Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by difficulty in falling and staying asleep. There are two type of insomnia – primary and secondary insomnia. In primary insomnia, the affected person have sleeping problems that are not caused by other health problems while secondary insomnia is a sleep problem caused by some underlying health conditions such as arthritis, asthma, cancer, depression, heartburn as well as using certain medications and alcohol consumption.
Symptoms of insomnia
- Waking up during the night and difficulty in going back to sleep.
- Getting up early in the morning
- Difficulty in falling asleep
- Feeling tired when waking up in the morning
- Problems with memory concentration
- Sleepiness during the day
Causes of insomnia
- Emotional or physical discomfort
- Stress in life such as losing a job, change in job, death of a loved one, moving out and divorce.
- Interruption of the normal sleeping schedule such as jet lag, changing from a day to night shift.
- Taking medications for allergies, cold, high blood pressure, asthma and depression can cause interruption in sleep.
- Chronic stress
- Pain and discomfort at night
- Environmental factors such as light, noise and extremely hot or cold temperatures can cause interruption of sleep
- Performing some exercises can help in promoting a good sleep during night. It is recommended to engage in vigorous exercises at least for 20 to 30 minutes every day at 5-6 hours before going to bed at night.
- Seek medical help regarding medications that are being taken that might be causing the insomnia.
- Limit taking naps for more than 30 minutes and avoid taking naps after 3 pm.
- Avoid and limit the intake of alcohol and caffeine since these make it hard to sleep. In addition, avoid drinking caffeine after lunchtime.
- Stick to a sleeping schedule in order to keep the bedtime and waking time consistent every day.
- Avoid eating large meals and beverages before going to bed, eat light snacks and avoid eating too much in the evening in order to minimize the chance of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
- Minimize drinking liquids before bedtime in order to avoid frequent urination that causes interruption in sleeping.
- Avoid work, reading magazine or books, eating in bed and also watching TV, computers, cellphones or other screens before going to bed in order to avoid the lights that cause interruption with the sleep cycle.
- Make the bedroom comfortable for sleeping. Create a subtle background sound like running a fan. Keep the temperature of bedroom comfortable by making it cooler as well as a dark atmosphere.
- If there is difficulty falling asleep, get out of the bed after 20 minutes and do something relaxing such as reading a book and then try again to sleep.