Sleep is extremely important for human health because it is during this time that the human body recovers its strength. On average, a person needs 6 to 10 hours of sleep. People spend a third of their lives sleeping, and this is perfectly justified. When we sleep, our brain processes the information received, the subconscious and conscious elements work, both types of memory (short-term and long-term) and the behavioral features of the body are formed. A person will not survive more than 200 hours without sleep. Without sleep, people become lethargic, their emotions and reactions are lost and their immunity is reduced.
Causes of insomnia
The reasons for the development of insomnia are numerous. They include mental and somatic diseases, emotional upswings, medications, bad habits, and overeating before bedtime. Among the diseases that provoke insomnia are parkinsonism, hyperthyroidism, depressive disorders, neurosis, kidney disease, and arthritis. A person’s frequent worries about everyday life, work, and global problems also negatively affect healthy sleep. We select the most common causes of insomnia in people: mental disorders and increased emotional distress, endocrine pathology, somatic diseases, apnea, bad habits (alcohol, tobacco, drugs), neurology, the side effects of medications, pain, external irritants, night work and change of time zones.
Causes of insomnia can be individual characteristics of the patient. These include age, temperament, current health status, and lifestyle of the patient. The most susceptible to insomnia are elderly people, women, and people who find themselves in difficult situations.
A low-quality mattress can become a reason for insomnia
Did you know that a good night’s sleep is just as important for your health and well-being as a balanced diet and regular physical activity?
If you often wake up tired, even in the morning after 8 or more hours of sleep, then it might be time to buy a new mattress. However, not all mattresses are made equal – some can easily become a real hazard to your health.
Today, you can find a large variety of mattresses on the market; from simple and cheap models made of fiber-type materials, to sophisticated constructions offering much better support for the back or joints. In addition, these days manufacturers offer extra accessories with new models – pillows that improve breathability and absorb moisture during sleep, toppers that increase the comfort of the mattress, etc.
Please, remember that you always want a mattress that would have a long lifespan: it will save you money and health because a mattress that sags over time provides inadequate support and your spine starts to suffer. Check these durable mattresses that provide proper support and make an informed decision.
However, there is another thing you should consider when buying a new mattress – its density. It determines how much weight it can support and how long will it last. Although there are many other important factors to take into account while choosing a good mattress, your choice should always be determined by these two parameters.
Also, you should pay attention to your own health conditions as well as to the specific weight of your partner because you should always check if a mattress is well suited for both of you.
Symptoms of insomnia
Insomnia manifests itself in trouble falling asleep, restless sleep with frequent awakenings, after which it is impossible or difficult to sleep, and daytime apathy and fatigue. The symptoms of insomnia are vivid and easily identifiable. During the day, the signs of insomnia manifest themselves as irritability, lethargy, reduced attention span, absent-mindedness, and mood swings. All this leads to a person’s social dysfunction due to the fact that the symptoms of insomnia cause a decline in motivation to do anything. People suffering from insomnia do not leave feeling sleepy during the day. Headaches and problems with the gastrointestinal tract are often observed.
Insomnia Management and Treatment
There are numerous household methods to fight insomnia. To win this “battle” you will need to master the following rules:
- Maintain a proper diet and do not overeat before going to bed. Dinner should be taken at least 3 hours before going to bed.
- Eliminate the intake of alcohol and caffeinated beverages before going to bed.
- Ventilate the room in which you sleep.
- Evening walks in the evening help to fall asleep more quickly.
- Do not get involved in watching television or working at the computer before going to bed.
- Choose a comfortable pillow and mattress.
- Allocate time for a daytime nap, if necessary.
- Normalize work and rest patterns.
- Following these simple rules helps to normalize sleep and stay healthy. If this does not help with insomnia, the help of medical professionals is needed.
- Diagnosis of insomnia
- One method of diagnosing insomnia is the Epworth scale. This scale assesses sleepiness by a score from zero to four. The patient is offered questions, and depending on the answers, the score is calculated. To rule out serious illness, doctors perform a detailed examination and examination. Insomnia can be severe or mild. To plan treatment, the doctor must identify the causes of insomnia and begin to eliminate them.
