Sleep problems only normally start as we get older. A newborn baby sleeps 16 – 20 hours a day because this is when it bodies develop the fastest. Adults may not need that much time to sleep but getting enough shut eye is still vital for our health. If you cant sleep at night it can cause depression, high blood pressure and even early death. But before you panic and rush off to bed, remember that your doctor can advise you if your lack of sleep is endangering your health.
1. Insomnia is linked with depression
One of the common signs of depression is insomnia or an inability to fall and stay asleep. Sleep is important to restore our body to its normal state. However when we only sleep a few hours it can make us irritable, tense and on edge. A person who is diagnosed with depression, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and panic disorder may worsen their symptoms if they have inadequate amount of sleep. Treating Insomnia and depression simultaneously is the best way to improve their symptoms.
2. Popping pills won’t get you far
A sleeping pill may be effective and immediate way at ending your sleeping problems in the short-term. But all medications have side effects and sleeping pills have plenty of them, plus its effect can wear off when used in the long-term. What is really important to kick insomnia for good is to have a good sleeping habit. Avoid alcohol and caffeine at least 12 hours before going to bed. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time everyday. It’s okay to take 10-20 minutes naps in the afternoon but try not to take them later than 2pm.
3. Kitchen cures or home remedies may or may not work
The latest magical home remedy for insomnia is tart cherry juice. Researchers from Louisiana State University have found out that drinking Montmorency tart cherry juice twice a day for two weeks can increase sleep time by nearly 90 minutes among older adults with insomnia. Other than cherry juice, drinking chamomile tea and bathing in lavender oil are just some of the natural insomnia remedies you can try at home. It may or may not work for some but it won’t hurt to give it a try and see if it’s right for you.
4. Look out for the “three P’s
If you suddenly having trouble falling asleep, there are three factors you have to look out for. The predisposing factors, precipitating cause and the perpetuating cause. Predisposition may not cause the problem on having insomnia but may increase the likelihood of it occurring. This includes having a family history of poor sleepers or being an all time worrier.
Precipitating factors are those that could trigger insomnia, like lifestyle changes, a promotion at work, too much pressure at school and a whole lot more disturbance around your family, at home, health and at work/school.
Perpetuating cause are stressful events, that creates an initial disruption of sleep. Any factors that might exacerbate the problem and heightened anxiety/arousal levels for the development of depression. It may also be a case of behavior and coping strategies, like napping long periods of time during the day and spending too much time in bed.
5. Attention can make it worse
We may have learned in the past that keeping sleep diaries can help you identify the underlying factors of what’s keeping you awake. But Feinsilver advises to ignore it, he is concerned that too much analyzing and the more you think about it the harder it is to fall asleep. The best way to stop worrying is through meditation. In fact a recent study from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago shows that mindfulness meditation appears to be a viable treatment option for adults with chronic insomnia.