Having a sleepless night leaves me cranky and more than just a little off my game but when these minor sleep disruptions turn into chronic insomnia, the lack of sleep can have serious effects on physical and mental health.
Sleep is just as important as a general rest day from the gym and is an essential aspect of the body’s processes of repair and recovery.
Chronic insomnia doesn’t only apply to extreme cases of sleep deprivation, but rather different patterns of disrupted sleep can be classed as chronic insomnia. Although the sleeping disorder usually affects people who don’t sleep at all, chronic insomnia is when the symptoms generally last for prolonged periods, at least three nights a week for a month or longer.
So what causes chronic insomnia?
Our sleep patterns are easily disrupted by many things, from noise to stress or anxiety to physical pan or discomfort. If people become dependent on drugs or alcohol or drink or consume too much caffeine, this can also have a huge affect on sleep patterns. Likewise, over-stimulation of the brain before bed due to mobile phone or other technologies can have a very strong impact on our ability to rest and sleep.
How can you treat chronic insomnia?
First of all, you must speak to your GP. The guidelines above are general research tips and cannot be taken on board as medical advice. As there are so many causes of chronic insomnia, you need to understand as to where your difficulty is stemming from. That way you can begin to treat the root cause as opposed to the symptoms.
Some people will feel better by simply leaving work on time, not discussing work after they finish work, getting to bed early and eating fresh foods and limiting caffeine intake and increasing regular exercise. Some people, however, may further benefit from behavioural therapy, medication (again you must consult your doctor!) and meditation or alternative therapies.
Personally, I find that taking a long bath or shower, lighting some nice scented candles, having a herbal tea, changing my bed sheets and leaving my phone off once I go into the bedroom work wonders.
Do you have any tips to overcome sleeplessness or insomnia?