Updated: May 27
There is nothing better than being able to start your day full of energy and rested. However, many people have to deal with the effects of insomnia. It is estimated that 30-40% of adults in the United States suffer from insomnia. Sometimes, it is just an acute episode due to a stressful event. However, for others, not sleeping adequately is a longtime nightmare.
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What is insomnia?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder where people have problems falling asleep, staying asleep or both. It can last 1 night to a few weeks (acute insomnia) or it can last more than a month (chronic Insomnia). It is also divided into Primary insomnia and Secondary insomnia. Primary insomnia is when it is not caused by any other health condition. On the other hand, Secondary insomnia refers to problems to sleep due to other health problems, like depression, sleep apnea, heartburn, or cancer. It also can be secondary to pain, medications, or substance use.
The most common causes of insomnia are:
Eating too much before sleep
Poor sleep habits
Several easy ways might help you improve the quality of your sleep.
What you consume can affect your sleep. Avoid eating large meals at least two hours before going to bed. It is beneficial to avoid energy drinks, coffee, and alcohol, as well.
Drinking warm milk has been used as a remedy for many years. It is believed that its effects on the brain are related to serotonin, a hormone that helps with sleep.
Many people think that exercise is only to lose weight. They don’t know that exercise can improve their sleep. But be aware that when you exercise, your energy will boost, so try to avoid it during the two hours before going to sleep. And remember to apply safety measures when exercising to avoid injuries.
When you go to bed you need to relax, so your body can transition more easily to sleep. There are many ways that people can use to calm down. For example, take a warm bath, listen to relaxation music, or use aromatic candles (one of my favorites). You can try reading a book or practicing meditation. Also, you can decrease your levels of anxiety by placing your clock away from you.
Creating the best environment to sleep in is very important. When you prepare an environment to sleep, your brain receives the message and starts preparing to do so. For example, try to sleep in a place that is quiet with little to no light and with the appropriate temperature (between 65 and 72 degrees). You can block the light with dark curtains or wear a sleeping mask. If you still need light to go to the bathroom during the night, you can use a light dimmer (I love its convenience). Avoid having a TV in your bedroom. When you are in bed, avoid staying on your phone or tablet, which keeps your brain active; what you need is to turn yourself into “sleeping mode”. And finally, try to sleep comfortably; wearing the appropriate clothes and sleeping in a comfortable bed and pillow.
If you have tried home remedies and nothing works, talk to your primary care provider. You might be having an underlying medical condition that is causing your insomnia. And remember, stay healthy and stay tuned for the next topic.
1. Natural Sleep Aids: Home Remedies to Help You Sleep. John Hopkins Medicine. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/natural-sleep-aids-home-remedies-to-help-you-sleep Accessed on January 16, 2022.
2. Remedies for Insomnia. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/remedies-for-insomnia Accessed on January 16, 2022.
3. Insomnia. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355173 Accessed on January 16, 2022.
4. 8 Remedies for Insomnia. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sleep/insomnia-home-remedies#outlook Accessed on January 16, 2022.
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