How to fight Insomnia: Causes and Effects of Insomnia

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How to Fight Insomnia Causes and Effects of Insomnia

In this post we are going to talk about the importance of having good sleep hygiene, and how harmful it can be to suffer from a frequent sleep disorder, such as insomnia.

“Rest properly is essential for good physical and mental health.”

What is insomnia?

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder, and is characterized by difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, or enjoying quality sleep.

Short-term insomnia can be caused by stress or changes in our schedules or environment, and can last from several days to weeks. When we suffer from insomnia 3 or more times a week for more than 3 months, it is considered a chronic sleep disorder.

Insomnia is common in a third of the population, 30%. Most cases of insomnia have an acute onset and this usually coincides with stressful situations. Still, if we do not take good care of our sleep and are unaware of the signs, this effect can become a chronic situation in 60% of people’s cases. 

Although it is true, it must be clear that each person needs different hours of sleep, and it is very difficult to clarify the exact amount of sleep that a person needs to consider that they have positive sleep hygiene.

Depending on age, body composition, lifestyle, illness and diet, sleep time varies. For example, a newborn baby is known to sleep approximately sixteen, seventeen hours of sleep; while a middle-aged adult needs to sleep approximately 7 or 8 hours. These statements, in general terms, vary depending on the person.

In fact, the time spent sleeping in the REM phase decreases from the 50% it takes in newborn babies to 20% in elderly people. As age advances, sleep becomes more fragmented and superficial. Another factor that varies the need for sleep is:

  • Season changes: Sleep apnea or seasonal apnea occurs in many people, causing fewer hours of sleep in warmer seasons.
  • People who are in a process of hormonal change, such as adolescents or menopausal women.
  • Overwork, which for some people requires more sleep as a way to recover from the accumulated fatigue of the day.

Why do I have insomnia?

Insomnia can be caused by multiple causes, but some of the most common are usually environmental factors or individual disorders of psychological or organic origin (a disease). These last two must be treated by a doctor or specialist.

Habits that cause insomnia

Bad habits are other of the most common causes that cause sleep disorders or insomnia, and our habits and lifestyle are super important and determining our rest and comfort. Below we list some of the habits that negatively influence sleep hygiene:

  • Take long daytime naps.
  • Sleeping with too much light or noise, as it causes poor quality sleep.
  • Not practicing enough sports or physical activity.
  • Use your computer or smartphone in bed just before going to sleep.
  • Go to bed different every night.
  • Spending too much time in bed while awake.

People at risk of suffering from insomnia

Insomnia can occur at any age, but adults are more likely to suffer from insomnia than younger people. Below we list some profiles of people who may be more likely to suffer from insomnia:

  • Those who have a lot of stress.
  • Those who have emotional tensions or feel depressed due to some situation, such as the loss of someone close.
  • Those with low income.
  • Those who have radical changes in work hours, or work at night.
  • Those who have health problems or sleep disorders, such as apnea.
  • Those who have a sedentary lifestyle. 

Insomnia can also affect people who take some medications or substances such as:

  • Alcohol or drugs.
  • Excessive tobacco smoking.
  • Caffeine in excess.
  • Get used to medications that facilitate sleep.
  • Cold medicine.
  • Weight loss pills, as they usually contain L-Carnitine, a metabolism stimulant.

Negative effects of insomnia

If we do not manage to enjoy a restful or sufficient rest, this can have negative effects on our body, and even lead us to suffer from some illness in the future. Some of the negative consequences that insomnia has for our health are:

  • Loss of concentration and deterioration of the ability to think clearly in our daily live.
  • Disorders such as depression, stomach ulcers, low stress tolerance and constipation may appear.
  • Greater possibility of weight gain and more predisposition to obesity.
  • Weakens the immune system.
  • Triggers memory leak.
  •  Accelerates and promotes premature aging and predisposition to age-related diseases.

When is insomnia worrying?

Achieving good sleep hygiene is a basic need, and we should not underestimate the importance for our health and quality of life; That is why you have to know when insomnia becomes worrying.

There are different types of insomnia, but the most worrying is recurrent. This is characterized by repeating itself in more than 3 episodes over a year, so we have to pay special attention to when it starts to affect us in our daily lives to be able to remedy it quickly, and go to a professional doctor.

How to combat insomnia

It is essential to identify the cause that causes insomnia to find a solution as soon as possible since, depending on the cause, the measures we will take will be different. In this case we are going to focus on general measures.

Why do I have insomnia

5 methods to avoid insomnia

Do exercise

From a more aerobic exercise such as a long walk, to training with electrostimulation; Performing physical activity is essential to combat insomnia.

Especially training with electrostimulation can effectively help us free ourselves from stress and muscle overload. In addition, electrostimulation training increases the production of endorphins, which act by blocking pain receptors so that they do not affect the body by triggering a negative response.

But while it is true that playing sports is essential to improve our sleep hygiene, practicing sports very intensely or excessively can have the opposite effect. In addition, it is recommended to do sports several hours before going to sleep to prevent the excitement we feel after a more powerful workout from preventing us from sleeping.

In general, doing any type of physical activity helps us thanks to the production of serotonin, which produces a greater feeling of well-being, a key factor in combating stress.

Relaxation techniques

Relaxation such as meditation, breathing techniques, or progressive relaxation can be very beneficial at bedtime and improve the quality of sleep. We invite you to try relaxation in a suitable environment with little light 2 hours before going to sleep, you will see what a change!

Keep track of your routine

This is a key aspect that will help you fall asleep. You must control when you sleep, how many hours when you wake up; and pay attention to symptoms such as fatigue, lack of concentration, etc. This will make it easier for you to identify the activities or habits that prevent you from falling asleep so you can remedy them as soon as possible. A heart rate monitor is ideal for this task.

Use the bed only to sleep

Although it may seem silly, it is not. Avoid taking work to bed, and don’t watch TV or eat in bed; Better use the living room or other rooms in the house to do these actions.

It is important that the bed is comfortable to ensure that you rest properly.

Another important aspect is to avoid very long naps, otherwise we will accumulate extra energy before going to sleep. A nap should not last more than 20 or 30 minutes, and you should not sleep after 4:00 p.m.

Maintain a healthy routine

A healthy routine is made up of many factors, such as eating a healthy diet and avoiding large meals at dinner or at times close to bedtime, as they affect falling asleep. Alcohol, tobacco, and exciting drinks are also prohibited since withdrawal symptoms can interrupt our sleep. 

Establish appropriate limits on going to bed and getting up, even on weekends.

Don’t strain your mind too much just before going to sleep. To control this and prevent our brain from working automatically, try taking a shower or bath with hot water before going to sleep.

And last but not least, we should not force ourselves to sleep if we are not sleepy. It is better to do a relaxing activity before we start to feel some drowsiness.

People at risk of suffering from insomnia

Conclusions

To avoid a disorder such as insomnia, it is important to lead a life with healthy habits, in which good nutrition and good physical activity are very present. Besides. If we accompany the latter with electrostimulation training we can multiply the positive effects: not only the physical ones such as fat loss, toning, etc. We will also enhance our rest and sleep hygiene, and release stress thanks to the extra production of endorphins and serotonin.

If you still cannot combat insomnia by following these recommendations, contact a specialist.

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