Insomnia - what causes it and how to treat it
Insomnia, also known as sleeplessness, is a sleep disorder in which people have trouble sleeping. They may have difficulty falling asleep, or staying asleep. Insomnia is typically followed by daytime sleepiness, low energy, irritability, and a depressed mood. But how do you treat insomnia and improve your life at the same time? This Coda Health Tips blog has been written to help you to find a way to treating insomnia for good!
Firstly, check if you actually have insomnia. Below is a check-list of symptoms, if you have any of these then you can be pretty sure that you are suffering because that what happens when you have insomnia, you really do suffer in your everyday life - both mentally and physically.
You have insomnia if you regularly:
Wake up several times a night
Find it hard to go to sleep
Lie awake at night
Wake up early and can’t go back to sleep
Still feel tired after waking upFind it hard to nap during the day even though you’re tired
Feel tired and irritable during the day
Find it difficult to concentrate during the day because you’re tired
With insomnia, you can have these symptoms for weeks, months, sometimes years. It’s a really debilitating health issue to deal with.
How much sleep you need:
Everyone needs different amounts of sleep in order to function and operate normally.
- Adults need 7-9 hours
- Children (under 16) need 9-13 hours
- Toddlers and babies need 12-17 hours
What causes insomnia?
The most common causes of sleeplessness are the following:
- Stress, anxiety or depression
- A room that’s too hot or cold
- Uncomfortable beds
- Alcohol, caffeine or nicotine
- Recreational drugs like cocaine or ecstasy
- Jet lag
- Shift work
- Illnesses can also cause insomnia
How you can treat insomnia yourself?
The good news is that you can treat insomnia yourself by changing your sleeping habits and following these dos and don’ts:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day - only go to bed when you feel tired
- Relax at least 1 hour before bed - for example, take a bath or read a book
- Make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet - use thick curtains, blinds, an eye mask or ear plugs if necessary
- Exercise regularly during the day
- Make sure your mattress, pillows and covers are comfortable
- Smoke or drink, tea or coffee at least 6 hours before going to bed.
- Eat a big meal late at night
- Exercise at least 4 hours before bed
- Watch television or use devices right before going to bed - the bright light makes you more awake
- Nap during the day
- Drive when you feel sleepy
- Sleep in after a bad night’s sleep - tick to your regular sleeping hours instead
See a GP if:
- Changing your sleeping habits hasn’t worked
- You’ve had trouble sleeping for months
- Your insomnia is affecting your daily life in a way that makes it hard for you to cope
Treatment from a GP
Your GP will try to find out what’s causing your insomnia so you get the right treatment. You could be referred to a therapist (cognitive behavioural therapy) to help you change the thoughts and behaviours that keep you from sleeping.
GPs now very rarely prescribe sleeping pills to treat insomnia as they can have serious side effects and you can become dependent on them.
Whatever your situation, don’t worry, there is a way out of insomnia even if it doesn’t feel like it at the moment!
We hope you found this blog useful. Please share with others that you know might be suffering with insomnia and look out for more Coda Health Tips on our website and through social media. We would also love to hear your stories too of how you have overcome insomnia, so please feel free to let the world know what has worked for you so it can help others in their battle with sleeplessness.
The Coda Team.