How To Cure Insomnia {10 Ways To Fall Asleep Faster And Easily}

Sleeping soundly

What are the causes of Insomnia

Are you tossing and turning around in your bed night after night because you have great difficulty in falling asleep? It is very frustrating, isn't it? Well, you are not alone as insomnia is quite a common problem for many people. As a matter of fact, it is estimated that up to more than half of all American people suffer from poor sleep quality or sleeping disorder at some time or another in their lives. In order to understand and find a cure for this sleepless and very frustrating condition, let us examine what is insomnia all about and what causes it.

There are a few types of insomnia symptoms, such as having difficulty in falling asleep, waking up a couple of times in the middle of the night, waking up in the night and then is unable to or have difficulty in falling asleep again or waking up too early before you have had enough of your shut eye. Regardless of the type of sleeping disorder pattern you are struggling with, having insomnia is a form of sleep deprivation and can only bring forth many negative health implications to you. So it is vitally important that you should always have at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night and more if you can.



Insomnia sleeping disorder is basically divided into two main categories. First is the acute insomnia, which most of us would have experienced it now and then. This is a short period of time of having sleeping problem and then it goes away by itself. Acute insomnia is actually rather common and medical help is usually not needed

The second category is chronic insomnia which it is a long term sleeping disorder and professional help is certainly needed if you fall into this category as it can lead to major negative health conditions if it is left untreated.
















 




Getting enough sleep is vital for your body and mind to recover, repair and to revitalize from the wear and tear exerted on the body thru the course of the day. It is also the time for your body to produce more hormones, such as testosterone and human growth hormones for these purposes. As such, sleep deprivation not only makes you tired and irritable, it can also cause many mental and physical health problems such as incoherent thought processes, high blood pressure, cardiac diseases, amnesia, wreaking havoc on your immune system and diabetes, just to name a few. Will these negative effects enough to scare you into doing something to get enough sleep regularly?

If you go without sleep for a period of time, you may start to have hallucinations, even hearing or seeing things that are not there at all. Your imagination may also run wild, just like having a vivid and terrifying nightmare while you are still awake. This can then develop into further disorders like manic depression, having suicidal thoughts, panic and anxiety attacks. This can be very frightening, don't you think so?

Furthermore, you may experience a potentially dangerous condition known as microsleep. This is a condition when you suddenly fall asleep for a couple of seconds or a few minutes without even realizing it yourself. As such, a person who is in a microsleep mode is in a very dangerous and precarious situation as accidents occurring thereof are very real and present since you may suddenly just doze off while driving a car, operating a piece of machinery or falling down from high places and so on.

In fact, insomnia can be a very vicious cycle because since you are all stressed up about not having enough sleep and then the stress and anxiety will carry on to fuel further sleeplessness. This anguishing cycle will then repeats itself again and again until depression sets in. Sounds familiar?

Having not enough sleep can also cause you to gain weight and I am not kidding you. This is because you are mentally and physically stressed out and in this situation, more of your stress hormone known as cortisol is being released into your system. When your cortisol level is high, your body tends to store up body fat, especially around the belly area (visceral fat). To make matters worse, when your cortisol level is high, your fat burning hormone called testosterone is being suppressed making it a double whammy against fat loss. A lack of testosterone will in turn go on to cause erectile dysfunction, muscle loss, low libido as well as a host of male medical conditions.

Sometimes insomnia can be as a result from other medical conditions such as in the Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, a traumatic experience, depression, arthritis pain, heartburn or acid re-flux, sleep apnea, neck pain, restless leg syndrome, thyroid problems and so on. These are known as secondary insomnia. Other secondary insomnia can be caused by taking certain medications, caffeine consumption such as in drinking too much coffee, drug and alcohol abuse. ​Once these secondary conditions are removed, you are very likely to go back to sleeping normally.

