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help for chronic insomnia

Help For Chronic Insomnia

help for chronic insomnia Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which sufferers have trouble falling asleep, or difficulty staying asleep. It is something that most people experience at least once in their lives. This experience is usually a result of external factors such as stress, anxiety, illness, or environmental factors, such as noise or light. Most people suffer from insomnia during a period of turbulence in their lives, such as moving to a new house, undergoing exams, starting a new job, or the death of a loved one.

Some medications, such as allergy medications and antidepressants, may also cause insomnia by interfering with sleep patterns.

For most people, insomnia is temporary and only lasts for a few days up to a few weeks, often disappearing altogether after this time.

For some people, however, insomnia is something they find themselves living with for much longer periods of time. Chronic insomnia is categorized by sleeplessness occurring at least three nights a week for over a month and is usually caused by emotional or psychological problems. The most common disorders responsible for chronic insomnia are depression, bipolar disorder, chronic stress, PTSD, and ADHD.

Living with a disrupted sleep pattern for longer than a month can negatively impact a person’s day-to-day life, as tiredness and fatigue are common in those suffering from the disorder. These conditions can lead to a lack of productivity, mood swings, problems with concentration or memory, and irritability. Over time this can have a knock-on effect at work, in relationships, and on the general mood and well-being of the sufferer. Although sleeping pills can be a helpful short-term solution for people experiencing short bouts of insomnia, these are not suitable for long term use given the addictive nature of these medications. Identifying causes of sleeplessness and addressing these is often more helpful in tackling chronic insomnia, as can making small changes to your bedtime and daily routine.

  • Decide on a bedtime routine and stick to it. If your sleeping patterns are erratic, it can be useful to set a bedtime that will be consistent. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day will give your body a defined time for sleeping, and staying with this routine can help you to feel appropriately sleepy when you go to bed. Avoiding naps during the day is also essential in making sure you are ready to sleep at night.
  • Avoid blue light. Limiting your screen time shortly before you go to bed can make it far easier to get to sleep. This ease is because the screen such as those on phones and laptops emit blue light, which has a stimulating effect on the brain and can prevent you from feeling drowsy.
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. Avoiding caffeine and nicotine in the evenings can help you fall asleep at night, as these are stimulants and may prevent you from feeling tired if taken too close to bedtime. Alcohol is a depressant, but one that interferes with sleep pattern. It may help you to fall asleep more quickly, but it can also cause you to wake up in the night, and reduces your quality of sleep overall.
  • Make sure to get enough physical exercise. Inactivity can be a big contributor in preventing you from drifting off at night, as you may not be expending enough energy in the day for your body to feel adequately tired at night. If you have a sedentary lifestyle, incorporating regular exercise into your daily routine can be of great help in combating insomnia. However, exercise done directly before bedtime may have a stimulating effect that can keep you awake even longer. Experts advise exercising in the morning or afternoon and holding off for at least three or four hours before going to bed.
  • Avoid food before bed. Eating a heavy meal late at night can make it very difficult to fall asleep. Having your main meal earlier on in the evening and limiting yourself to a small snack nearer bedtime can make drifting off far easier.
  • Relax your mind. Chronic stress and anxiety are two of the biggest causes of chronic insomnia, as sufferers often lie awake worrying and find themselves unable to ‘switch off.’ Taking measures to relax before bed can be extremely helpful, such as taking a bath, listening to music, or reading a book.

Dealing with insomnia can be challenging and frustrating, and can negatively impact your health and happiness over time. This impact is particularly true of people suffering from chronic insomnia, in which this sleeplessness can last long-term. Making changes to your sleep habits, daytime activities and evening routine, can all have a positive impact on your quality of sleep, and on your ability to fall asleep at bedtime.

 

About the Author Robert J. Hudson

Chief editor here at Snore Nation and a proud father of two cool boys. I am a reformed snorer, a reformed smoker, a reformed overeater, a reformed city dweller and a reformed workaholic stress monster on the mission to share my insider tips to restore that quality sleep for you and your partner!

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