There can be nothing more relaxing than a peaceful night’s sleep after a long, tiring, and hectic day at work. But, can you imagine how terrible it could be to stay up through the night? Now try and multiple it with several nights, weeks, and months together! It is not merely a feeling of restlessness, it is Insomnia!

Insomnia, in medical terms, is a ‘disorder categorized by the inability to sleep or a complete lack of sleep’. Globally, people suffering from Insomnia find it difficult to fall asleep. Any individual struggling to fall asleep with a repeated occurrence of more than thrice a week is likely to be suffering from “chronic insomnia”. 

With a global prevalence of 20-30%, Insomnia is broadly unfamiliar and undertreated for most. There are a wide range of reasons for insomnia, from the reason being as simple as drinking too much caffeine throughout the day, to something more intricate as a fundamental medical illness.

 Common Symptoms of Insomnia

  1. Having trouble falling asleep, despite being tired or exhausted

  2. Waking up frequently through the night

  3. Drowsiness or sleepiness during the day

  4. Anxiety in falling back asleep, after waking up during the night

  5. Impulsiveness, aggression, and mood swings

  6. Constant sadness or nervousness

  7. Lack of memory and concentration

  8. Feeling unrefreshed, tired, and sleepy

  9. Heavy and constant reliance on sleeping pills 

Causes of Insomnia

  1. Mental stress and depression: Anxieties revolving around school, college, work, job loss, family, and finances. Traumatic events like the death of a near one may also result in insomnia.

  2. Hormones: Hormonal changes during menstruation

  3. Hyperthyroidism

  4. Psychological concerns: Depression, anxiety, psychotic disorders, or bipolar disorder

  5. Medications for high blood pressure/asthma 

  6. Constant intake and addiction to high doses of caffeine or alcohol: Caffeine is a stimulant that keeps you awake through the day and during the night. Nicotine found in tobacco is a common stimulant that usually interferes with sleep cycles. Although alcohol can may you feel dizzy and sleepy, the internal discomfort it causes might result in disturbed sleep.

  7. Poor eating and sleeping habits: Eating snacks just before bedtime can result in a backflow of both food and acid from the stomach to the esophagus. This could result in some serious discomfort and interfere with your sleep. Also, working on laptops and watching TV or playing video games late into the night can disturb sleep cycles. 

Prevention Tips

  1. Think positive and live positive: Elimination of negative thoughts and worries from the mind will bring in more space for an optimistic mindset. This will also help you worry less and sleep better.

  2. Do not eat heavy meals, smoke tobacco, or drink coffee or alcohol, very close to your bedtime.

  3. Have a fixed time to sleep and to wake up. Practicing this on a daily basis will help you sleep better, rest well, and stay healthy.

  4. Follow a healthy lifestyle: Eat a nutritious diet, exercise daily and reduce stress and worries. 

  5. Take a warm bath, listen to soft music, or read positive and motivational books, before you go to sleep. Following a soothing before-bedtime custom can help you fall asleep faster and help you sleep deeper.

Insomnia is not a disorder that can be treated overnight. Following the above preventive tips will help you adapt to a lifestyle, that will eventually treat the disorder and help you sleep better. Reach out to a professional in case you notice disturbed sleep patterns for prolonged periods.