Remember the famous lyrics “mujhe neend na aaye, mujhe chain na aaye…” although it was a lover’s ballad over an exchange of hearts of two individuals, this song aptly describes an insomniac’s life. In one line – the short and crisp way of explaining – “what is insomnia” – it is the inability to get adequate sleep.
Few very common insomnia symptoms are – fatigue, short of energy, sluggishness during the daytime, lack of focus, tetchiness, miserable temper and overall it affects relationships. It becomes chronic if sleep disorders become frequent. While we Indians do not acknowledge or give due importance to insomnia as a disease, it is actually the most common sleep disorder prevalent. Figures propose that more than 10 million Indians are impacted, a disease which can be detected by oneself and treated by one’s willpower.
Perhaps you have money or relationship problems, chronic anxiety or depression, or you like everyone else cannot escape screen – television or tablet! Smoking, consuming liquor or caffeine also interferes with sleep. People sometimes consume these to relax but in reality, they do more harm not just to sleep but to the body too. But the root cause of insomnia is negative thinking which gives byproducts like apprehension, tension, and despair. These causes result in a vicious cycle of further complicating the sleep disorder issues. Few more insomnia causes are poignant and emotional causes which today’s world lives and swears by include agony, grief, history of allergy, heart-related ailments, asthma, and blood pressure.
How to fight insomnia naturally?
Messed up sleep can create a long list of secondary issues that can quickly become primary concerns if left untreated. When faced with sleep problems, many doctors send their patients away with medicine instead of finding the underlying problem and sleep medicines usually have side effects! What exactly is the need of the hour is gradual modifications in daily routine and habits, nature’s call for lifestyle adjustments. Exercising just before or near bedtime over stimulates your metabolism and raises your heart rate causing restlessness and frequent awakenings throughout the night. There are few who need to dig deeper for the cause of sleepless nights. But more than often basic changes in lifestyle or diet are the insomnia remedies. While the traditional method of drugs is the easiest cure to insomnia there are few inexpensive and DIY methods that you can adapt by trial &error to have a blissful sleep at night. A few of them being:
- Write what bothers you – Sometimes it isn’t even a problem until we see it with our eyes. Keeping a diary or journal helps transfer some of your thoughts and anxiety to a paper which in turn keep your mind peaceful
- Keep your bedroom cool & dark – So no sneaky lights of chargers, television or air conditioner that might get in your eyes to hamper your sleep! Having a room that’s too hot or too cold can both mess with your sleep so keep it under control
- No Alcohol, caffeine or smoking before sleeping – It might be a good idea to quit them all for good but for those who can’t, just don’t have them too close to bedtime
- Breathing exercise/Meditate – What keeps you tossing and turning is sometimes high heart rate or blood pressure. Some simple breathe in/breathe out exercise helps in releasing endorphins thereby calming our senses to a better sleep. Meditation is also a powerful tool to coax your mind to wind down
- Positive thinking is a must and needs to be cultivated
- Setup a fixed routine or daily time to sleep every night and wake up at the same time every morning. The body gets programmed as per habits
- Avoid eating heavy meals before sleep
- Regular exercise needs to be religiously followed
- Limit the naps taken during daytime
Sleeping pills are suggested by doctors but they should be taken and monitored by a physician.