How to combat insomnia?

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The sleeping disorder that can make it hard to fall asleep and difficult to stay asleep with frequent awakenings in between is called insomnia. This disorder needs treatment from Best General Physician in Lahore as it can make one exhausted and also impact health and quality of life. Read on to know more about insomnia, its symptoms and management options:

What is insomnia?

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for health and maintaining mood and performance in everyday life. Without sufficient sleep, one not only feels tired, but it also impacts overall health and quality of life. Insufficient sleep, either through the inability to go to sleep, stay asleep or frequently waking up is what constitutes insomnia. While the amount of sleep one needs can vary from person to person, in general, adults need about seven to eight hours of sleep.

Many adults can experience acute insomnia, which can last for days or weeks; while other can suffer from chronic insomnia which lasts for months and more. Insomnia can be a primary disorder, or be secondary to an underlying disorder including stress and depression or even medication.

Insomnia needs management by an expert, particularly if it interferes with the health of an individual. Acute insomnia is manageable with some dietary and lifestyle changes, while the more chronic form may need medication and more intense form of treatment.

What are the symptoms of insomnia?

The symptoms of insomnia include:

  • Difficulty in falling asleep
  • Difficulty in focusing on tasks and concentrating
  • Frequently waking up at night
  • Waking up too early in the day
  • Feeling irritable, depressed and anxious
  • Feeling restless despite a night’s sleep
  • Ongoing stress about going to sleep
  • Increased frequency of errors in daily life
  • Feeling tired during the day

How is insomnia treated?

The management of insomnia begins with some lifestyle changes, which include:

  • Waking up at a fixed schedule: sticking to a schedule and waking up at the same time everyday help to train the mind to rest at consistent times. This means no sleeping-in during the holidays and weekends, as well.
  • Limiting daytime naps: napping during the day particularly in the evening can make it harder to fall asleep at night. Napping can not only make it harder to fall asleep but it can also disrupt an already established sleeping pattern. Just like waking up at a fixed time is important for the sleep schedule, going to bed at a specific time is equally important.
  • Avoiding stimulants: stimulants like coffee and tea near bedtime can affect the sleep quality. Not only does this caffeine disrupt sleep initiation but it also causes frequent awakening during the night. Apart from caffeinated drinks, certain medications can also act as stimulants such as decongestants and asthma inhalers. If you have to take these medications, it is best to ask your healthcare provider the right time to take these drugs for minimal effect on sleep.
  • Exercising regularly: a great way to improve the quality and duration of sleep is to exercise during the day. Exercising can release endorphins and improve mood as well as help one get a restful sleep. However, it is best to finish exercising at least three hours before bed time.
  • Avoiding food just before bedtime: snacking just before bedtime or a late dinner can activate the digestion process and keep you up. Late night food can also aggravate or initiate gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) with excessive heartburn due to lying down just after eating. For comfortable sleep, one should stop eating at least two to three hours before bedtime.
  • Cognitive therapy: in many people with sleeplessness, identifying the right cause of insomnia can be done through cognitive therapy. This therapy can correct the beliefs and thoughts that are contributing to insomnia. Additionally, this form of therapy for insomnia can help set reasonable goals for treatment and inform one more about age-related changes in sleep cycle.
  • Making sleeping comfortable: another way to combat insomnia, according to experts at Darul Sehat Hospital, is to make the sleep environment comfortable. This includes reducing the light and noise in the bedroom, setting the right temperature and ensuring the bed is all comfortable for lying down.

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