Insomnia & How To Improve It
Sleep is an essential biological function. Sleep deprivation, or a lack of sleep, can ruin your life. When we sleep, our brain clears neural pathways of stress hormones and toxins built up during the day. That’s the reason why we wake up feeling refreshed after a good night’s sleep.
Unfortunately, that information isn’t helping you right now. You glance over at your clock to notice that it’s 3-o’clock in the morning, another restless night with next to no sleep in sight. Three days in a row and you haven’t managed to get a minute of rest. You spend every night tossing and turning, unable to shut off your mind and drift off to dreamland. How can you carry on living like this? If you’re wondering what’s wrong with you, you have a case of insomnia.
What Causes Insomnia
Physiological and neurological issues create insomnia in people. Stress is the primary culprit in most cases. Auto-immune disorders like “adrenal fatigue” create a hormonal balance in the blood between adrenaline and cortisol.
In this state, your body is experiencing a constant “fight or flight” scenario that keeps your mind working, preventing you from falling asleep. The fight-or-flight response is hard-wired into our system, it’s a primal response to danger and elevates stress so we can survive an attack.
Unfortunately, being under constant stress from your job, family life, or social circle can trigger the fight-or-flight response. The result is the inability to fall asleep, also known as “insomnia.”
What is Insomnia?
Insomniacs describe their condition as a feeling where they don’t know whether they are awake or asleep at night. It’s typical for people who have insomnia to spend all night tossing and turning, without ever dropping off to sleep.
Insomnia is a sleeping disorder where the brain cannot slow its function into the beta-wave state were sleep takes over the mind. Instead, the individual suffering from the disorder experiences a mental state where they feel like they’re about to fall asleep, only to find that they end up thinking about a problem or issue in their life.
How to Treat Insomnia
Treatment for insomnia varies from person to person depending on the symptoms and underlying causes of the condition. Visit your doctor for a diagnosis, and advice on treating your sleepless nights. Your physician’s first action is to give you a good night’s sleep. They may prescribe sleeping drugs or over-the-counter sleep aids to assist you in falling asleep.
It’s vital that you work on finding out the cause of your insomnia. A blood test checks for hormone imbalance. However, you need to audit your lifestyle for any attributing factors to your condition. Your diet, lifestyle habits, and exercise all play a part in managing your stress levels.
After you’ve visited the doctor, it’s time to take charge of the situation for yourself. We put together 5-tips to help you lift the curse of this terrible sleep disorder. Review each of them and ask yourself where you think you can improve.
5 Tips to Improve and Manage Insomnia
What Are You Eating?
Our diet plays a central role in managing our health. If you overeat junk food and drink sugary beverages, swap them out for healthier options. Avoid drinking energy drinks and stick to one or maximum two coffees during the day. Habits like cigarette smoking increase blood pressure and the chances of developing insomnia.
How is Your Health?
Do you exercise? You don’t need a gym membership to keep your body healthy. A walk around the block at a moderate every day is sufficient to relieve daily stress. If you want to take it to the next level, try joining a Tai Chi or Yoga class. These activities teach you to stretch and breathe, which help calm your mind and relieve your body of accumulated toxins.
Is Your Work Environment Toxic?
Is your boss driving you mad? Do you work with people you don’t like? Spending all day in an office around toxic individuals will cause your mental health to decline. Learn to say no to people and don’t be hard on yourself.
What Do You Do with Your Downtime?
Reading a book or watching your favorite show helps you relax in the evening after a long day at the office. Talk to friends or phone a family member if you’re feeling stressed.
Optimize Your Sleep Environment
We spend one-third of our life asleep. Therefore, it makes sense to invest in a good bed, supportive pillows and quality linens. Turn off your cell phone before you go to bed to ensure notifications don’t disturb your rest.
Buy a set of noise-canceling earphones if you live in a busy city, and consider investing in some black-out blinds or a sleeping mask. A dark room will keep your mind from thinking its daylight outside.