Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which people find it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep, or both. Feeling groggy, tired and exhausted when you wake up from sleeping are all implications of insomnia. Sleep difficulties occurring at least three nights a week for a minimum of three months or sleep difficulties creating major distress or functional difficulties in a person’s life may result in insomnia.

Often there are varying forms of insomnia one might face.  Primary insomnia is not caused by another condition; it is the disorder itself that may lead to other symptoms. On the other hand, secondary insomnia is the result of an underlying health condition or lifestyle habits such as excessive daytime napping.

Stress and anxiety are found to be primary reasons for inducing insomnia. Overworking or a changed daily schedule may increase stress and therefore, cause insomnia. Insomnia that persists for longer than three months may be occurring due to medical conditions which make it harder to sleep, such as arthritis.

Insomnia can occur at any age and is more likely to affect women than men. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), people with certain risk factors are more likely to have insomnia. These risk factors include:

  • Low incomes
  • Recurrent travelling
  • An inactive lifestyle
  • Changes in work hours, or working night shifts

Treating your Insomnia

It is important for people who experience insomnia to know how serious the problem is for them. If it causes long term fatigue, irritability or recurrent mood swings it means insomnia is disrupting your daily life. Visiting a sleep specialist at this point is necessary so that your doctor can talk to you about what treatments might be appropriate. You may need to try a number of different treatments before finding the one that’s most effective for you.

The American College of Physicians (ACP) recommends cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as a first-line treatment for chronic insomnia in adults. Sleep hygiene training may also be recommended. Sometimes, behaviors that interfere with sleep cause insomnia. Sleep hygiene training can help you change some of these disruptive behaviors.

If you feel your insomnia is still in a developing phase it is possible for you to effectively manage it by making lifestyle changes or trying home remedies.

The first step to treat yourself would be to maintain a disciplined schedule, which includes asking yourself questions that can help you diagnose the extent of your problem. The questions you need to ask yourself can vary from person to person, however a good point to start would be;

  • Research any medical conditions you might have, and their link to sleep
  • Is your social environment a stress inducer?
  • Do you face emotional instability, and if you do, how often?

This information can help determine the underlying causes of your sleep problems. It would always help if you keep a sleep log, record when you fall asleep, note the instances when you wake up repeatedly and note the time you wake up each day. You may then seek aid in certain home remedies that might help contain the condition.

Warm milk, herbal tea, and valerian are just a few of the natural sleep aids you can try. Moreover, meditation is a natural, easy, drug-free method for treating insomnia. According to the National Sleep Foundation, meditation can help improve the quality of your sleep, as well as make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Essential oils are strong aromatic liquids made from a variety of plants, flowers, and trees. Being natural, organic liquids reduce possibilities of side effects. People treat a variety of conditions by inhaling oils or massaging them into the skin. This practice is called aromatherapy. Roman chamomile, cedarwood, lavender, sandalwood and neroli are all essential oils you can use as natural stabilizers for your sleep cycle.

Insomnia isn’t just a nuisance or a small inconvenience. It’s a real sleep disorder, and it can be treated. If you think you have insomnia, explore self treatment options and talk to your doctor.

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