This one is for my dear friend and for all of you out there struggling with insomnia.
What Is Insomnia?
Insomnia is the persistent problem falling asleep and/or staying asleep.
Symptoms Of Insomnia
Insomnia is usually self-diagnosable.
Symptoms are difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
Types Of Insomnia
Insomnia affects people in different ways. Short-term Insomnia happens over a brief period of time where as Chronic Insomnia could last for three months or more.
For some, the problem is falling asleep, while for others, the problem is staying asleep. And for some, it's a combination of both.
Causes Of Insomnia
1. Stress: The body's response to physical and mental stress contributes to hyperarousal which disrupts the sleep cycle.
The inability to fall or stay asleep could itself become a source of stress, making it a lot harder to break the cycle of stress and insomnia.
In other words, stress leads to insomnia which leads to staying awake, which leads to stress and anxiety, which leads to insomnia...
2. Irregular Sleep Schedule: The body has something known as the Circadian Rhythm which is otherwise known as the internal clock and it follows the daily day and night pattern.
In simpler terms, it kind of tells the body when to sleep and when to be awake.
However, irregular sleep patterns, or jetlag could cause a disrupt in the Circadian Rhythm which could lead to insomnia.
In some cases, the Circadian Rhythm shifts forward or backwards without a clear cause. This results in difficulties in sleep timing and quality.
3. Lifestyle Habits: Habits like napping late into the afternoon, working late, using electronic devices late into the evening, sleeping longer to make up for lost sleep can confuse the body's internal clock and lead to difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep.
Using the bed for activities other than sleeping can create a mental connection of the bed and staying awake, which is why it's advisable not to play games, read and so on, on the bed.
Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that can negatively affect sleep. Alcohol can worsen sleep by disturbing sleep cycle and causing fragmented, non-restorative sleep.
Heavy meals and spicy food, especially when taken in the evening, can be hard on the digestive process and can disrupt the sleeping process.
4. Mental Health Disorders: Anxiety, depression, bipolar disorders and the likes frequently give rise to sleeping problems we they can incite pervasive negative thoughts and mental hyperarousal which disturbs sleep.
Insomnia on the other hand can exacerbate mood and anxiety disorders, which only makes the symptoms worse and could lead to suicidal thoughts in someone suffering from depression.
5. Medication: Insomnia can be a side effect of medication. Blood pressure drugs, antidepressants, and so on, can cause daytime drowsiness that can throw off a person's sleep schedule.
Effects Of Insomnia
Anxiety, depression, paranoia and suicidal thoughts
Microsleep during the day which could result in fatal accidents.
Heart attack and stroke
Weight gain, diabetes and obesity
Treatment For Insomnia
1. Improve sleeping habits.
2. Behavior therapy.
3. Identify and treat underlying causes of insomnia.
4. Medications (as prescribed)
Things You SHOULD NOT Say With Someone Suffering From Insomnia
1. Have you tried melatonin?
2. You just have to calm your mind at bed time.
3. Make up for it during the weekend.
4. You look so tired.
5. Maybe stop drinking coffee.
6. What causes your insomnia?
7. Are you sure you didn't get any sleep at all?
8. Warm milk usually puts me right out.
9. If you fall asleep now, you could get x hours of sleep.
10. Not getting enough sleep is bad for your health.
How To Help A Friend With Insomnia
1. Encourage them to create a journal of sleep habits to uncover the cause of the insomnia.
2. Be a support system and be there for them when they want to talk or when they are feeling down.
3. Help them establish a routine.
4. Help them find ways to reduce stress.
5. Encourage them to seek medical advice and treatment. (Encourage, not force)
I hope this helps you all. Remember, if you ever want to talk, you can always reach me on the account Steph_AnnieL as I am usually online there.
Steph cares about you and your mental health. Never hesitate to reach me there or via email email@example.com
Always remember that you are amazing and Steph loves you.