Insomnia: causes, symptoms, prevention and treatment

Up to 50% of adults suffer insomnia more or less frequently temporarily , but it is that 10% of the population suffers it chronically. It is the most common sleep disorder and not only makes you lose energy during the day, it is the gateway to all kinds of diseases.

And is that good sleep health is just as important as eating a healthy diet or playing sports. It is while we sleep that our body renews and regenerates and the energy levels necessary to perform both physically and intellectually are restored throughout the day.

But keep in mind that there are ways to prevent and treat insomnia. Sometimes small changes in lifestyle are enough to get you back to sleep well. Therefore, in today’s article, in addition to explaining the nature of this disorder, we will present the best ways to combat it.

What is insomnia?

Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which in some way or another, there are problems sleeping . It can manifest itself both with difficulties in falling asleep and in maintaining it throughout the night, as well as a tendency to wake up too early and not be able to fall asleep again.

We need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep and that it becomes deep to feel energized the next day. Therefore, prolonging these insomnia problems, in the short term can result in a lack of energy, being always tired and presenting poor work or academic performance.

And although this already considerably affects the quality of life, if it is not treated and resolved, insomnia also increases the risk of serious diseases: hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, anxiety, depression, diabetes and even cancer.

However, most cases of insomnia can be resolved by changing aspects of your lifestyle. And if they do not work, there is always the possibility of psychological therapy and even taking medication. Sleep health has to be taken care of.

  • We recommend you read: “The 11 negative health effects of sleeping badly”

Causes

Insomnia can be caused by many different situations, so it is not always easy to detect the underlying cause. And it is that although it can be a disorder as such, it is often the symptom of some disease.

Locating the reason is very important to proceed to change lifestyle habits . The main causes of insomnia are the following: stress from work, studies or financial situation, being overcoming the death of a loved one or a love breakdown, traveling a lot for work, having too much dinner or drinking a lot of water a few hours before bedtime doing sports, smoking and drinking, changing sleep times a lot, staying up late on weekends, taking naps that are too long or late in the afternoon, abusing caffeine, spending a lot of time with your mobile at night, not taking care of the environment of the room, etc.

  • We recommend reading: “Is it dangerous to sleep with your mobile near the bed?”

These are the main causes behind most cases of insomnia. And as we see, many of them are perfectly preventable if we become aware of them and make an effort to change our lifestyle habits.

However, if none of these seem to match your case, perhaps there is a less common problem in the background. And it is that insomnia and sleeping difficulties are one of the main manifestations of some mental health disorders, mainly anxiety and depression. Therefore, if you think this may be your case, it is best to seek professional attention.

In addition, there are many medications that can temporarily cause insomnia. Drugs such as antidepressants, for asthma or for blood pressure, painkillers, etc., can affect our quality of sleep.

It can also be a symptom of other diseases: hyperthyroidism, heart disease, cancer, sleep apnea, diabetes, asthma … Therefore, if you cannot detect the cause of insomnia and see that lifestyle changes do not work, it would be It is convenient to go to the doctor and check the general health of the body.

Symptoms and complications

The most obvious symptoms of insomnia is that there are problems sleeping, either falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night. But this comes with both short and long-term consequences.

Tiredness during the day, lack of energy, headache, heavy eyes, feeling very tired when waking up , drowsiness, irritability, problems concentrating, difficulties to perform physically and mentally, etc., are just some of the manifestations that appear at the few days of chaining sleep problems.

If you begin to notice that insomnia affects your quality of life and your ability to perform at work, studies, daily tasks, sports, etc., you should start changing your lifestyle or seek care from health professionals, then In the long run, insomnia can lead to more serious complications.

And the fact is that prolonged insomnia ends up damaging both physical and emotional health , because sleeping well is essential for our body to function as it should.

Therefore, insomnia can have a great impact on health: increased blood pressure, increased risk of cardiovascular disease, increased chances of suffering a stroke, makes the person more likely to develop overweight and obesity, increases the risk of suffering from anxiety and depression, increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, increases the risk of colorectal and breast cancer, affects bone health, is responsible for kidney disorders …

By quickly detecting the problem and the root cause, corrective measures can be applied and even undergo psychological or medical treatments if deemed necessary, thus avoiding the appearance of these serious complications.

Prevention

Insomnia can be both prevented and combated without the need for treatment, simply by taking care of the health of sleep and incorporating lifestyle habits that facilitate the conciliation of sleep and that allow it to be deep and restorative.

  • We recommend you read: “The 10 healthiest sleep habits”

Therefore, it is important to be aware that sleeping well is equal to or more important than watching your diet and playing sports. By following the following tips, it is very likely that your quality of sleep will improve quickly.

Take measures to combat stress, always go to sleep and wake up at the same time, do sports in moderation (without too high intensity and always before 7 p.m.), take naps of less than 30 minutes and never late in the afternoon evening, moderate caffeine consumption, have light meals for dinner and before 9:00 p.m., do not drink too much water before going to sleep, moderate use of mobile phone late at night, do not sleep too much on weekends, sunbathe all every day, cancel the noises in the room, ensure that the bedroom is at a temperature of 15-22 ° C, read before bed, listen to classical music, meditate, toss and turn for no more than 20 minutes …

These are the best strategies for both preventing and treating insomnia easily . Of course, if you see that changing your lifestyle habits you are not able to improve your sleep health, it may be necessary to seek care from a professional, who will offer the solutions that we will see below.

Treatment

Most people with insomnia have their sleep restored by changing their lifestyle or by overcoming the health problems that caused it, but there are cases in which this sleep disorder persists. For them, insomnia can be treated and it is not always necessary to go to sleeping pills.

In fact, the preferred choice is psychological therapy. A psychologist helps you detect and work to eliminate negative thoughts, fears, or insecurities that make you unable to sleep at night. Depending on what the health professional detects, they will perform some behavioral therapies or others.

Be that as it may, sessions in psychologists solve most cases that could not be solved simply with changes in lifestyle. And, in fact, they have been shown to be equal to or more effective than drug treatments.

Of course, there are times when psychological counseling is not enough, since the negative thoughts that cause insomnia cannot be silenced. In this case, it may be necessary to see a doctor, who will assess the situation and, if deemed necessary, will prescribe some medications.

These drugs are called sleeping pills and are usually quite effective in solving insomnia, at least for a time. And is that doctors usually do not allow prolonged consumption since in addition to having side effects such as daytime sleepiness and lightheadedness, they can cause addiction. Therefore, they are a good way to temporarily relieve insomnia while psychological therapies and changes in lifestyle continue to work.

There are also sleeping pills that do not need a prescription, that is, they are available over the counter. But these also have side effects if consumed for too long. For this reason, pharmacological therapies are more of a momentary relief than a definitive solution. Insomnia must be fought by detecting the root cause and changing lifestyle habits .

 

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