Dealing with insomnia can be the most frustrating thing ever.
Tossing around your bed at night, trying your best to stay still yet your brain is fully functioning. You might be stressed from unfinished work, or an upcoming test. Or being afraid of a social event you are attending, like a college gathering. The most ironic one is being stressed over losing sleep. Nothing irks me more than knowing how tired i’ll be later during the day, just because my body refused to cooperate.
What is insomnia?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder, where both your quantity and quality of sleep is affected. Typically, there are two types of insomnia.
Primary Insomnia – lack of sleep is not attributed to any other health issue
Secondary Insomnia – lack of sleep stemming from other psychical or psychological conditions, like anxiety
However, there is a distinct difference between suffering from insomnia and having sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation is mostly short termed, where exhaustion will eventually take over and you fall asleep. Insomnia is more persistent, with multiple symptoms.
How does insomnia works?
Long term conditions ranging from breathing problems to digestions problem can often overcome the fatigue that’s meant to knock you out. For some, stressing over an event in your life can often create hormones responsible for the “Fight or Flight” response throughout the day and night, making you extra sensitive to your surroundings.
Your bedroom will become your source of anxiety as you relate it to sleepless nights. It’s a vicious cycle, as even if you’re able to sleep, your brain would still be alert during your sleep. You’ll wake up still fatigued, as if you haven’t slept a wink. Suffering from this for a duration longer than a month counts as chronic insomnia.
The weird things we know and don’t know about sleep!
Scientists basically don’t have the definitive answer of why we sleep. But we do know that sleep is so important that we’ll die from sleep deprivation faster than from food deprivation. Sleep is also known to be the mechanism for our brain to safely store our memories, and it also cleans out your brain in the microscopic manner. No dyson vacuum magic here!
There are however, multiple experiments on sleep deprivation that contradicts the above paragraph! A 17-year-old was awake for 11 straight days and did not suffer any long term effects. Studies conducted on rats have it bad though, as all test subjects dies after 2-3 weeks of no sleep.
People that sleep on average of 6-8 hours tend to live longer, while any less or any more leads to a higher chance of different diseases. Most college students and young adults live with a “sleep debt” that they’ll repay on the weekends. Crunch the hours during the weekdays, and sloth out after a night of partying on the weekends by sleeping 12 hours straight. As tempting as it sounds, it doesn’t take a genius to know that it’s unhealthy.
How can i stop my insomnia?
Do take note to avoid using sleeping pills or alcohol to aid you in sleeping. Those will often lead to dependence, and there is a high potential of abuse. Only use sleeping pills when prescribed by a doctor!
Everybody’s a little different, so understand that you should be patient and try out all the different techniques before being frustrated once more. With that being said, here’s four tips you can follow to curb the long nights.
Healthy sleeping habits
This is a huge huge factor in most people’s sleep, bad habits like using the phone on the bed, or watching late night shows. Good sleep practices include being in a dark and comfortable environment. New sheets, an air freshener, etc will help with being at ease.
Only use the bed for sleeping, as it is a form of stimuli control. You can condition the body to know when to sleep, but you need discipline! If you fail to sleep within 20 minutes, stop and try to tire yourself out doing other meditative activities, like writing a diary or meditating.
All these require a certain level of commitment, but it’s worth doing to get your beauty sleep!
As much as I want to say I’ve cured my insomnia, I’m still battling with it after many months. However, I chanced upon a program created by a Natural Health Expert and it has really helped me out with sleeping on schedule. His name is Christian Goodman, author of many health related books. After trying out many different methods, I can safely recommend his program to be the most effective in both the short and long term. You can check out the program here.
While a good jog in the day would release chemicals that’ll allow you to have a more restful sleep, there’s more to it! Our bodies have a circadian rhythm, think of it like a bio-clock. It is very sensitive to light, so a morning jog will allow your body to fully wake up and sync to the rotation of the sun.
This makes it easier to sleep at designated timings when you have a scheduled lifestyle. A worked out body will naturally crave sleep. Quick, hit the gym!
Avoid drugs or caffeine
Drugs have been know to alter the sleep and resting hours of individuals significantly. More common forms of chemical usage includes smoking and drinking coffee. Avoiding those activities in the evening helps a lot with sleeping regularly!
Remember, it’s always good advice to quit smoking!
ASMR is a new phenomenon that came from YouTube. I’m sure you’ve encountered some ASMR videos deep in YouTube’s rabbit hole. The origins are unclear, but it might have been from one of Bob Ross’ painting videos, where viewers felt extremely calm and ease.
Studies on ASMR has revealed that ASMR videos indeed gives the viewer a sense of calm and excitement, coupled with non-sexual arousal.
One of the problem I faced while trying to sleep is that my mind is always running wild, even after a day of exercise. After personally trying out ASMR, it engages my mind while relaxing it, restricting my mind from thoughts, while keeping it relaxed. For this reason, I would highly recommend watching an ASMR video or two before sleep (or even while trying to sleep!)
You can check out some of my videos where I paint or play with slime below!
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