Sleeping disorders are a serious matter. One in four Americans develops insomnia every year. Insomnia prevents you from sleeping. The disruption affects all areas of your life, from driving your car to performing at school or work. It stems from a variety of sources, including medical problems and environmental factors.
Insomnia is very treatable, and 75% of patients are able to restore their sleep quality. If you’re wondering how to treat insomnia, keep on reading.
What Is Insomnia
Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder. It causes difficulty in falling and staying asleep. Insomnia makes people endure a restless night, resulting in low energy, irritability and decreased performance during the day.
Chronic insomnia disrupts sleep three nights a week or more. It lasts approximately three months, fades away, and then returns. Chronic insomnia is frequently comorbid, which means it’s linked to underlying medical and psychiatric issues. About 10% of people currently have or have experienced chronic insomnia in the past.
Acute insomnia lasts for less than six months. It is related to an identifiable cause, such as stress or a poor sleeping environment. Acute insomnia is also referred to as short-term or stress-related insomnia.
People with insomnia have trouble going to sleep at night. If they fall asleep, many wake during the night and cannot fall back to sleep, insomnia can also make people wake up earlier than planned.
Insomnia is more common in women compared to men. It frequently occurs in adults with children compared to those without. Insomnia is also more likely in people who take daytime naps.
What Causes Insomnia
Insomnia can stem from a variety of sources. Many causes of insomnia are secondary factors, such as an underlying illness or an unhealthy lifestyle. Insomnia may come from psychological, medication, hormonal, or environmental factors.
Psychological Causes of Insomnia
Your mental health plays a key role in allowing your brain to drift off to sleep. Chronic insomnia is frequently caused by psychological problems. The most common culprits of sleep disorders are anxiety, stress, and depression.
Your mind can create a vicious cycle of insomnia. Depression and anxiety make it difficult to fall asleep, but less sleep causes a spike in cortisol levels that increase stress.
Anger, worry, grief, and recent trauma impact our emotions and prevent our minds from drifting to sleep. Insomnia is a common side effect of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Medical Causes of Insomnia
Physical ailments can prevent quality sleep. Medical problems make it hard to rest soundly through the night due to pain, stiffness, and inflammation.
Common medical causes of insomnia include:
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Sleep apnea
- Acid-reflux disease (GERD)
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
During pregnancy, women often report bouts of insomnia due to discomfort and joint pain.
Many medications for physical ailments include insomnia as a side effect. Examples of drugs that cause sleep disruptions include beta-blockers, corticosteroids, SSRI antidepressants, and ACE inhibitors.
Hormonal Causes of Insomnia
Irregular hormone levels negatively impact sleep cycles.
Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland is overactive. The disorder overstimulates the nervous system. Numerous patients with hyperthyroidism report trouble falling asleep and sleep disruptions from night sweats.
Stifled estrogen levels cause 61% of women to experience insomnia bouts during menopause. Many women also report poor sleeping patterns due to estrogen imbalances during menstruation.
Environmental Causes of Insomnia
Your sleeping environment and disruptions to your circadian rhythm commonly cause acute insomnia.
Blue light from your phone, leaving the TV on, and poor mattress quality prevent you from enjoying a sound slumber. Addressing these problems and upgrading your sleeping environment can keep acute insomnia away.
Pay close attention to what you eat and drink before bed. Late-night snacking, especially indulging in high-sugar foods, can energize the body and keep us awake. Alcohol and drug use also play a role in acute insomnia.
Jet lag, changes in your schedule, extreme weather, and high altitudes may interrupt your circadian rhythm and make it difficult to sleep soundly. Fortunately, many of these disruptions disappear as your body adjusts to the changes.
Warning Signs of Insomnia
There are many types of insomnia symptoms to watch out for. Typical warning signs of acute and chronic insomnia include:
- Trouble falling asleep
- Waking up during the night or earlier than intended
- Daytime fatigue and drowsiness
- Irritability and mood swings
- Low job performance
- Difficulty staying awake during the day (such at work or while driving)
- Loss of balance and coordination
- Tension headaches
- Difficulty socializing with others
- Lack of concentration
- Problems with short-term memory
- Gastrointestinal issues (IBS, consideration, and diarrhea)
A good night’s rest is crucial to our health. All areas of our lives suffer when insomnia takes over. Insomnia raises your risk of cardiovascular problems, workplace incidents, and auto accidents.
