Insomnia: What Triggers it & How to Avoid it ?

We live in a golden age of sleeplessness. The buzz of the all-night street lamps, the fretting of 24-hour news anchors, the scrolling and never ending social media feeds, just to state a few, have built a world that is hostile to sleep.

Here’s how the insomniacs function- They set aside a seven-or-so-hour stretch for rest. They make the bed. They draw the curtains. But as soon as they lie down, they are suddenly wakeful. A sleepless night here or there won’t be too harmful, as long as it doesn’t turn into a pattern. 

Here’s a list of different factors that are associated with insomnia and causes it to increase:

  • Depression: It is not known or stated that depression causes insomnia or insomnia causes depression. Past cases have seen both behaviours. But there’s definitely a connection between depression and insomnia. 
  • Anxiety: Something observed very commonly in people is the excessive worrying, stressful behaviour that leads to people not getting good sleep. 
  • Lifestyle: If you’re working late night shifts, having longer naps than needed, not exercising or taking care of your daily routine, it hugely impacts your sleep cycle as well. 
  • Midnight Snacks: The late night munchies are very tempting yet very destructive for your sleep. Additionally, things like alcohol, nicotine, caffeine or heavy meals near bedtime affects your sleep cycle heavily. 
  • Social Media: If you cannot sleep without checking your phone late in the night, then you have a problem. Unnecessarily scrolling through other people’s lives and feeds late in the night triggers your brain to stay awake for a longer duration. 

While there are no definitive tests for insomnia, there are ways you could prevent it step by step. These preventions could be medical as well as non-medical. Here’s a list of a few measures you can take in order to tackle insomnia: 

  1. Turning off the screens: One needs to make a habit of turning off all the screens atleast 1 hour before bedtime. It has helped people in the past and is very effective in getting a good sleep. 
  2. Avoid too many naps: Having naps in the afternoon causes you to stay awake in the night. It starts becoming a pattern and next thing you know you’re awake till 4am in the night. Avoiding naps is a good start in tackling insomnia. 
  3. Exercising: Regularly exercising is effective in helping you sleep and improving the quality of your sleep. Performing vigorous exercises is best, however, even light exercise can be beneficial. While you cannot expect an immediate result, research has shown that the benefits of exercise kick in over time and can also help reduce the severity of sleep disorder breathing. A recommended amount of exercise you can perform is as follows: 75 minutes of vigorous or 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week 
  4. Limiting light: Avoiding bright light in the evening will also help prepare your body for sleep at night. and expose yourself to sunlight in the morning. 

If you find yourself with sleep issues, you are not alone. Over one half of Americans experience insomnia at least a few nights each week. Fortunately, these simple steps can help you get back on the right track to la la land.

Written by

Cheryl Toh

Last updated on

January 10th 2020, 4:53 pm

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