A good night's sleep is vital to maintaining proper health, yet many of us struggle with getting the rest we need. There are many sleep disorders that prevent us from sleeping as much as our bodies need, but one of the most common ones is insomnia. Let's take a look at some insomnia symptoms and causes, and what we can do to get sleep at night.
Insomnia is a disorder that prevents you from either falling asleep at night or staying asleep once you manage to drift off. There are two types of insomnia, chronic and acute. Acute insomnia can be the result of some change in your sleep habits, such as shift work or multi-time zone traveling that results in jet lag, and other factors such as high stress levels or other significant events in your life.
Chronic insomnia can be the result of depression or pain that prevents you from falling or staying asleep. Chronic insomnia usually lasts months or even years, and can be devastating to your productivity and even your overall health.
Because sleep requirements differ from individual to individual, insomnia is hard to put a real number on. Generally speaking, a person is said to have insomnia if they're not getting enough sleep to make them feel rested and refreshed in the morning. There is no set number of hours a person needs to sleep, but adults are said to require somewhere between 7 and 9 hours to get maximum benefits from sleep.
Some of the things you can do to help your insomnia are simple and just common sense. Drinking anything with caffeine in it too close to bed time will keep you jittery and awake. If you drink a cup of coffee after dinner, half of the caffeine is still in your system 5 to 6 hours later. And be careful of where caffeine hides, like in chocolate and some diet sodas.
Another thing that can keep you awake is exercising too close to the time you turn in for the night. Exercise awakens your body and raises your temperature, which could make it difficult to fall asleep. If you're exercising at night and also having trouble sleeping, try adjusting your workout schedule to earlier in the day.
To ensure a proper night's rest, make your sleep area as conducive to sleep as possible. Darken the room completely and remove all sources of stimulation, such as a television or radio that could keep you awake. Keeping the room cool is a good idea, and you could use earplugs to block outside noise if necessary.
Avoid alcohol too close to bed time. While it might be true that alcohol can help you fall asleep faster, it's very difficult to remain asleep with alcohol in your system. Also, try to stick to a set schedule for bed time. This will prepare your body and mind for sleep and help avoid insomnia.
If you have tried to relieve your insomnia with some of the ways listed above but have been unsuccessful, it might be time to seek the advice of your health care provider. A good night's sleep is vital to maintain proper health.