What is insomnia?

If you’ve ever been stuck awake for hours on end, or find it extremely difficult to fall asleep, you may be suffering from insomnia. Insomnia is a condition that inhibits our natural ability to fall asleep and can be brought on by numerous conditions. Some common ways that insomnia may come about, if it is not chronic, is through mental struggles such as:

Depression
Anxiety
A poor sleep cycle
Stress

Depending on the type of insomnia you’re suffering from, some of the treatments can actually be quite easy to achieve. While insomnia is generally attributed to trouble falling asleep, insomnia can also lead to waking up throughout the night and waking up early. So if you’re facing these issues frequently, you might actually be struggling with insomnia.

So let’s dive in, and take a look at how insomnia is caused and treated.

Chronic insomnia and other causes

Insomnia can be derived from many different things, but if it is a chronic condition, you may need to seek out additional treatment options. Chronic insomnia is usually not primarily caused by one underlying issue, but the body’s way of not handling a certain mental struggle properly. What does this mean? It means that chronic insomnia can also be linked to an inability to cope with anxiety, episodes of stress, and even chronic depression. A good rule of thumb to look at when dealing is insomnia, is to look at the condition as a by-product of another condition. Now, if you’ve been exposed to deep adversity as a child, the lingering result could end up being insomnia. This form of insomnia is deep-rooted and might require more advanced treatment options.

Insomnia and stress

If you find yourself stressed about your big today tomorrow, you might find it hard to turn off your brain. This is the onset of insomnia caused by a directly stressful situation. Stress causes your body to react to situations differently and can force your mind to keep evaluating a situation over and over again. This can cause you quite a bit of trouble when you lay your head down to sleep, and can also lead to you waking up much earlier than usual. Insomnia that is caused by stress will usually leave you waking up frantically in the morning with a racing mind. It can also make it hard to sleep due to a racing mind. So, if you find that you’re struggling to keep problematic thoughts at bay at night or in the morning, you might be struggling with insomnia brought on by stress.

Insomnia and anxiety

Anxiety can bring about insomnia for numerous reasons, and in some cases, can be difficult to treat. To understand the link between insomnia and anxiety, we need to understand what anxiety does to the body. Anxiety is the body’s way of responding to a given situation by releasing adrenaline. Think of anxiety as your body’s panic button. When adrenaline is released, your body enters what is commonly referred to as fight or flight mode. Your mind begins to send more power to your leg muscles and can cause your mind to race frantically. So, if you’re suffering from anxiety, this is why it might seem somewhat impossible for you to fall asleep. Usually, insomnia brought on by anxiety won’t cause you to wake up early, because your body is mostly shut down while sleeping.

Insomnia and depression

Insomnia can be brought on by depression, even though depression is commonly associated with sleeping much too much. If you’re in the middle of a depressive episode, you might find it very difficult to fall asleep. This is due to the fact that your mind is stuck thinking about all of the negative things around you. Plus, if you’re depressed about events you’ll face in the coming days, your response might be to stay awake to keep them further away. This is also true in the case of dealing with a severe loss. If a loved one has passed away, or a relationship has ended, the depression that follows can keep you up at night. So, while depression may often make you sleep more often, it can also lead to a lack of sleep as well.

Poor sleeping habits, and why they cause insomnia

Poor sleeping habits can also cause insomnia. Have you ever experienced jet lag before? This type of lag plays tricks on the mind and causes you to have trouble falling asleep when you land. This is why dealing with jet lag is so difficult, because our bodies are not designed to cover that type of distance that fast. Staying up way too late can also lead to insomnia because you’ve already been awake passed your usual bedtime. This can actually end up tricking your mind, thus making it harder to fall asleep. If you’ve ever stayed up until 4 am trying to complete a project for work, or studying for an exam, you’ve probably found it quite hard to fall asleep after. That’s how insomnia can be brought on by a poor sleep cycle.

How to properly treat insomnia

If you’re struggling with insomnia, you’ll definitely want to have it treated. Lack of sleep can lead to decreased efficiency the next day, and cause quite a bit of other physical issues. So let’s take a look at some of the best treatments to help you with insomnia.

Cognitive Therapy

Therapy is always the best way to handle an issue of the mind. This is due to the fact that therapy can help you manage your insomnia in the long run without needing medication. So, if you’re looking to give therapy a try, you should definitely look for cognitive therapy. Cognitive therapy is a type of therapy that involves training the mind to cope with various mental issues by giving your brain the tools to properly handle certain situations. In the case of insomnia, cognitive therapy can help you turn your brain off at night and drift away. Plus, if you suffer from insomnia brought on by stress or anxiety, it can help you perceive a situation differently and relieve them.

Practicing light therapy and fixing your sleep cycle

This type of treatment is bound to get you results if you have a poor sleep cycle. Why? Because it can help you adjust to your surroundings. Sometimes seasonal changes can make it difficult for us to sleep normally, and light therapy is a great way to help your body get back to sleeping normally. This is usually done by being out more at night or using a lightbox. If you’re looking to fix your sleep cycle, this might take a little more work. While insomnia might take away the motivation to sleep early, you should force yourself to do it. Even if you have to lay there for an hour or two, over time, this will train your body to start falling asleep at an earlier hour.

Medication

If all else fails, or if therapy is not your thing, you can always turn to medication. There are plenty of great sedatives on the market, but some good ones to pursue are:

Ambien
Sonata
Lunesta
Zolphimist

These medications can be powerful, so if you plan on going that route, be sure to consult your doctor first.

In Summary

If you’re suffering from insomnia you should definitely try to find help. Prolonged insomnia can lead to a ton of medical issues, and can force you to be less efficient. While insomnia might seem like its own condition, there is always an underlying cause. So, before you attempt to treat your insomnia, make sure you understand what the root issue it. This will help you treat it effectively, and get back that great good night’s rest you might be missing.

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