Insomnia is a sleep disorder that affects almost a third of Americans. Every day, millions of people in the country toss and turn in their beds, trying to get to sleep. We know now that sleep is incredibly valuable. It’s when our body restores itself, when we grow, and rest so we can perform at our jobs, in school, or in our other obligations.
Sleep is vital. No longer are people walking around bragging about how little sleep they get. It’s no longer a badge of honor like it once was. These days, people who miss out on sleep are almost treated with pity because we know how damaging the effects of lack of sleep are. Driving drowsy can be as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Getting to the root causes of insomnia helps us understand how to improve our quality of sleep and how to improve our overall quality of life. Here’s some helpful information on the sleep disorder and what you can do today to improve the sleep you’re getting.
Stress Causes Insomnia
It probably doesn’t come as a shock to anyone that stressed people have trouble sleeping. If you lay down in bed at night worried about how to pay the bills, the trouble your adult child is in, medical issues, or difficulties at work, it’s going to be hard to sleep. Your brain is in panic mode and moving and thinking a mile a minute. It’s not something you can simply switch off once your head hits the pillow.
Unfortunately, many people take their problems to bed with them, and it prevents them from getting high-quality sleep. If that sounds like you, then you need to take action now. Start doing whatever you can to avoid stress in life. That’s easier said than done, sure, but you can, for example, not engage in stressful conversations in the hours preceding bedtime. Additionally, you can stop working earlier if things like answering emails trigger stress. Make your bedtime and the hours right before it as peaceful as possible. Turn on some relaxing music, dim the lights, take a warm bath, and do other things to calm you down before you sleep.
Changing Sleep Cycles
People who work different shifts, whether you’re a doctor working in a hospital or a truck driver moving goods, often report difficulty sleeping. It’s no wonder why. Our bodies respond well to routines. For example, if you eat dinner at around the same time every evening, try eating an hour later. You’re likely to feel some hunger pangs and hear your stomach growling because it’s wondering where its food went. The same goes for sleep.
If at all possible, make a set bedtime and do your best to stick to it. It’s hard when you’ve got kids and want some time alone to relax after they’re asleep, but you should prioritize your sleep schedule as well.
We’re bombarded at all hours by stimulants. Our phones, caffeine, sugar, bright TV screens, violent movies, video games, and other sources of stimulation are a lot of fun and are, in general, very enjoyable. However, there need to be limits on how “up” we keep our brains as we head into the evening hours. There are reasons why most devices now have evening color and brightness settings for their screens. A major one is because they know how hard it is to rest when your eyes are so used to outside stimulants. You can’t expect to just close your eyes and calm your brain down.
To combat this, try avoiding caffeine after lunch. Reduce your sugar intake, and do your best to avoid eating late at night. Your body will keep working to digest whatever snack you eat while you’re trying to get to bed. Put a limit on how many video games you play or how many times you check social media. Instead, read a book, listen to some calming music, or just talk to your family to set the conditions for restful sleep.
Physical Ailments Affect Sleep
If you’re in pain, it’s going to affect how you sleep. People who struggle with things like joint pain, chronic pain, or other lingering injuries frequently report insomnia. Pain stands in the way of sleep because your body is sending you signals that a certain limb or part of your body needs attention. If you try going to bed in pain, it’s going to be a challenge. Yes, you can take pills to reduce pain and inflammation, but they generally don’t provide the quality of rest your body needs to fully replenish itself for another day.
If you have chronic pain, go see a doctor. They will either give you something to manage the pain or offer a treatment plan to see you back into full health.
Treatment Options for Insomnia
Yes, you can take prescription medicines, but they should only be reserved for dire cases of insomnia. Most people can solve their sleep disorders by taking realistic measures to tell their body it needs to sleep. If you’re still having trouble, there are other options.
Taking sleep aids like melatonin, CBD, and other natural sleep aids can be a big help. Regular exercise to wear your body out and burn off excess energy is another great idea.
Sermorelin is a peptide that has been shown in animal models to regulate sleep cycles. It accomplishes this by augmenting orexin secretion in the brain. Orexin signaling is what tells the central nervous system that it’s time to sleep. It also has a big impact on mood. Subjects given to the research peptide exhibited longer and higher-quality sleep patterns.