6 Signs You Have Insomnia, Plus Simple Tips to Solve It
Insomnia: Do you have it? What should you do about it?
You know that feeling; when you’re lying in bed, unable to sleep. You’re doing the mental math, figuring out how long until your alarm will go off. As the minutes tick by, you’ve tried counting sheep, reciting the alphabet backward, and willing yourself to sleep, but nothing helps.
Occasional difficulty sleeping is normal, but if you are constantly struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep through the night, there may be an underlying cause. Find out more about insomnia, and what you can do to sleep better.
What is insomnia?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is characterized by difficulty falling and/or staying asleep. Insomnia may be acute (short-term), or chronic. Acute insomnia may last for just one night, or a few weeks, whereas chronic insomnia is characterized by occurring at least three nights a week for three months or longer. About 10 percent of people have chronic insomnia. Keeping a log of your sleep habits may help you determine if your sleeping difficulties are acute or chronic.
Primary insomnia means that sleep problems are not directly associated with any other health condition or problem. Secondary insomnia occurs when sleeplessness is caused by another medical condition, medication, or substance. If you are having trouble sleeping, speaking with a health care provider will help you understand the possible causes and treatment options. Here is a list of symptoms you may want to review and discuss with your doctor:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Waking during the night
- Waking earlier than desired
- Irritability, depression, or anxiety
- Difficulty concentrating or lack of focus
Sleep is extremely important for your health and happiness. Everyone knows what it’s like to feel tired, but the effects of sleeplessness can be far more serious. Aside from feeling lethargic and irritable, insomnia can lead to anxiety, mood swings and an increased risk of chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.
What can you do to sleep better?
The first step to solving your sleep problems is understanding them. As mentioned above, keeping a log of your sleep habits will help you identify patterns that contribute to your rest (or lack thereof). For a fuller understanding, track other factors that may affect your sleep beyond the time spent in bed. Monitor your caffeine consumption, activity level, and even the weather since the amount of sunlight you are exposed to will affect your circadian rhythm.
Next, you’ll want to evaluate your sleep environment. Temperature, light, and noise can call affect your sleep. You may be surprised to learn that 67°Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature for sleep. Your body temperature decreases when it goes into sleep mode, so keeping the room cool will make it easier to fall and stay asleep. We already mentioned the importance of sunlight for your circadian rhythm, but you should also consider the lighting in your room at night. Falling asleep with the TV on or scrolling through your phone before bed can have adverse effects on your sleep. Blue light suppresses your body’s natural melatonin production, making it harder to get a good night’s rest.
Finally, think about how sound affects sleep. Of course, you know that sudden, loud sounds can wake you from your slumber or make it harder for you to fall asleep. But did you know that some sounds can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer? A clinical trial compared people who listened to Wholetones® 2Sleep to a control group of people who listened to no music before bed and the results were overwhelmingly positive:
- 66% (about 2/3) of the participants’ ability to fall asleep within 30 minutes of going to bed improved when listening to Wholetones compared to control with no music.
- 61% of participants slept longer with Wholetones vs control with no music.
Whether you experience occasional or chronic insomnia, try these simple steps to help you sleep better: