serious health problems caused by lack of sleep, many severe. These health issues range from diabetes, obesity, heart disease, depression, and cancer. There's also the toll insomnia takes on the simple enjoyment of life. Spending the day exhausted and with your head in a fog means missing out, even when you're there. But as bad as it seems, insomnia can be beaten.
There is a big difference between a busy day and an active day. Technology and an information-driven society have created a sedentary workplace for many people. These jobs may be hard, stressful, and require long hours, but they don't make our bodies truly tired and ready to shut down for the night.
Being active helps with insomnia. The obvious fix would be hitting the gym, but a dedicated workout regimen isn't necessary. Simple things like parking further away, taking the stairs, or going for walks work fine. Making it a group activity or involving your partner will help make this habit stick.
Most mobile and electronic devices emit blue light, which tells our minds to stay awake. The devices also keep our minds active. There's always something new on social media or another article to read.
Stop using electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime. If the temptation is too much, set the screens to night or dark mode to lessen the problem. Most newer gadgets have a blue light filter that gives the screen a reddish hue, which interferes less with sleep patterns.
Studies have confirmed a link between high levels of screen time and increased levels of anxiety and depression among young kids and adolescents. Here are the benefits and downsides technology can have on sleep: Guide to Better Sleep.
Diet and Drinks
What we eat affects our ability to sleep. Rich foods can lead to digestive discomfort, which keeps us awake. Spicy foods are the same way and can also lead to heartburn. Drinking water is good for us, but don't cram it all in at the end of the day. It's hard to sleep when you need to get up and go to the bathroom a bunch of times.
Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages at a minimum of six hours before bedtime. Alcohol is another enemy good night's rest. It may help people fall asleep initially, but alcohol interferes with the ability to reach and stay in deep and restful sleep.
Work, school, jobs, that one person in the grocery store who walks slow and takes up the whole isle…it can get to us. Life can throw challenges at us from the moment we wake up and all day until we lay back down at night. These daily pressures make it difficult to shut off our minds and rest. It's also impossible to relax when every muscle in the body is tense and knotted.
Cut the stress out of your life when possible. Otherwise, find ways to alleviate stress. Meditate, spend more time on hobbies, or talk to someone. Daily rituals like a quiet room and a warm cup of tea can work wonders.
Break the Cycle
Inadequate sleep leads to bad habits to keep us going during the day. Those bad habits like pounding the many energy drinks or extra coffee and naps then make it harder to fall asleep. Now it's another bad night's sleep, which means we go back to the bad habits to keep us going. Go a few days without relying on these bad habits to get you through the day. It will pay off in the long run.
Where we sleep plays a vital role in how we sleep. A bedroom should be distraction-free and comfortable, not too warm or too cool. Either extreme can negatively impact sleep. The bed should also be comfortable. If you wake up feeling sore or still, you are not getting good sleep. You may need to switch to a memory foam mattress to improve your sleep.
Fighting insomnia doesn't involve following a universal, one size fits all plan. What works for one person may not work for another. Developing an effective treatment consists of experimenting with several options and sleep plans. The best option is finding a way to fall asleep and stay asleep naturally without sedatives. If you have tried every trick you can think of, a visit to your doctor to schedule a sleep study may be in order.
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