How to Treat Insomnia
There is not a one-size-fits-all when it comes to insomnia treatments. A combination of working with medical experts and making positive lifestyle changes is the most effective way to restore your sleep.
Talk to Your Doctor or Mental Health Professional
First things first, if you’re suffering from insomnia, consult with the professionals. Your doctor can evaluate your physical health and determine if an underlying medical condition is causing the disorder. Diagnosing and treating the medical problem should also cure chronic insomnia.
If your physical health is a-ok, speak with a mental health professional. Therapists can help you manage depression, stress, or any mental disorders that cause sleep problems.
Fix Your Diet
Incorporate wholesome foods into your diet to keep insomnia away. Avoid caffeine and sugary drinks after 3 pm. Fatty foods, like a greasy cheeseburger, create stomach acid and can cause acid reflux that triggers late-night insomnia.
Drink a glass of milk before bed. Milk is soothing, especially when warmed. If you don’t want milk, a hot cup of chamomile tea can also do the trick to treat insomnia.
Trade sugary snacks with healthy treats, like almonds or pumpkin seeds. Bananas are high in potassium and relax the muscles. Lean proteins like turkey, chicken, and eggs are easy on the stomach and lead to a good night’s rest. The yogurt in calcium produces tryptophan to increase drowsiness.
Enhance Your Sleeping Environment
Small changes to your sleeping environment make a big difference in sleep quality. We’ve all read The Princess and the Pea, right?
The solution to your insomnia may involve your mattress. Upgrade the size, firmness, softness, or mattress material to improve sleep. If night sweats are keeping you up, consider bedding with temperature control. If stiff coils are causing discomfort, try a soft memory foam mattress.
While you’re upgrading your mattress, don’t forget about your pillow. Pillows provide crucial support to your head and neck while you rest. Use a pillow that is the best size, shape, and height so you can enjoy a peaceful slumber.
Once your bed is in order, create an atmosphere that’s perfect for sleeping & also helps treat insomnia.
Use dark curtains to minimize sunlight entering through your windows. Invest in a white noise machine to block out loud neighbors and outside noise. Use a diffuser to disperse calming oils (like lavender, chamomile, and sandalwood) to keep your mind at ease while you sleep.
Many people who live a sedentary lifestyle suffer from sleep disruptions, but regular exercise can help treat insomnia.
Physical activity drains your body and makes for a good night’s rest. If you’re having trouble with insomnia, try hitting the gym in the evening. Afterward, you should find it easier to lay down and get some shut-eye.
Getting into a healthy exercise routine decreases cortisol levels. Less cortisol equals less stress. Physical activity also releases endorphins that enhance our moods and make us feel relaxed.
Establish a Healthy Bedtime Routine
Your bedtime behaviors play a critical role in how you sleep. Positive actions can make you feel sleepy and relaxed.
Keep a consistent sleep schedule. That means getting up at the same time every day and hitting the hay around the same time at night. Your body will get used to the routine and naturally feel drowsy when it’s time for bed.
While you get ready for bed, ease your mind. Listen to soft music, limit brightness on your lamps, and draw the curtains to block out lights. Blue light from your phone can make you feel awake, so turn off electronic devices 30 minutes before you hit the hay.
Try to limit how many fluids you drink before bedtime. If you can’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed. Sit on the couch, read a book, or doodle before trying to sleep again. These little tricks can make bedtime smoother and enhance your slumber.
Purchase Your Next Mattress Online
Sleep problems are common, so it’s imperative to know how to treat insomnia. Making the right changes to enhance your sleeping environment is easy, and our team can help.
The Beloit Mattress Company has been handcrafting mattresses since 1929. Not only do we have high-quality mattresses that keep insomnia away, but we also offer secure online purchasing options.
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