Insomnia happens when someone is dissatisfied with his/her sleep quantity or quality and complaints of having difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep. It can occur at different times of the sleep period and is mainly categorized as follow:
A. Initial insomnia: people who have difficulty initiating sleep at bedtime
B. Middle insomnia: people who experience frequent or prolonged awakenings throughout the night
C. Late insomnia: people who experience early-morning awakening with an inability to return to sleep
The above sleep disturbances cause significant impairment in social, occupational, educational, academic, behavioral or other important areas of functioning. Typically the sleep difficulty occurs at least three nights per week. It can last from less than a month (short term insomnia) or even more that 3 months (persistent or recurrent insomnia).
Most of the times, insomnia is a result of stress or life events that disturb sleep. So, to treat insomnia someone needs to first treat the root that causes it and in these cases, seek advice from a mental health professional/ doctor/ sleep specialist. However, good sleep habits are always helpful and can get you a good night sleep.Some useful tips and good sleep habits are summarized below:
1. Try, as much as possible to maintain a regular sleep schedule and go to sleep at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning (even on weekends).
2. Avoid using phones, reading devises (e-books), computers, video games that gloze before bed.
3. Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol late in the day.
4. Exercise; however try not to exercise close to bedtime, because it may stimulate you and make it hard to fall asleep. You should aim to exercise at least 20 minutes per day (even walking) but do not exercise at least three to four hours before the time you go to sleep.
5. Make your room comfortable; dark, quite, not too warm or too cold. Sleeping masks or earplugs can also be helpful.
6. Learn how to relax.
A.Progressive Muscle Relaxation:
Focus on slowly tensing and then relaxing each muscle of your body. Start by tensing and relaxing the muscles in your feet and progressively work to tense and relax your neck and head (or vice versa). Tense your muscles for about five seconds and then relax for about 30 seconds, and repeat. This relaxation can promote restfulness and sleep.
B. Visualization: in this relaxation technique, you use mental images to make a visual journey to a peaceful, calming place or situation. It is recommended to incorporate as many senses as you can, and concentrate on your breathing. Aim to think positive thoughts. This relaxation method also can promote restfulness and sleep.
7. Do not use the bedroom for other activities such as watching television or reading a book.
8. Do not spend more than 20 minutes lying in bed and trying to fall asleep. If you cannot fall asleep within 20 minutes then leave the bedroom, and find another relaxing activity until you feel sleepy again. You should return to bed when you feel sleepy again, and if you cannot fall asleep in the next 20 minutes, repeat the process.
9. Try to avoid taking naps during the day.
10. Do not eat too much late in the evening.
‘’ A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best bures for anything’’