How to sleep well again

by Chris James: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Insomnia is awful, but highly treatable. Look beyond pills and potions, and use these effective methods to get your life back.

Most of us struggle after a night of poor sleep: we feel groggy, tired, irritable – there’s a general sense that we’re not firing on all cylinders, or like we’re going through our day in a ‘fog’. Insomnia sufferers know these symptoms all too well.

Individuals who experience insomnia often describe it as a debilitating, distressing, deeply frustrating condition that affects all aspects of their life. The negative impact of just one night of poor sleep can weigh heavily on us, so for those who are consistently sleeping poorly it can feel like torture. Sleeping should be easy, right? Why can’t I just close my eyes and fall asleep like everyone else? – a question I’ve heard many times in the sleep clinic. Insomnia can be such a cruel condition. The desperate desire for sleep and the increasing frustration that comes with being unable to sleep actually makes it even harder to get to sleep. Breaking this vicious cycle is one of the keys to overcoming insomnia.

Securing good sleep is essential for physical and mental health. When sleep is healthy, it helps the body recharge, fuels its natural ability to heal, and plays a vital role in helping the brain process the day’s events. Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep to feel sufficiently rested, though the exact duration needed varies from person to person. People with insomnia often report not getting sufficient sleep; some report just five or six hours. Others get more, but it is typical for people with insomnia to have highly fragmented sleep – in other words, they don’t sleep solidly and have long periods of wakefulness in their sleep.

Broadly speaking, insomnia involves persistent difficulty with getting to sleep and/or staying asleep, at least three nights per week. For those with chronic (vs short-term) insomnia, this goes on for a period of at least three months. These difficulties are accompanied by daytime symptoms such as fatigue, memory or concentration problems, or irritability. There also has to be some degree of dissatisfaction or distress about one’s sleep. Importantly, for the problem to be classed as insomnia, these issues have to be occurring despite adequate opportunity for sleep (so the sleep problems are not caused by factors such as shift patterns, late-night partying or noisy neighbours). And, the symptoms aren’t better explained by other conditions that can lead to poor sleep, such as circadian rhythm disorders or sleep apnoea.

Insomnia can have a serious impact on a person’s quality of life and day-to-day functioning. It can affect performance at work, relationships, and motivation to exercise and keep a healthy diet. People with insomnia often stop doing the things they enjoy as they no longer have the energy or drive to do them. As a result, they can often feel unhappy, powerless and trapped.

Insomnia is common, but treatable

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