“A good night’s sleep” is probably one of the most underrated phrases in the world. The root cause of almost all health problems is lack of good sleep. Sleep is a bodily function that is not only related to our body’s metabolism, but is also related to our emotions and mental well-being. Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is characterised by inability of a person to fall asleep, or difficulty staying asleep. Insomnia can cause several other subsequent disorders. Physiological disorders like overweight or obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and poor immune system are often caused by insomnia, while its psychological effects include slowed reaction time, impaired judgement and vision, depression, anxiety, and even lower libido.
Often, people having delayed sleep phase syndrome or DSPS are misdiagnosed with Insomnia. DSPS is a mild disorder, usually seen among teenagers and youth who complain that they are able to sleep only after midnight, and have difficulty in waking up during morning hours. But once these patients fall asleep, whenever it may be, they generally sleep well as long as they are not deliberately woken up. On the other hand, Insomniacs suffer at 3 levels. Transient Insomnia is inability of a person to sleep
What causes insomnia? There are number of causes – it may be a side effect of some other psychological problem or medication. In the fast moving world today, with its hectic lifestyles, and never-ending pressures, it is not very uncommon or even surprising to see someone suffering from it. Most young people today, working long hours, often resort to drinking too many cups of coffee or tea. This over intake of caffeine is a major cause of insomnia. Other major killers are smoking and alcohol. So the next time you try using the bottle or the butt as an excuse for sound sleep – please do remember that it may be your worst enemy. Mental disorders, like stress, fear, anxiety, bipolar disorder, clinical depression, post traumatic stress, schizophrenia or OCD are the major psychological causes of insomnia. Other causes may be over usage of OTC or sleep-inducing tablets, hormonal disturbances, acute physical pain (which prevents the person from being in a comfortable position to fall asleep) and so on.
There are several cures for insomnia, based on the cause. The first basic step is however, to admit to oneself and accept that one has a problem. Then get a diagnosis. Most of the time, insomnia can be treated with medical help – which may involve consuming prescribed tablets as per doctor’s advice. Other ways are to give up deadly habits like smoking, alcohol and caffeine. No matter what excuse you may give yourself, the truth is that they are killing you. However, if you don’t have any of these habits and medicines don’t seem to be working, you may want to consider consulting a therapist, and getting a diagnosis. Often hypnosis has a calming effect on the mind and can help one to fight insomnia. However, proper medical consultation is must. And don’t ever underestimate the age old solution – love and care of family members. Remember, how peaceful and calm you feel in the presence of your parents, or spouse and children? Often, a loving touch and a reassuring voice is all one needs to calm the demons in their head. Meditation and yoga, or sincere prayers also work miracles, sometimes where even medical science fails. Whatever it is, it depends on the nature of the problem, and that of the individual.
So, sleep tight, and take care. A good night’s sleep is really all that it takes most times to solve any number of problems.