Insomnia

 

Most adults have experienced insomnia or sleeplessness at some point in their lives. An estimated 30% to 50% of the U.S. population is affected by insomnia, and 10% have chronic insomnia.

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder. People with insomnia have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. As a result, they sleep very little or the quality of their sleep is poor. A person with this condition does not feel rested upon awakening.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM IV-TR) says that “the essential feature of Primary Insomnia is a complaint of difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep or a nonrestorative sleep that lasts for at least 1 month and causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.”

Experts in this area recommend that people suffering from insomnia should consider examining their behavior and emotional state carefully, since emotional problems like stress, anxiety, and depression are the cause of many cases of insomnia. Daily habits, routines, and physical health can also play a significant role.

It is important to identify the possible causes of your insomnia. Once you find out, you can incorporate a treatment or intervention that may help you sleep better.

The following questions will help you get a better idea of ​​what may be causing your insomnia. A “yes” answer to any question below could indicate a contributing factor.

Are you under a lot of stress?

Are you depressed? Do you feel hopeless?

Do you struggle with feelings of anxiety or nervousness?

Have you recently experienced a traumatic event or a crisis?

Are you taking medications that could be affecting your sleep?

Do you have a health problem that can interfere with your sleep?

Is your bedroom noisy and uncomfortable?

Do you go to bed and get up at different times every day?

Do you consume caffeine during the day?

Do you smoke before going to bed?

Do you drink plenty of fluids before bedtime?

Do you take naps during the day?

Additionally, there is no doubt that acquiring new habits, such as the following, may help you sleep better.

1. Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and cool. Noise, light, and heat can interfere with sleep. Try using earplugs to avoid hearing noises. If possible, have an open window or a fan to keep the room cool. Dark curtains or an eye mask to block the light can also help.

2. Keep a regular sleep schedule. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends. Get up at the usual time in the morning, even when you are tired. This will help you have a regular sleep pattern.

3. Avoid naps. Napping during the day can make it difficult to sleep at night. If you feel you must take a nap, limit it to about 15 or 20 minutes and make sure it is before 3 pm.

4. Avoid rigorous and stressful physical activities before bedtime. This includes vigorous exercise, arguments, watching TV, or the use of computers or video games.

5. Limit caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. Do not drink caffeine for at least 8 to 9 hours before bedtime. Avoid drinking alcohol at night. Although alcohol might make you feel sleepy, it will undoubtedly interfere with the quality of sleep. Stop smoking; nicotine is a stimulant.

There are behavioral and psychological interventions that can produce significant changes and which may eventually help you sleep better. Contact your doctor or a mental health professional if insomnia has become a serious problem in your life.

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