Insomnia is a sleep dysfunction that represents deficiency of adequate sleep, on an ongoing basis. Insomnia may occur as difficulties falling sleep or problems remaining asleep.
Insomnia may affect men or women of any age, however, is most common in women and older persons. After age 60, natural output of melatonin declines. Melatonin is a bodily hormone which makes it possible for normal sleep.
Insomnia is most often a symptom of some other problem. The underlying problem may be physical, psychological, conduct or environmental in nature. Examples are: stress and anxiety, uncomfortable temperatures, noises, hormone shifts, caffeine or stimulants, despression symptoms, alterations in work shifts, sleep apnea or pain discomfort. Also, ending the use of sleeping capsules may require an adjustment phase to return to normal sleep habits.
In most instances, a several all natural, healthy improvements will minimize sleeping disorders. As best as possible, identify the reason behind sleep disturbances.
Not surprisingly, always look initially at diet and exercise habits. Healthy nourishing food, consumed several hours before bedtime, is essential. Avoid caffeine after the evening meal. Daily exercise not only tones the muscles and improves circulation, but will help relieve stress. Lack of physical exercise is the greatest cause of sleep problems.
Prepare for bed in a peaceful and calming atmosphere. For some this can be more challenging, as for a night worker is attempting to go to sleep when the rest of the family is getting up. Explain to the family that they need to be considerate, and then put in some ear plugs.
Make the environment comfortable before climbing into bed. If the room is too bright, darken with blinds or try wearing a sleeping mask. If room is too hot or cold, adjust air flow or blankets, etc. If room is too noisy, try to reduce noise, or try addition of white noise. Many people like the low background hum of an electrical fan, or special ocean waves sound track, etc., which drowns out other noises. The same white noise can be helpful if the room is just too quiet. Again, make the sleeping environment comfortable.
Go to bed. That sounds overly simple, but it does occur. Some people stay up too late, and do not allow enough hours for full rest, and are over tired. Then they feel even further pressured to fall asleep quickly. Prepare for bed a little earlier.
Incorporate relaxation techniques into your schedule. Stretches, breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, or even reading can be used to relax and relieve tension. Once in bed, practice systematically releasing all muscle tension. Start with relaxing the toes and slowly work up the body, include the face and top of the head. Let each muscle relax and let go.
If there was insufficient physical exercise earlier in the day, and sleep is elusive, here is a handy trick. While in bed, lie on your side, then tighten the abdominal muscles and the buttocks and all leg muscles, as tight as possible. Hold muscles tight, and continue breathing, through the slow count of 25. Release. Repeat. Release. Then just dose off, sweet and easy.
If there are problems with depression, or anxiety, take a realistic look at those causes. If there are recurring or racing thoughts, try some methods to deal with them before bed. Life or work problems may require a large portion of your attention, but not ALL of it. Allot certain time periods to focus on your worries, and then allocate time off for relaxation and sleep. Besides, you will function better, and make better decisions later, with proper sleep.
In addition, the improved healthy diet, exercise and relaxation routines will also help alleviate depression or anxiety symptoms. If emotional problems continue, address your issues directly. Talk them out with a trusted friend. Write out a logical plan. Identify what you can control, and what you cannot control. But if severe depression or anxiety continues for more than a few weeks, seek professional guidance.
Not every person needs the very same amount of sleep. Typically eight hours of sleep is adequate for many people, however, some people need more and others require less. With appropriate lifestyle changes, healthy sleep patterns should return within two or three weeks. Seek professional medical care if needed.