Anyone who has ever experienced insomnia can attest to the fact that it’s a real curse. The feeling of lying in bed and losing one hour after another of precious sleeping time is miserable, and stress caused by an inability to drift off can compound the problem, making it even harder to fall asleep.
First of all, why do some people have so much trouble sleeping while others can sleep on command, even if cramped up into an airplane seat or surrounded by screaming children? Here are some of the most common reasons why people suffer the condition:
Stress. People under a lot of pressure have a lot more trouble quieting down their thoughts, which is essential to relaxing and falling asleep. Even if they feel exhausted, stressed-out people can have incredible difficulty falling asleep and getting a good night’s rest, which makes them even more stressed and fatigued the following day.
Depression. People suffering from emotional distress or a chemical imbalance in their brains will always have more trouble getting to sleep than their peers - and medication prescribed to people who are depressed can also impede sleep. Depression, along with chronic anxiety, is the most common root of insomnia.
Pain and discomfort. Medical problems like asthma or other respiratory illnesses can make it very hard to sleep, as can chronic pain or suffering due to disease.
How to manage insomnia? No matter what the cause, there are some tried-and-true practices and products that can help even the most wired and sleepless soul find their way to healthy, sound sleep.
Darkened Spaces. It’s important to take all opportunities to make your sleeping space as peaceful and quiet as possible. If you live with roommates, consider finding a way to partition off your sleeping space to increase your privacy and comfort, whether with a bed tent, screen or curtains. If necessary, use noise-cancelling headphones to block out disruptive sounds. Make sure you also forbid any stressful activity in the bedroom - that means all arguments and work must be abandoned at the door!
Soothing Stretches. Some swear by the calming effects of certain yoga poses that assist in releasing physical tension and calming the mind. To get the most out of a bedtime yoga practice, remember to breathe deeply and keep your thoughts quiet, and try adding some soothing aromatherapy to the space. You can find a large variety of poses and routines appropriate for your body and ability on Youtube, or you can speak with a local yoga instructor to develop a series of stretches that will address your problem areas.
Better Bedding. You spend about a third of your life in bed, so invest in the best mattress and bedding you can afford! The benefits proper bedding can have on your sleeping life will be well worth the extra expense. Do a little research to find out what kind of mattress is best for your sleeping habits.
Careful Consumption. Your diet can have a surprisingly devastating impact on your sleep quality. Try keeping a journal of the food and drink you consume throughout the day, and look for patterns that may reveal an incompatibility with certain items.
If you’re taking all of these precautions and still having trouble sleeping, it may be time to speak with your doctor. For severe cases of insomnia, natural sleep supplements or prescription medicine may be necessary, but taking the steps to optimize your sleeping space may allow you to avoid medication altogether.