I have always struggled with getting a good night's sleep. Most people would chalk it up to being a night owl. Yet, it's been really bothering me. With everything going on, more people are having trouble getting any sleep.
According to thecoveryvillage.com, 70 million Americans suffer from insomnia. With 40% of people reporting falling asleep during the day. So what happens when you have insomnia and what can you do to combat it?
What Is Insomnia?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder where the person has a hard time falling and staying asleep. Even when the conditions are perfect for sleep, it might be harder to drift off. This unstable sleep pattern can affect your daily life and mental health.
Symptoms & Signs
Here are some of the signs I have experienced, this is not an inclusive list and symptoms may vary:
- Tossing and turning for hours.
- Rumination or obsessive thoughts.
- Wide awake at night.
- Groggy in the mornings.
A lot of my symptoms come from my anxiety but there are people that have short-term insomnia during times of great stress. And 2020 is definitely a time of great stress.
Complications of Insomnia
While poor sleep and feeling tired during the day are huge signs of insomnia, there are some health issues that can develop over time.
- Asthma or other breathing problems.
- Heart failure, arrhythmia, high blood pressure, and coronary heart disease.
- Can create or exasperate mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.
- Increased pain for those with chronic pain disorders.
- Pregnancy complications
- Slows down the metabolism and cause weight gain.
Again, the problems may vary on individual factors. But the consensus is that insomnia is a problem for many people.
So, I will share with you some things I learned about my insomnia and what I do to fight against it.
1. I did my research. You know that you have insomnia, but why do you have it? Everyone's reason for developing a sleep disorder is different. From losing your job to hearing about a loved one's passing, finding out the source of the problem helps you understand what needs to be done.
For me, anxiety and depression run in my family. I was diagnosed in 2009 while in college. I was given Trazadone for sleep but it just made it harder to wake up. Once I realized that the anxiety was causing me to have a TV brain (millions of thoughts like millions of TV screens all on different channels) at night.
It was a matter of calming down before I went to bed.
2. Drinking tea before bed. I've always seen tea as a medicinal in nature. It's made from herbs and plants that are used in modern medicine. It works faster because it goes right to your stomach to be absorbed into the bloodstream. So, I drank Sweet Clementine Stress Support Tea by Yogi.
It's made with Ashwagandha and ginger root. The tea really helps me feel relaxed and ready for bedtime.
3. Vitamins and Supplements. I recently found out about Rae Wellness vitamins from Target. OMG! They are amazing. At night I'm taking the Destress supplements and during the day Hormonal Rebalance. I recommend checking them out.
4. Get a dog. Pyra is a half dachshund and half chihuahua and all cuddly doggo! Having pets to cuddle with at night relieves stress. Much like how a stuffed animal helps a small child sleep.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with having a stuffed animal if a dog isn't available. It will still have the same effect.
5. Turn off the social media. The light from our phones and laptops can influence your circadian rhythm. Also known as your sleep cycle. It's hard to do but I managed to put my phone away and read a book or write down my thoughts in a journal.
6. Sleep meditations on YouTube. This one is my favorite. There are some great YouTube channels that have guided sleep meditations. Meditation is clearing and quieting the mind to obtain inner peace.
Other ways of combating insomnia:
- Pick a time to stop eating at night and avoid sweets. Sugar so close to bedtime can cause you to stay awake.
- Take a bubble bath before bed. A nice relaxing bath can prepare you for sleep. Using lavender scented products will give a calming effect.
- Create a comfy space. Setting up your bedroom as a comfortable and inviting space can help facilitate a night of restful sleep.
The last resort would be prescription sleep medication if your quality of sleep is really interrupting your life. There are also sleep studies you can join. The point is to find something that works for you.
Happy ZZZs everyone and hope you have a good night's rest.