Battling Your Insomnia

So many Americans today suffer from a bad sleep, and as the number of insomniac is ever increasing, if you’re reading this article you must also be asking yourself “why, oh why do I deserve this? wishing only for one good night of sleep. Well, if it has come to the point of reading articles on the Internet for information on sleeping problems and their treatment, maybe it is time to make the big change in your life, and well done for the initiative.

Losing sleep for a night or two before your wedding day, the trip of a lifetime or a job interview is quite common, and you wouldn’t be human if you’d never had experienced it. Sometimes the sleepless nights even make life a bit more exciting and I wouldn’t mind staying awake all night myself daydreaming about the love of my life. But when white nights become a daily routine for more than a few days or weeks, it becomes something to worry about, often has a mental or physiological basis and needs to be taken care of accordingly because it can become dangerous.

Acute insomnia can occur for a short period of time when triggered by some meaningful change in one’s life, and disappear just as fast. This happens to many people, and unless the sleeplessness continues for more than a few weeks there is nothing to worry about, just give yourself time to accept the changes and adjust to them. But when it become chronic, meaning that you haven’t been sleeping for more than a few hours straight in such a long time that it has become a part of your daily things to mumble about, then you should definitely go to see a doctor before you damage yourself. Remember that your body is meant to sleep at night to recharge its batteries, and so is your brain. If they don’t receive the rest they need, your brain may start malfunctioning and in the end you can be in a condition that sleeping problems are the last of your worries. Mental diseases, fatigue, depression, along with heart attacks, high blood pressure and even strokes can be a consequence of untreated chronic insomnia, so don’t hesitate to ask for professional help. In the worst case (or best case for you), the doctor will send you home without any treatment if you’re just going through a phase, but if you do have some kind of problem that prevents you from sleeping you can’t heal it by yourself if you don’t ask for professional help.

Now that you’ve taken this step and turned to a specialist, there are a few options that most doctors use to treat insomnia and their causes. Generally speaking, if you are suffering from chronic pains or arthritis, or some kind of chemically related mental disorder like schizophrenia or PTSD (or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), then specific medications can help bring back the balance, and so decrease the effects of the ailment that prevented you from sleeping properly. Other cases require a deeper treatment combined with medications and mental health therapy. This can take a longer period of time but is necessary in order to clear away totally the disorder that keeps you from having a normal life. Some of these treatments may be exhausting, and many medications come with unpleasant side effects, but remember that you are on a process towards getting your life back, it takes time but it’s worth it. Usually the side effects are only temporary, and if you follow closely your doctor’s orders, take the right dosage at the right time, then most chances are this short unpleasant loss will be followed quickly by a long term gain.

When treated for insomnia, it is important to keep certain healthy habits to accelerate the time and efficacy of the recovery. You should stop drinking alcohol and beverages based on caffeine in the evening and before bedtime because they act as stimulants and decrease your REM sleep which is very important for your general feeling of well being. Of course it’s even better to stop completely, but that’s another battle for you to fight.

Start exercising more, but not in the evenings. The adrenaline acts as a stimulant and can prevent your body from relaxing properly before bedtime. Eat healthy food! Not only will you feel better during the day but you will also feel more comfortable with your body, physically and mentally, before you go to bed and thus making sleep easier.

The last thing you can do is to help yourself to relax more in many ways. Listen to soft music in the evenings, read a nice book or take a short walk outside to breath some fresh air. Learn breathing techniques to help you relax before going to sleep, change your way of thinking and practice being more positive, thus reducing stress and worries that can so easily cause sleepless nights. Once you’ve done all this, you will be much more relaxed, healthy, happy and sleep will come back to you in no time.

Fatmah Azam Ali

Fatmah Azam Ali is a writer and editor of this section. She is a certified health specialist. She has written hundreds of articles on health issues for print and online publications worldwide.

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