One of every four women struggles with one or other form of a sleeping disorder, including insomnia. This leaves many women feeling drained, struggling to concentrate, suffering a reducing sex drive, experiencing a foul mood, or simply feeling tired. However, there may also be serious complications to chronic insomnia that can range from mental health problems (depression and anxiety) to general health issues such as seizures, stroke, a weakened immune system, obesity, or heart disease. More so, insomnia can decrease your life expectancy by 12%. However, by understanding the causes of insomnia, and knowing steps to take to beat it, you can have a better quality of life.
What Are The Causes Of Insomnia?
Insomnia may be triggered by medical conditions. These may range from side effects of certain prescription medications such as painkillers, and diet pills, to certain substances such as nicotine or caffeine. Insomnia may also result from health conditions such as cancer, asthma, heart disease, chronic pain, and certain mental disorders. During their third trimester, many women struggle to sleep because of leg cramps, or the need to micturate. Also, those with newborn babies will experience hormonal changes after giving birth that can disrupt their sleep pattern. New babies need to be fed every few hours and have short sleep times, which can reduce the mother's sleep.
However, this condition can also be aggravated by stress, bad sleeping habits, eating too late at night, jet lag, and sleeping during the day. Abnormal lifestyles, such as working a night shift, having too little exercise, as well as suffering from events which pose physical repercussions, can negatively affect sleep. This includes depression, loss of a job, or feeling overexcited. Struggling to fall asleep and remaining asleep is common to many people, and may only be temporary. If, however, the condition continues for several weeks, the condition may become chronic, leading to some of the health problems already mentioned.
There are various factors that can lead to insomnia. However, what researchers have found is that women take longer to fall asleep than men. More so, insomnia can affect one's health, from accidents to increasing the chance of becoming obese and developing heart problems.
What Healthy Sleep Habits Can You Include To Induce Sleep?
There is much you can do to improve the quality of your sleep. However, one should understand the cause of insomnia. A sleep journal may be useful. Noting what you are doing, consuming, or what is on your mind, may explain the reason for struggling to sleep. However, if this does not work, do consult your health-care provider.
Certain lifestyle changes may be made which can improve your condition:
- Drink alcohol in moderation, limiting yourself to two drinks daily. If you drink alcohol, especially late at night, you may not have the necessary extended sleep.
- Cut down on your caffeine. You may enjoy a latte or green tea, but do not have any caffeine four to six hours before bedtime. Caffeine (like nicotine) is a stimulant which can keep you awake.
- Have a regular bedtime and wake up at the same time each day (including weekends). This helps you to regulate your body clock, allowing you to fall asleep at night. During the day avoid napping, if you struggle to sleep at night.
- Have a regular bedtime ritual. This can include taking a warm bath or dimming the lights closer to bedtime.
- Set aside at least 45 minutes each day for regular exercise, however, not close to bedtime. If you need to do any exercise late in the evening, try yoga or Tai Chi.
- Put your phone away. You may like reading in bed, however, smartphones and tablets may be a source of your problem. The light from these devices can make it difficult for you to fall asleep. Additionally, keep the television out of the bedroom.
- Invest in a quality mattress, pillows, and sheets. Make sure the bed is big enough for you and your partner to stretch out.
- If you struggle to fall asleep, do not simply lie in bed. Instead, get up and go to another room until you feel sleepy.
Alternatively, there are also dietary supplements that may be taken to help treat insomnia. The proven ingredients include melatonin, lemon balm, valerian, chamomile, passion flower, hops, taurine, and an amino-acid, L-ornithine. These substances in capsule form will provide the best relaxing benefits to help restore healthy sleep patterns while treating the symptoms experienced during the day. A good insomnia supplement should have both a day formula and a night formula. The night formula should contain melatonin, which will promote sleep. The day formula should contain serotonin which can improve your mood during the day.
Knowing the cause of your sleeping disorder will be your first step. This is not always possible. However, there are many lifestyle changes you can make to increase your chances of a better night's rest. Some of the factors may be out of your control, such as hormonal changes directly after childbirth. Always remember that you are not alone and do not need to suffer. There is help if you need it.
When Is It A Good Time To Speak With Your Doctor?
Struggling to fall asleep now and then is normal and you shouldn't stress about it. If the lack of sleep is effecting your life then you should consult your health-care provider. Normally, a physical examination will be performed and the symptoms you are displaying will be investigated. Provide the doctor with details of the prescription medication and dietary supplements you are using. A diagnosis will be made (based on tests that could include a sleep study) and a treatment plan is initiated.
Experiencing insomnia sporadically is normal, but definitely consult your physician if you notice your lack of sleep is effecting your health and/or lifestyle.
Our Ultimate Take Home Message
Insomnia, or the lack of sleep, is something most people will experience occasionally. This condition may become chronic when it affects your health. In most cases, the causes of a sleeping disorder are self-inflicted, from smoking to side effects of medication. Therefore, understanding the cause of your sleeping disorder would be your first step in treating it. There are also dietary supplements that may be taken to help promote sleep and treat insomnia. If the problem becomes chronic, it would be best to consult a doctor. Your doctor can then place you on a treatment plan and monitor your condition. However, the main point is that lack of sleep, especially over the long term, can negatively affect your health; therefore, it is vital to treat it.