If you are not so sure about the causes of your insomnia, then you many want to keep a sleep diary which is a technique to identify the reasons of your sleeplessness. In your diary, you will need to keep track of the time you go to bed, how long it takes for you to actually doze off into dreamland, the time of your waking up, how well did you slumber on that particular night and all your other sleep details for a diagnosis by your doctor or sleep therapist. Your sleep professional may also need to do a thorough check up and conduct some tests on you to ascertain as to whether there are any other secondary medical conditions that may be the cause of your sleeping problem.














































So what are the ways to prevent or cure insomnia? For secondary insomnia, the main thrust will be to treat its underlying causes, preferably with professional help. For chronic insomnia, then you will have to visit a sleep specialist as some medical tests will be required as part of the treatment. As for acute insomnia, here are ten simple conventional ways to prevent and treat it.

 

1) Develop a good regular sleeping routine pattern - Try to go to bed at the same time whenever possible in order to coach and coax your body and mind to become programmed to your regular "sleeping time". Our internal circadian biological clock or body clock regulates the timing between periods and duration of sleepiness and wakefulness. Therefore the idea here is to train your body clock towards a particular sleeping time and let it form into a regular pattern of habit.

2) Avoid substances that can cause sleeplessness -  Some examples are alcohol, caffeine, sugary food and some types medication. Also avoid sugar and high glycemic carbohydrates in your last meal before bed time as they will spike up your energy level making falling asleep so much more difficult. Remember, some people do drink coffee to keep themselves awake and therefore caffeine is a powerful stimulant which may keep you awake.

3) Avoid mental and physical stimulation before bedtime - Stay away from any physical exercise and activities, eat or drink, watching television, playing with computer games, replying emails, texting messages to and fro and any other forms of mental and physical stimulation near bed time. It is time to rest and to start winding down. As such you have to keep the excitement hormones such as adrenaline as low as you possibly can, so that you can be in a more restful state to slip into a peaceful slumber. In other words, start winding down your mind and body incrementally towards bed time.

4) Get comfortable - Wear loose comfortable clothing and keep your room dark and cool. You are more likely to fall asleep when you are at ease and is feeling relaxed and comfortable.

5) Avoid stress and anxiety - Learn the art of relaxation and breathing techniques that will relax you. You can take up courses or search for video clips in the internet for these techniques if you don't know how to. You can also try listening to relaxation music specifically designed for sleeping or recorded sleep hypnosis to help you to fall gently asleep. 

6) Take supplement - There are also non-prescriptive sleep inducing supplements such as valerian root and melatonin which you can get over the counter at a pharmacy near you. Ask your local pharmacist about them. 

7) Sleeping pills - Take sleeping pills only upon your doctor's advise as they can have very negative side effects like addiction, drowsiness during waking hours, negative unusual behavior, nausea and others. Remember, sleeping pills are not a cure as they only serve to only temporarily relief your sleeplessness. Furthermore, they are fraught with side effects. Worse, if you get addicted to them, your insomnia problem may become worse than ever before.

8) Take a warm bath - Soaking yourself in warm water helps to relax your muscles making it easier to fall asleep. Remember, the water must be warm enough for your muscles to loosen up. So enjoy the relaxation in your bathtub and stay in it longer, don't rush. Enjoy the dip like as if you are in a spa.

9) Avoid taking naps - Avoid taking naps during your waking hours as it may affect your sleeping rhythm thus in the process upsetting your natural biological clock.

10) Train your brain  - Train your brain to sleep whenever you want to with this cure insomnia program.






1) Why are doctors discouraging people from taking sleeping pills? - Although taking sleeping pills may be a quick fix to have a better night's sleep, it is fraught with negative side effects. For those of you with heartburn and GERD(Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease), some research have reported that certain types of sleeping pills can exacerbate the effect of acid reflux which can cause serious damage to the stomach linings and the oesophagus. Furthermore, how can you fall asleep peacefully with your heartburn constantly irritating you?

Most people will also develop an unhealthy adaptability to the sleeping pills after using them. They will have to take bigger and bigger dosages to get the same effect as before the adaptation. This could lead to dangerous overdoses that can even bring about dire and fatal consequences.

