Insomnia is a sleep disorder that can be either short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic). When a person has insomnia, they find it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep, or get quality sleep. Not getting enough sleep can seriously affect a person’s mental, emotional, and physical health. Here, we will discuss some of the effects of insomnia on a person’s overall health as well as some tips for treating insomnia. Keep in mind that in cases of severe and chronic insomnia, it may be best to consult a health care provider to find the best insomnia solutions for you.
Effects of Insomnia
You know how it is when you don’t get enough sleep for a few days in a row. You likely feel exhausted, irritable, and foggy. Well, people who suffer from insomnia can feel that in addition to other serious health issues. Lack of sleep has been linked with disorders ranging from heart disease and stroke to diabetes. Mentally, a lack of sleep can impair focus, attention, and problem solving skills. This makes it difficult to function in school or work and can cause you to make mistakes. In addition to this, it is estimated that fatigue is the cause of over 100,000 car crashes a year in the United States. The effects of insomnia reach far beyond just feelings of fatigue; there are mental, emotional, physical, and cognitive effects as well.
There are many things you can do at home to aid in treating insomnia. First, you need to identify where your insomnia is rooted. Are you up all night because you drink coffee every afternoon? Do you take naps during the day? Do you use your computer right before you fall asleep? All of these things have been shown to contribute to sleeplessness. If you’re not sure why you’re unable to sleep at night, and have ruled out sleep disorders, medication side effects, and corresponding illnesses, it may help if you keep a sleep journal to document things you do in the evening to pinpoint behaviors that may contribute to restlessness.
Here are some things you can do to promote a healthy sleep schedule:
1) Avoid eating late meals. Eating late at night may give you heartburn and keep you awake.
2) Limit your intake of caffeine and stimulants. Caffeine stimulates your neurons and can increase your levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. These increased levels can cause your heart rate to increase, even for hours after consumption.
3) Avoid napping. By staying awake during the day, you can regulate your sleep cycle. If you do need to nap, try to keep it under 30 minutes and try not to nap late in the day.
5) Develop a bedtime routine that doesn’t involve using screens. It’s been found that screen time, which includes TV, cell phone use, and playing video games, can stimulate our neurons and do the opposite of prepare us for sleep. Take 30 minutes before bed to relax without a screen, take a warm shower, or read.
Insomnia can be a very challenging issue to deal with. However, with the insomnia solutions offered here, hopefully you’ll be getting more sleep in no time.