Sleep affects all aspects of life by influencing our mood, health, work performance and quality of life . How much sleep is adequate varies from person to person, but most adults need seven to eight hours a night. Not sleeping well can become a problem, as insomnia can cause both physical and psychological problems. Why can’t I sleep? You don’t have to resign yourself to sleepless nights. Simple changes to your daily habits, as well as some natural remedies, can often help. What to do about insomnia? Let’s talk about that now.
Table of Contents
- What to do about insomnia: what are the symptoms of insomnia?
- Causes of chronic insomnia
- Natural herbal remedies for good sleep
What to do about insomnia: what are the symptoms of insomnia?
Symptoms of insomnia include:
- Difficulty falling asleep at night
- Waking up during the night
- Waking up too early
- Not being able to sleep after a sleepless night
- Daytime sleepiness or drowsiness
- Irritability, depression or anxiety
- Difficulty paying attention, concentrating on tasks
- Increased mistakes or accidents
- Memory problems
- Persistent worries about sleep
Causes of chronic insomnia
Many adults suffer from short-term (acute) insomnia at some point, lasting days or weeks. It is usually the result of stress or a traumatic event. However, some people suffer from long-term (chronic) insomnia that lasts a month or longer. Common causes of chronic insomnia are:
- Poor sleep habits
- Too much food in the late evening
- Too much caffeine , nicotine and alcohol
If you are able to reduce the above things as much as possible, you can establish a calm and healthy routine for yourself. Chronic insomnia can also be related to illnesses or taking certain medications.
Insomnia is more common as you age. As you get older, you may experience the following:
Changes in sleep patterns. As you age, sleep often becomes less restful, so noise or other changes in your environment are more likely to wake you.
Changes in activity. You may be less physically or socially active. The lack of activity can interfere with a good night’s sleep.
Changes in health. Chronic pain from conditions such as arthritis or back problems, as well as depression or anxiety, can interfere with sleep.
More medications. Older people tend to take more medications than younger people, which increases the risk of medication-induced insomnia.
What to do about sleep problems during pregnancy?
Insomnia can be due to hormonal changes (e.g., menopause). Many women also complain of this problem in early pregnancy. A good sleep routine is of great importance here, because this is how you signal your brain to shut down and start sleeping. Some tips on how to do this:
- Sleep only in bed and nowhere else.
- Go to bed at the same time every day.
- Keep the bedroom dark and cool.
- Make the bed as comfortable and inviting as possible.
- Don’t use screens, such as phones or TVs, in bed.
- Get up if you can’t sleep after 15 to 30 minutes.
- Do not take caffeine before bed or avoid caffeine throughout the day.
- Drink little in the hours before bedtime.
How can parents manage insomnia in children?
Insomnia in children often has behavioral causes. First, consider setting a strict bedtime with the child. The adult should not allow the child to “haggle” for drinks or stories after the official bedtime has been reached. The child should go to bed and stay there until morning. By simply enforcing a bedtime, this form of insomnia often stops on its own.
A snack, a bath, and reading a book are appropriate routines. Then the child should go to bed. There should be no reason for the child to keep getting out of bed. If the child refuses, you can create a reward system as an incentive. This will lead to better sleep behavior and benefit the child.
Young children should fall asleep in their crib without being rocked to sleep. If a child has to be rocked to sleep, he or she will not learn to fall asleep without help. A child can learn to fall asleep or go back to sleep on their own. It is normal for a child to wake up during the night. Adults also wake up for a few minutes several times during the night. When a child learns to fall asleep in bed, both the child and the adult benefit.
Connection between insomnia and depression
If you have depression , you may also have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep through the night. There is a definite link between insomnia and depression. One of the most common signs of depression is actually insomnia or the inability to fall asleep and sleep through the night.
But that doesn’t mean that insomnia or other sleep problems are caused only by depression. Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, affecting nearly 1 in 3 adults at some point in their lives. Women are more likely to suffer from insomnia than men, and the incidence of insomnia increases with age.
Treatment for depression depends on how severe the condition is. Psychotherapy (talk therapy or counseling), for example, can be very helpful.
How does the full moon affect sleep?
Experts say that the moon exerts its effect on sleep most likely through an increase in evening or night light. This could suppress melatonin (sleep hormone), which affects the onset and duration of sleep.
According to studies, there actually appears to be a significant delay and reduction in overall sleep duration on the nights before the full moon. We know that light, whether artificial or natural, from the moon or the setting sun, can have a suppressive effect on melatonin. So it is plausible that moonlight could have a natural, wakefulness-inducing effect.
Natural herbal remedies for good sleep
Herbs and supplements can be helpful for insomnia. Learn more about herbal sedatives that have been shown to be effective for stress and insomnia here.