Some types of sleeping pills may cause people to go into a state called parasomnia just like the zombies. This is a semi-conscious state somewhat akin to sleep walking. They are awake, but are unaware of what they are doing and upon awakening from the trance like state, could not even recall what they have said and done. This can be very dangerous and accident prone such as the victims of parasomnia might be jumping out of a window or crossing a road with heavy traffic without knowing what they are actually doing.

Sometimes, people wake up before the effect of the sleeping pills are over. So they may still be in a drowsy state of mind when getting on through the day. Problems may occur when they are driving or operating a piece of machinery which may result in accidents happening or of course, not performing as well at workplace as in contrast to when they are being fully awake.

The prospect of getting addicted to the sleeping pills is another major problem to be considered. This condition is called rebound insomnia and patients may also suffer from withdrawal symptoms too. In other words, their insomnia is now worse than before.

Furthermore, some studies found that middle aged folks who take sleeping pills for more than a couple of months may be more susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease which is a neuro degenerative disorder.

2) Am I to understand that certain medical conditions can also cause insomnia? - Yes, some medical disorders can cause insomnia in that they make the patients uncomfortable or in pain thus making them having difficulty to fall asleep. Some of these conditions are arthritis, fibromyalgia, enlarged prostate (frequent urges to urinate thus waking up often to do so), incontinence and acid reflux (sometimes also referred to as heartburn), just to name a few conditions.

Some psychological conditions can also affect the sleeping pattern such as worrying, stress, anger, sadness, depression, excitement and anxiety.

3) You mentioned Melatonin earlier in the article. How helpful is this sleep supplement? - Melatonin is an over the counter non prescriptive supplement to help people to sleep better. It is a hormone that is produced in the brain and helps to manage your sleeping and waking up cycle. It is supposed to send signals to the brain that it is time to be in bed sleeping. How effective the supplement works will depend on how severe each person's insomnia problem is.

4) Is it true that women are more likely to suffer from insomnia? - Yes, women are more likely to suffer from insomnia. It is estimated that about twice as many women suffer from insomnia in comparison to their male counterparts. Hormonal changes in women during their menstrual cycle and menopause may cause this sleep disorder.

The hormonal, physical and emotional changes during pregnancy can also affect their ability to fall asleep. In the later stage of pregnancy, the expectant mother may tend to urinate more frequently in the night and thus waking up multiple times to go to the toilet or having difficulty in sleeping because of physical discomfort caused by their bigger bellies. 

Furthermore, women are also more susceptible to medical conditions that lead to secondary insomnia such as depression, fibromyalgia, anxiety and restless leg syndrome. The restless leg syndrome which is also known as Willis-Ekbom Disease is a condition that causes awkward and weird sensations in the lower limbs culminating in a strong urge to keep moving or twitching them. 

The manifestation of the restless legs symptoms can sometimes be rather severe and acute in the the night especially so when the patient is sitting or lying down in bed thus causing more interruption and difficulties in falling asleep. 





 

10 Tips to cure insomnia and have better sleep quality

Watch Dr Josh Axe talking about the natural cures for insomnia in the video below.

Infographic on the causes of insomnia

This chart shows some of the more common causes of acute and chronic insomnia.

Frequently Asked Questions (Q&A)

Having a good night sleep
Video on how to cure insomnia
















About The Author - Chris Chew is the health, fitness and grooming consultant to the Mister International Organization, which is the owner and producer of the Mister International and Mister Singapore Pageants. He is presently sitting on the advisory panel of Personal Trainers In Singapore and is himself an experienced and certified Master Trainer.

Chris is also the Director of food health and hygiene for food and beverage establishments such as Kingdom Food Group of restaurants.

This article was researched and presented here by Chris and is meant to be helpful to the readers. It is not meant to diagnose or suggest any treatment in lieu of your medical professional's advise.

Chris is based in the cosmopolitan tropical island nation of Singapore and is still training his clients for fat loss, muscle building and general physical fitness in his free time and he can be contacted
here


 

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