Many of us experience an occasional sleepless night. But we worry when we persistently experience difficulty to fall asleep or difficulty to stay asleep or both. This persistent sleep disorder is more commonly known as insomnia and the people suffering from insomnia are known as insomniacs.
Let me share with you some interesting information about insomnia taken from Internet reports and from the book titled How to Get A Great Night’s Sleep by H. Vafi, M.D. and Pamela Vafi.
- Do you know that the most common causes of insomnia are depression, anxiety, anger and chemical dependency;
- Do you know that insomnia varies in how long it lasts and how often it occurs. Sometimes there are periods of time in between insomnia when an insomniac has no sleep problem;
- Do you know that when the insomnia lasts from one night to a few weeks, it is called acute insomnia but when the insomnia occurs at least three nights a week for a month or longer it is called chronic insomnia;
- Do you know that insomnia can occur at any age but it is more common in the elderly, usually older than 60. Insomnia increases with age;
- Do you know that people working late night shifts have higher risk of acquiring insomnia;
- Do you know that women are much more likely to experience insomnia. Probably the hormonal shifts during the menstrual cycle and during menopause may play a role. Insomnia is also common during pregnancy;
- Do you know that people with mental health disorder (like depression, bipolar disorder) are good candidates of insomnia;
- Do you know that people suffering from chronic pain like arthritis have great risk for insomnia;
- Do you know that the more prescription drugs we take, the greater the risk of insomnia caused by medication;
- Do you know that jet lag caused by travelling across multiple time zones can cause insomnia;
- Do you know that taking caffeine and alcohol make it harder to sleep;
- Do you know that taking a nap after 3 p.m. makes it harder to fall asleep at night;
- Do you know that taking daily exercise at least 20 minutes at least three to four hours before bed time – will help promote a good night sleep;
- Do you know that it is good sleep practice to get out of bed if you cannot sleep (for at least 20 minutes). Instead, doing something relaxing like reading will be a good sleep habit;
- Do you know that it is not good sleep practice to read or eat in bed. Also, we should avoid TV, computers, video games, smart phones, or other screens just before bed, as the light can interfere with our sleep cycle;
- Do you know that aside from difficulty in falling asleep, there are other symptoms of insomnia like: “Waking up often during the night and having trouble going back to sleep; waking up too early in the morning; and feeling tired upon waking.”
- Do you know that aside from arthritis, there are other health conditions that trigger insomnia like asthma, depression, cancer or heartburn;
- Do you know that some of the causes of acute insomnia are:“Significant life stress like job loss or death of a loved one; illness;emotional or physical discomfort; some medications (like for treatment of colds, allergies, depression, high blood pressure and asthma) may interfere with sleep, too;
- Do you know that caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that can keep us from falling asleep. Alcohol also can cause waking in the night;
- Do you know that it is not good sleep hygiene to eat a heavy meal late in the day but a light snack before bedtime may help us sleep;
- Do you know that insomniacs feel unrefreshed because they cannot sleep – affecting our mood, health, work performance and our level of energy.
Finally, insomnia affects us mentally and physically. Our work performance deteriorates and we develop slower reaction time while driving which may trigger accidents. We get more irritable and we are more susceptible to develop depression or an anxiety disorder as well as increase our risk to develop more severe diseases or condition like heart disease and diabetes.
Have a joyful day!
(For comments/reactions please send to Ms. Villafuerte’s email: [email protected])