Sleeping disorder (Insomnia) is a situation whereby you have difficulty falling asleep or sleeping well at night. As per an ongoing report by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, one out of four Americans develops insomnia every year. Fortunately, about 75% of these people recover without developing persistent insomnia, while the other 25% progress to acute insomnia. Due do the recent pandemic which warrants a total lockdown on the individual household, and this makes some people experience sleeping problems.
People over 60 are more prone to sleep disturbances than young people. Women also have sleep problems twice as often as men. There are a few potential reasons for a sleeping disorder, including:
- Emotional pressure,
- Heart failure,
- Stomach ache,
- Circadian rhythm disturbances such as jet lag or night shifts,
- Sleep apnea,
- Some medications,
- Caffeine and
- Excessive alcohol consumption.
Sleeping problem is painful, tiring, and frustrating. Some people turn to either prescription or over-the-counter sleeping pills that can help improve sleep while you take them. But insomnia usually returns as soon as it is stopped because the drugs don’t treat the basic reasons for sleep deprivation.
Melatonin is a characteristic sleep hormone that is sold as an enhancement. It is useful for occasional sleep disorders and jet lag. People who report that melatonin isn’t working often make the mistake of taking too high a dose of several grams. Very often, 300 mcg is adequate. Continuously start with the reduced portion before expanding the dose. It is also helpful to get timed-release melatonin because it helps you sleep longer. However, melatonin does not address the underlying causes of insomnia.
An effective approach to insomnia is to improve sleep hygiene and change lifestyle along with cognitive behavioural therapy. Dozens of studies have shown that this strategy is extremely useful in the treatment of insomnia. We will look at these methods in more detail below.
Changes in sleep hygiene and lifestyle
Habits to promote sleep
The objective is to assist you to fall asleep more effectively, wake up less frequently and for shorter periods and fall asleep more easily.
- Regular wake-up time: Set an alarm and get out of bed at about the same time every day, no matter how little or bad you have slept. Don’t try to fall asleep on the weekends as this will disrupt your body’s daily rhythm.
- Reduce time in bed: Don’t go to bed early because you didn’t sleep well the night before. This will make insomnia worse. Determine the first possible bedtime from the moment you want to wake up and subtract the time you want to stay in bed. Bedtime is the average time to sleep plus 1 hour and can vary from at least six hours to a limit of nine hours. On the off chance that you rest on normal five hours or less around evening time in the bed ought to be six hours. In the event that you sleep for 8 hours, bedtime ought to be nine hours. As it were, your time in bed ought to be exactly the amount of sleep you sleep on average per night. The aim is to prevent the bed from becoming an alert indication rather than an asleep indication. It is very difficult for sleepless people who are already exhausted to stay awake until bedtime. Try light activity and don’t go to bed. If you sleep better and longer, you can postpone before going to bed.
- Relax gradually in the hour before going to bed by engaging in relaxing activities. Avoid stimulating activities such as phone calls, emotional discussions, work activities, surfing the Internet, paying bills, or unpleasant television programs.
- If you need to take a nap after a bad night’s sleep, limit the nap to 45 minutes and take it no later than 16:00.
Stimulus control methods
The aim is to help insomnia, to unlearn the connection between bed and insomnia.
- Use the bed only for sleeping and having sex: Don’t watch TV, work, study, play video games, or make calls. If you fall asleep while reading a book or watching TV, set a timer to turn off the lights or TV after 30 minutes.
- In the event that you can’t sleep within 30 minutes, or if you wake up at night and can’t fall asleep within that time, get up, go to another room or sit in bed and practice a calm and relaxing activity like reading a book or watching the TV until you feel sleepy. Don’t lie on the bed and turn around.
Lifestyle factors that can improve your sleeping problem
- Take part in some form of daily physical activity. In addition to going to the gym, you can also include activities such as washing the car, mowing the lawn with a mobile lawnmower, raking leaves, climbing stairs, cycling, going uphill, etc. These activities can be divided into several shorter sessions, but they should last at least 30 minutes a day. However, it is best not to train for up to 3 hours before bedtime.
- Get some exposure to sunlight during the day. If you work at home, go out during the coffee break or the lunch break. This will help regulate melatonin (sleep hormone) production and improve sleep. It will also improve mood and energy.
- Drinking 1-2 cups of coffee promptly toward the beginning of the day is unlikely to affect night’s sleep. However, if you don’t sleep well, avoid caffeine after noon.
- If you smoke and can’t quit, try quitting smoking just before going to bed or at night. Nicotine is a stimulant and it becomes more difficult to fall asleep and fall asleep.
- If you drink alcohol, limit yourself to a drink at least 2 hours before bedtime. Nightcap is not a remedy for sleep deprivation. Liquor makes it simpler to fall asleep, however it can make sleep easier and more fragmented. It also suppresses deep sleep and aggravates snoring and sleep apnea.
