Shockingly there are approximately 60 million Americans who suffer from insomnia. For some, it can occur over a handful of nights, others a few weeks, with some lasting even longer. Insomnia can occur for a multitude of reasons which can be classified under two types; primary and secondary insomnia. Primary insomnia is a result of sleep issues and secondary insomnia is a result of health issues and/or medication (Chanin, 2014).
Primary insomnia can be a result of a busy, overloaded mind, stress, anxiety, environmental factors, etc. For secondary insomnia, it’s best to seek the advice of your primary care provider as there could be issues with medications and/or other underlying health concerns that need to be addressed.
I for one fall in to the first category. This is due to the simple fact that my brain opts to punish me during the wee hours of the night, causing me to think about random junk, waking me from a blissful slumber. Well…I guess it doesn’t really happen quite like that, but it sure feels like it. There are nights when I wish I had the ability to pull out busy thoughts, like Dumbledore in Harry Potter, leaving them to sit until morning when I’m ready to deal with them.
Rather than bemoan another sleepless night, you can reduce the impact of insomnia by a few simple tips by implementing a pre-bedtime routine.
- Ensure that any meals/snacks and caffeine/alcohol were consumed two or more hours prior to bedtime
- Avoid falling asleep with the television on
- Keep work/school activities out of the bedroom
- Ensure your room is set to the optimum temperature
- Consider the comfort of your blankets and pillow
- If your mind is consumed with work, school or other tasks, make a quick note to remind yourself in the morning so that you get it out of your head
If these tips fail and you find yourself awake, get out of bed and read a book or watch something relaxing on the television until you are sleepy. This may save you the frustration of tossing and turning.
One last parting tip is to try drinking an herbal tea prior to bedtime. Herbal teas such as chamomile, lemon balm, skullcap and valerian can aid in promoting sleep. If you like two or more of these teas, it’s best to rotate their use for maximum benefit.
Chanin, Louis. R. MD. (2014, August 21). An Overview of Insomnia. WebMD. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/insomnia-symptoms-and-causes.