Insomnia, its Effects, and Lifestyle Tips for More Sleep
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that prevents a person from getting to sleep, staying asleep, or getting quality sleep. It is a form of sleep deprivation and can be caused by a number of things. Insomnia effects can include problems with a person’s mental, physical, emotional, and cognitive health.
Symptoms and Signs of Insomnia
Insomnia symptoms generally present as fatigue, inability to sleep, waking up too early and not being able to go back to sleep, and restlessness during the night. However, you may notice other things besides physical inability to sleep. You may notice that you have trouble focusing, your ability to problem solve decreases, or you are more irritable or moody than usual. If you have these symptoms, and feel you’re suffering from sleep deprivation, it may benefit you to talk to a health care provider.
Effects of Insomnia
The main types of insomnia are acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term). Both of these types of insomnia can have serious effects on health. Effects of insomnia in the short term include fatigue, irritability, increased susceptibility to illness, and impaired cognitive function. Insomnia effects
in the long term include significantly compromised immune system, decreased cognitive ability, increased risk for depressive disorders, and physical exhaustion. Insomnia depression can be caused by too little sleep over a long period. Studies have shown that lifestyle changes such as exercise and a healthy diet can decrease the chance or intensity of insomnia depression.
Tips for More, and Better, Sleep
While there are many suggested ways to cure insomnia, no one way works for everyone. Before you can use these tips, it’s important to identify what the causes of your insomnia may be. You can do this by keeping a sleep journal, making note of the number of caffeinated or alcoholic beverages you regularly consume, identifying behaviors that may disrupt a natural sleep schedule like napping or staying up very late, and keeping track of the amount of screen time you have before bed. Creating healthy habits like only drinking caffeine in the morning, taking only short naps, if any, and taking a break from screens before bed to wind down, can help your body stay on a regular sleep schedule.
Here are some more natural insomnia cures and tips that you may find helpful.
1) Try using natural sleep aids like melatonin, kava kava, valerian, or chamomile tea. These herbal, natural sleep aids can come in capsules (melatonin) or be teas (the others). They work by increasing the body’s amount of natural relaxing hormones or relaxing the nervous system.
2) Exercise. Exercise has been proven to promote the release of endorphins with fight off stress and enhance mood. It also physically tires you out, so you’re more ready for bed. Additionally, as exercise helps you get better sleep, the sleep will give you more energy to exercise. It’s a great cycle! Exercise is one of the best natural insomnia cures, and is great for overall health, too.
3) Minimize screen time before bed. More and more studies show that working on a laptop, gaming, or even participating in social media networks can stimulate the brain, which is exactly what you don’t want to do before bed. Give yourself 30-60 minutes of “no screen time” before bed to help your mind relax, be in the moment, and slow down before bed.