There are several types of insomnia according to various sources:
- Primary is when inability to sleep is not linked to any other health condition, with secondary insomnia when sleeplessness is caused by another condition, for example depression cancer etc.
- Then there’s chronic and acute insomnia, with acute insomnia lasting from one night to a couple of weeks and chronic insomnia being when someone suffers at least three nights a week for a month or longer.
Common causes of insomnia may include stress, depression, anxiety, poor sleep habits such as watching TV in bed, noise, light, health condition, stimulants such as tobacco and caffeine and others.
People with insomnia may experience different symptoms
- Have trouble falling asleep. This can mean lying in bed for up to an hour or more, tossing and turning, waiting to fall asleep.
- Wake up during the night and have trouble going back to sleep.
- Wake up too early in the morning.
- Feel tired when they wake up, like they didn’t get enough sleep.
- Feel grouchy, sleepy, or anxious, and be unable to get things done during the daytime.
- Find it difficult to pay attention, focus on tasks, or remember to do things.
Insomnia is not a disease
There is no test that can diagnose it. Some studies have shown that it can also be caused by side effects of medication. Examples include blood pressure drugs, anti-asthma medications, and antidepressants. Some drugs may cause daytime drowsiness that can affect a person’s sleep schedule.
But when someone can’t sleep well; it is advisable to consult the doctor for a diagnosis. The doctor will assess the current health and ask about your health history .
The doctor may do a physical exam, blood tests, and, in some cases, sleep studies to help find out if a health problem is the underlying cause of the insomnia.
As part of the analysis doctors may ask to keep a sleep journal, which is a record of sleep patterns, for a week or two. He or she may recommend a counsellor if the symptoms point to a mental health problem, such as depression or anxiety.
Can insomnia be treated?
Treatment for insomnia focuses on the reason identified by the doctor.
Acute insomnia may not need medical intervention. It may be cured by making slight changes to sleep habits. For example: establish a good sleep routine, avoid activities that can keep awake, avoid light in the late evening etc.
Good sleep habits
Go to sleep at the same time daily. Keep your cycle of sleeping and wakefulness steady throughout the week, including the weekends. While most people need 7 to 9 hours of sleep at night, keeping a consistent cycle may be even more important than quantity, she says. Set a bedtime and a wake-up time for yourself and stick to it.
Get your brain ready for sleep. You can’t make your brain fall asleep on command as if you were stepping on the brakes to stop your car. Instead, your brain needs help shifting to sleep. Be sure to follow these recommendations:
- Establish a pre-sleep ritual before bed. For example, taking a shower and putting on sleepwear might signal your brain that you’re heading to bed.
- In the evenings, avoid activities that can keep you awake, like drinking coffee, soda, or other caffeinated drinks; smoking; exercising; and eating heavy meals.
- Give your brain time to unwind. If you need to pay bills or settle an argument, do it during the day, not at bedtime.
- Avoid light in the late evening. Shut off your electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Light keeps your brain primed for wakefulness.
- Set up exercise routine and avoid working out before bedtime.
- Create a comfortable bedroom e.g.: not too cold/warm, burn essential oils, good lighting etc.
Keep sleep problems from growing worse
Often when people start to have trouble sleeping, the steps they take to cope with their insomnia actually make the problem hang around longer.
If you have sleepless nights, avoid:
- Napping during the day. Too much daytime sleep makes you less inclined to fall asleep at bedtime.
- Drinking alcohol before bed. It may help you fall asleep at first, but it can keep you from sleeping well later in the night.
- Worrying about your sleep loss. Dwelling on your inability to fall asleep can make it worse.
How can a company help employees facing insomnia?
There are multiples strategies for eliminating poor sleep and training one’s mind and body for healthy sleep. Henner Medical Department has put the stress on prevention campaigns. We offer workshops, useful content and techniques to help coping with stress, anxiety, nutrition/sleep disorders and chronic conditions related to an overstimulating environment.
Workshops: Sleep inducing atmosphere … and diet
As part of the sleep hygiene program, Henner experts facilitate interactive workshops.
- Environment for a perfect sleep: for one hour, Henner experts present to 30 participants relevant facts and advice to help them identify the best bedding, set bedtime rituals and create sleep inducing atmosphere.
- And what if you improve your sleep quality through diet? Sleep Medicine found that diet can influence sleep. The “Sleep and Nutrition” workshop highlights the links between mealtimes and bedtime. Thanks to chrono-nutrition, participants discover how to adapt their diet to lift sleep quality up. This workshop ends with a demonstration of sophrology and cardiac coherence.
Reach out to your Henner representative to learn more about the workshops!