INSOMNIA


Proverbs 3:24 “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.”

Insomnia can be defined as difficulty in sleeping. Much unlike what people may think, insomnia is not defined by how many hours of sleep are obtained at night. The length of hours required to sleep at night varies from person to person. While most people will need 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night, some people can do it with less and some people more. It is nice to point out here that it is not unusual to have sleep troubles from time to time. However, when this becomes a fairly consistent pattern, then you could be dealing with insomnia. Other problems associated with insomnia include difficulty in going to sleep at night, waking up early in the morning (common when you are worrying), waking at night and unable to go back to sleep, sleeping and waking up tired. There could be daytime fatigue, difficulty concentrating and irritability. There are mainly two types of insomnia. Insomnia could be primary or secondary. Primary in the sense that it occurs ab initio, with no other health condition. Secondary insomnia is the sleeplessness that arises with existing health conditions like depression, heartburn, malaria, viral illnesses, etc. Insomnia may also be classified based on the duration. It could be acute when it last for a day to some few weeks, chronic when you have insomnia at least three times a week lasting at least a month, and intermittent when he happens in periods of remission between. Some of the causes of acute insomnia include the death of a loved one, sickness, environmental factors such as noise, extreme temperatures or jet lag.

Certain habits promote a good night rest and sleep. These are listed as follows:

  1. Going to sleep at the same time of the day and getting up at the same time in the morning. Our body mechanism responds better to consistency, rather than inconsistency.
  2. Ensure you exercise regularly. This has been found to be effective in helping the body relax sufficiently well. Exercises, however, should not be done close to bedtime otherwise the effect could be counter-productive. Exercises should be done not less than three hours before you go to bed.
  3. Avoid eating heavy meals late in the night. Taking a light snack close to bedtime may be helpful.
  4. Don’t take coffee, nickel team or alcohol close to bedtime. These agents can act as stimulants and may keep you wide awake and toss in the bed.
  5. If you have a problem with worrying about things at night, you could do a to-do-list before you go to bed. This helps you to on clutter your mind.
  6. Follow a routine for winding down at the end of the day before going to sleep. This could be listening to music, reading a book or taking a shower.
  7. Taking a glass of warm milk before going to bed could be relaxing. Milk is known to have a high content of calcium which could have a soothing effect on the nervous system.

Treatment of Insomnia

Transient and short-term insomnia may not require treatment since episodes last only if you days. For example, insomnia due to a change in a person’s biological clock from jet lag would often get back to normal without any intervention. However, in situations where daytime activities are affected, there may be a need to see your doctor for medications, usually for some few days. Treatment for a patient with a primary type of insomnia would require identifying behaviours that worsen insomnia, modify them or stop them out right. Behavioural therapy is another treatment option for insomnia. This is offered by a psychologist, psychiatrist or any other health practitioner with specialised training. Some common behavioural round method approaches are as follows:

  1. Cognitive therapy: This is designed to help patients with attitudes and beliefs that may contribute to poor sleep. An example is someone that uses is bedtime as to worry.
  2. Stimulus control: This is a form of reconditioning. It seeks to train the sufferer to associate the bed and bedtime with sleep. For most people, this means not using the beds for any other activity other than sleep and sex. As part of the reconditioning process, the person is advised to go to bed only when sleepy. If unable to sleep, he is encouraged to get up from the bed, go to another room and engage in other relaxing activities until he feels like sleeping. Throughout this process of reconditioning, he avoids afternoon naps, wakes up and goes to bed at the same time each day. Eventually, the person’s body is conditioned to associate the bed and bedtime with sleep.
  3. Relaxation therapy: These are specific and efficient techniques that can reduce or eliminate anxiety and body tension. Relaxation therapy helps the mind to calm down, the muscles to relax, and restful sleep talk or.

 These techniques require some practice to learn and to use to achieve effective relaxation. A patient had been secondary insomnia would need to be investigated and treated for any underlying medical or psychological problems. Drugs used to treat this insomnia and known as hypnotics. Some of these drugs have been known to be less effective after several weeks of nightly use, and the long-term safety and effectiveness remain in doubt. These drugs are advised to be taken as a doctor’s prescription if they would be required to be used for a long time.

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