Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is described by difficulty falling and/or staying asleep.
Every year, about 30 to 40% of Americans report experiencing insomnia. Roughly 27 percent of working women suffer from this sleep disorder, compared to 20 percent of working men.
In 2015, American adults spent around $41 billion on sleep remedies and aids. By 2020, the figure is expected to grow to $52 billion.
There are two types of insomnia:
- primary insomnia – it means that a person is having sleep problems that are not directly associated with any other health problem or condition;
- secondary insomnia – the patient has sleep problems because of something else, like – a health condition such as depression, asthma, cancer, arthritis, heartburn as well as due to a medicine being taken, pain, or a substance being used.
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Common symptoms may include:
- waking up too early;
- difficulty falling asleep at night despite being tired;
- unrefreshing sleep;
- waking up during the night;
- daytime fatigue, sleepiness, drowsiness, or irritability;
- not feeling well-rested after a night’s sleep;
- increased errors or accidents;
- problems getting back to sleep when awakened;
- ongoing worries about sleep;
- difficulty focusing on tasks during the day;
- depression or anxiety;
- waking up too early in the morning;
- relying on sleeping pills to fall asleep.
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Common causes of sleep problems include:
- a poor sleeping environment, like – a bedroom with too much light, hot or cold temperatures;
- medical conditions – chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic pain, angina (chest pain which occurs when the heart muscle doesn’t get enough oxygen-rich blood), congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, acid-reflux disease, sleep apnea, depression, asthma, hyperthyroidism (when the thyroid gland produces too much thyroxine), Parkinson’s disease, brain lesions, arthritis, stroke, or tumors;
- stress – stressful life events like illness or the death of a loved one, divorce, or a job loss as well as concerns about school, work, finances, health, or family can keep your mind active at night and increase the chance of sleep problems;
- lifestyle factors – shift work, jet lag, drinking caffeine or alcohol before going to sleep;
- side effects of medicines for conditions ranging from high blood pressure and the common cold to asthma and depression can cause sleep problems.
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Risk factors for insomnia include:
- having a mental disorder;
- women have a higher risk than men;
- being pregnant;
- having – heart-related abnormalities, urinary disorders, ulcers, or arthritis;
- high caffeine intake;
- the use of certain medications;
- childhood fears;
- smoking tobacco;
- working during the night;
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Spiritual Meaning of Insomnia
The act of falling asleep is an act of trust that requires the ability to let go of your activity and control and open yourself to the unknown. Every time you fall asleep, you go through a “minor death”.
Moreover, once asleep, the things that were suppressed during the day spring up in your unconscious during the night.
People who have difficulties falling asleep are not able to free themselves.
Finish your day properly and prepare for the night. Do not think about the day that will come, it will take care of itself.
Simply open yourself to what will come and remember to integrate “darkness” as part of life.
Get Regular Physical Exercise
Aim for daily physical activity. Minimum should include a 90-minute walking.
Note – experts recommend not exercising for 4 hours before the time you go to sleep since it may stimulate you and make it hard to fall asleep.
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According to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, mindfulness meditation can help people with sleep problems by reducing their level of stress.
Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present moment without drifting into concerns about the future or past.
Other goods methods to reduce your stress levels are Tai Chi and Yoga.
Use The Bed Only For Sex And Sleep
Avoid using the bed for eating, watching TV, working, using the smartphone, or any other activities.
Avoid Alcohol, Nicotine, Caffeine
Avoid nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol late in the day (it is best to avoid them completely).
Alcohol interferes with sleep quality and can cause waking in the night.
Nicotine and caffeine are stimulants and can keep you from falling asleep.
Avoid Stressful Situations And Stimulating Activity Before Bedtime
This includes arguments or big discussions with your family or spouse, checking messages on social media, or catching up on work.
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The B-complex vitamins provide essential support for your immune system and are important building blocks in cellular regeneration.
In addition, B vitamins are involved in sleep and mood.
Foods rich in B-complex vitamins include:
- red kidney beans;
- sweet potatoes;
- oat bran;
- bell pepper.
Images credit – Shutterstock & Getty Images
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References https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4469849/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12091782 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3809325