Food & Sleep connection
- Foods high in complex carbohydrates (e.g. beans, peas, brown rice, oats, quinoa) have a mild sleep-promoting effect because they increase serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain that promotes sleep.
- Protein-rich foods inhibit sleep by blocking serotonin.
- Try a light snack with carbohydrates before going to bed to help you fall asleep easier and wake up less at night.
- Avoid foods with a high sugar content as they can cause an increase in energy.
- Avoid foods that can cause heartburn or indigestion.
- Avoid late dinners.
- Studies have shown that a lack of B vitamins can affect sleep. Thinking about taking a B-complex supplement in the event that you feel that your diet does not contain nutrients.
Creating an optimal sleeping condition.
- Room temperature can significantly affect sleep. A sleeping disorder is related to a drop in body temperature before bedtime. So, if you sleep in a warm room, it will be even more difficult to lower your body temperature. The optimal sleep temperature is between 60 and 67-degrees Fahrenheit (or 16-19 degrees Celsius).
- Keep the bedroom completely dark and calm. In general, insomnia is more sensitive to noise. Older people who sleep more easily due to ageing are also more prone to noise-related sleep disturbances.
- Some people are more sensitive to electromagnetic fields (EMF) than others. In this case, the removal of electronic devices from the bedroom can reduce the stimulation caused by electromagnetic fields.
- Make sure your bed is comfortable and provides sufficient support. Relaxed beds can disturb sleep causing neck and back problems, while overly rigid mattresses can cause discomfort in people with arthritis.
Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy for insomnia (CBT-I)
CBT-I aims to treat chronic sleep problems by changing the thoughts and behaviours that cause or worsen sleep problems through habits that promote healthy sleep.
Upsetting the life events are the most widely recognized trigger factors of chronic insomnia. Most sleepless people and even some sleepers find it difficult to sleep on stressful days. Studies have documented that increased daily stress is related to reduced deep sleep, which leads to easier and more restless sleep.
Fortunately, we all have an innate tool that can overcome these stress reactions. It’s called Relaxation Response (RR), which, in a nutshell, uses the mind to control the body.
How to induce the Relaxation Response (RR)
- Lie down or sit comfortably. Relax all the muscles of the whole body, starting from head to toe or vice versa.
- Breathe slowly and deeply into the stomach.
- Turn your attention from everyday thoughts to a neutral word like calm, peace, relaxation, heaviness, or whatever you choose. Repeat the word silently. Or you can think of a pleasant and relaxing scene like a beach, a mountain, a lawn or, swimming on a cloud.
- When your thoughts wander or negative thoughts arrive, literally say “no thoughts” a few times. So, go back to your word or scene and take a deep breath.
- Practice RR every day, both in the morning and in the afternoon. Allow 10-20 minutes for the RR. If you fall asleep, that’s fine. However, do not practice RR 1-2 hours before bedtime, as this can affect sleep.
- If you can manage the RR better during the day, you can try using it at night or after waking up at night. On the off chance that you don’t sleep within 30 minutes. Get up or sit on the bed and do light activity. Don’t lie on the bed and turn around.
- Be realistic and patient. Some sleepless people take a few weeks to improve sleep.
The reason why RR improves sleep
- When practised during the day, it counteracts the daily response to stress and reduces the probability that stress hormones increase at night.
- When practised before going to bed or after waking up, it helps to deactivate internal dialogue, calm the mind, and relax the body.
- RR creates a brain wave pattern similar to stage 1 sleep, the transition between wakefulness and sleep. When sleepless people practice RR at night, it is easier to switch to level 1 sleep and finally to level 2, deep sleep and dream sleep.
How to overcome the negative soliloquy
To conclude, negative thoughts during the day or before bedtime play an important role in stimulating alertness and the development of insomnia. Some negative thoughts and emotions are normal reactions to stressful situations, such as B. Pain after death. However, some negative emotions like worries, fears, frustrations, and anger are unnecessary, excessive, and unhealthy. They activate stress reactions that influence sleep. It is, therefore, useful to eliminate or restructure these negative thoughts that cause more stress.
- Become more aware of the negative inner dialogue. Capture yourself or better, write, and check them at the end of the day.
- Realize that most of these thoughts are not true or overly negative and pessimistic.
- Think about past experiences and ask yourself, “Has something like this happened to me in the past, and, if so, how did it end?” No doubt we will in general concern excessively and things rarely go wrong as we imagined.
- Change your negative thoughts and focus on positive beliefs.
- Don’t generalize a problem for life. Treat the impediments as temporary.
- Abstain from reprimanding yourself for things outside your ability to control.
- Avoid refusing positive events such as temporary or fortunately or external reasons.
- Practice gratitude every day.
- Look for optimists and avoid pessimists. Both optimism and pessimism are contagious.
Hopefully, by incorporating healthy sleep hygiene and lifestyle changes and cognitive behavioural therapy, we can say goodnight to insomnia!