Are you one of the millions struggling with insomnia? This common sleep disorder can leave you feeling exhausted, irritable, and unmotivated during the day. But it's not just a nuisance - it can also have severe effects on your mental and physical health.
Whether it's one night or every night, most of us have battled insomnia at some point in our lives. Insomnia is a sleep disorder that affects approximately 33% to 50% of the adult population worldwide. It is characterized by difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, and waking up too early.
Insomnia can be a severe medical and psychological condition due to its damaging effects on your mental and physical health, especially if it is significantly bringing down your quality of life.
Let’s have a look at the symptoms of insomnia, how it affects human health, and how to combat it.
Symptoms of Insomnia
Aside from disrupted sleep, additional signs of insomnia include:
- Daytime fatigue or sleepiness
- Irritability, low motivation, or energy
- Poor concentration and focus
- Difficulty socializing, working, or studying
Conditions That Can Cause Insomnia?
Several factors can cause insomnia. While in some cases, insomnia can be caused by chronic pain or other health problems such as sleep apnea, most people experience it due to mental health conditions like stress, anxiety, and depression.
Aside from medical and psychological issues, the most common culprits that contribute to insomnia are poor lifestyle choices, such as consuming too much caffeine, ample screen time, irregular sleep schedules, and poor sleeping habits.
Risk Factors of Insomnia
According to studies, women are 40% more likely to suffer from insomnia than men due to hormonal changes, pregnancy, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Insomnia becomes more common after age 60 due to bodily changes associated with aging and medical medications that can disrupt sleep.
Effects of Insomnia
Insomnia can wreak havoc on your mental and physical health.
On Mental Health
It's estimated that up to 75 percent of people with chronic insomnia also suffer from depression. Your brain gets zapped, literally. Insomnia makes it hard to stay awake, and when you are mentally exhausted, you are likely to fall asleep at inopportune times.
Moreover, insufficient sleep can reduce your ability to stay actively conscious about your surroundings and leave you tired and irritable during the day.
On Physical Health
Chronic insomnia is linked to a higher risk of serious life-threatening issues such as cardiovascular disease, dementia, high blood pressure, etc. Lack of sleep also attracts more attention from the body's immune system, which can lead to inflammation.
Research shows that people with insomnia may be more vulnerable to infections and chronic inflammation, which can lead to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, etc.
How to Combat Insomnia?
Adopting positive and healthy lifestyle changes is the best way to combat insomnia. Here are some tips that can help you get a good night’s sleep:
- Avoid exercising before going to bed.
- Use blinds, eye masks, etc., to ensure that your bedroom is dark and quiet.
- Have a scheduled 7 to 9 hours of sleep.
- Try to go to bed early.
- Use comfortable bedding and pillows.
- Don’t consume caffeine, alcohol, or any such beverages in the evening.
- Put down electronic devices for an hour or so before bed.
The doctors may advise you to undergo Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I), which will teach you relaxation techniques while also addressing the thoughts and feelings that may prevent you from falling/staying asleep. In some cases, they may prescribe a prescription sleep medicine like Melatonin solution or CBD sleep drops to help soothe anxiety and aid you get a full night's rest.
While medications can have side effects like prolonged drowsiness and allergic reactions, CBD drops don’t hold such effects.
According to the World Health Organisation,
"In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential… To date, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD."
Insomnia is a common condition that can affect your mental and physical health. It's important to know the signs, symptoms, and causes of insomnia, so you can make informed decisions about how to help yourself or your loved ones and get better sleep.