Most people require 8 hours of sleep a night in order to
funtion optimally during the day. Of course there are
some people who can thrive on far less, but these people
are few and far between. For the rest of us, 8 hours is
essential–and insomnia, therefore, can wreak havoc on
our waking lives.
Insomnia is generally the inability to drift off to sleep
at the end of a day. People with insomnia may lie awake
bed, their heads swirling with thoughts. Sleep can seem
like a far-off promise that is never realized. Insomnia
can also come in the form of early waking–you may wake
up early in the morning and then be unable to go back to
bed. Both types of insomnia prevent you from getting the
rest you so desperately need.
It’s no surprise that insomnia has significant effects,
ranging from tiredness (of course) to being easily
irritated to lack of physical coordination and the
inability to preform during the day.
The incidence of insomnia seems to increase in elder
folks, especially those over the age of 60. This may be a
side effect of retirement and the change in daily habits,
such as going to bed earlier and waking up earlier in the
morning. People with chronic medical problems have a
tendency to sleep poorly. So do people who have battled
depression or who have anxious or nervous personalities.
Some external factors such as changes in circumstances can
bring on insomnia – pretty much anything anxiety producing
can induce insomnia. Other causes include: noise; hot
weather (when hardly anyone gets a good sleep at night);
any change in your environment (for example when you have
moved house or are on holiday most people will at least
experience strange dreams from being in an unfamiliar
place); medication; and jet lag of course is a common
cause. Luckily most of these things only cause short bouts
of insomnia and most people return to normal in a
relatively short amount of time.
If you suffer from insomnia , make sure you are not
drinking caffeine or alcohol or smoking before bedtime.
Also avoid taking long naps during the day. All these
things can and will affect your ability to sleep well
at night. Also, don’t obsess over your insomnia, which
will only make it worse.
Finally, there are certain steps you can take to increase
your ability to go off to dreamland. Relaxing exercises
can help–meditation is particularly effective. Try taking
a warm bath, and perhaps filling your bathroom with
soothing aromatic candles. Lavender oil is quite calming.
Yoga and deep breathing help to quiet the mind. Warm milk
may also help. If all else fails and you do wind up laying
in bed unable to sleep, simply get up. Do something–
watch TV, read a book, etc. You’ll be much likelier to get
tired doing these things than by staying in bed.