Types of Insomnia
Insomnia is defined by the DSM-IV classification of mental disorders as unsatisfactory quality and quantity of sleep that bothers a patient at least three times a week for a month. During nocturnal sleep, specialists distinguish between REM-phase and non-REM-phase. The former is a phase of rapid eye movements. The second is subdivided into 4 periods, the last two of which are called the slow-wave phase or d-sleep. It is during this phase that deep sleep occurs, restoring the body’s strength. The International Classification of Sleep Disorders defines insomnia as dyssomnia. Dyssomnia is a broader concept than insomnia. It includes difficulty falling asleep and unstable sleep (insomnia proper) and hypersomnia (increased feeling of sleepiness).
Medics distinguish between endogenous insomnia and that caused by external factors. The latter is insomnia caused by poor sleep hygiene, the use of psychoactive substances and stressful conditions. Endogenous insomnia includes insomnia of psychophysiological and idiopathic nature, obstructive apnea, restless legs syndrome, circadian rhythm disorders and non-standard work routines. Psychophysiological insomnia is caused by short-term stress and lack of sleep. Disorders of circadian rhythms may occur with disruption of the rapid or slow sleep phase. Rapid phase sleep disorders are more common for older people, and slow phase sleep disorders are more common for young people.
Somnologists classify insomnia as adaptive, psychophysiological, idiopathic, behavioral, based on mental disorders, violations of sleep hygiene, concomitant somatic diseases, taking medications, and pseudoinsomnia. Let’s take a closer look at the types of insomnia:
- Adaptive, or acute insomnia develops due to severe stress and lasts no longer than 3 months.
- With psychophysiological insomnia, the patient has a fear of not being able to fall asleep, and a general feeling of tension builds up by the evening.
- Idiopathic insomnia usually develops from childhood.
- Behavioral insomnia, which is typical for children, develops on the basis of improperly planted attitudes. Thus, a child may have insomnia just because he is not used to falling asleep without rocking, for example.
- Insomnia is often found in the list of symptoms of mental illness. The percentage of insomnia in psychiatric patients is 70% of the time.
- Insomnia resulting from poor sleep hygiene is most common due to people’s inattention to their health and sleep.
- Many somatic diseases provoke insomnia (arrhythmia, pains from ulcers, etc.).
- The improper use of medications, including sleeping pills, can cause insomnia. Insomnia is also triggered by alcohol.
- Pseudoinsomnia is a disorder in which a person’s perception of the duration and quality of sleep is impaired. Patients with pseudoinsomnia think they sleep much less than they really do.
Insomnia in children
Pediatric insomnia can be behavioral and psychophysiological, and can also be associated with the use of medications and the presence of somatic diseases. Common causes of insomnia in children include pain of various origins, reflux, otitis media, seizures, and other conditions. Behavioral insomnia occurs in 30% of preschool children. It is subdivided into association disorders and inadequate restraint. The latter category can manifest itself in a child’s refusal to go to sleep at a proper time.
Treatment of insomnia
The treatment of insomnia should be handled by a medical professional, as illiterate self-treatment can lead to unpleasant consequences. For example, unjustified taking sedatives and sleeping pills can cause an addictive effect, intoxication, adversely affect the function of internal organs and systems. Most importantly, self-medication can harm health without eliminating the problem itself. A person with insomnia can help himself in terms of following some rules called sleep hygiene. In addition, there are non-traditional ways to treat insomnia, such as psychotherapy, encephalopathy, and phytotherapy. Let’s look at them in more detail.
A psychotherapist will help the patient cope with insomnia caused by stress, anxiety, and nervous disorders. The doctor teaches the patient to change his attitude to the problem. We can say that this is a solution to the psychosomatics of insomnia. Encephalophony is not a common method in our country because it requires certain equipment. The procedure itself consists of converting electrical signals of brain activity into the sounds of music, which the patient then listens to.
On the contrary, phytotherapy – herbal medicine – has become a very common method of combating insomnia. Examples of herbs with calming and soporific effects are melissa, mint, and valerian.
As for drug treatment, there is now a wide range of drugs that affect sleep. On the one hand, this is a plus, because there is something to choose from, but on the other hand, there is the problem of selecting an individual ideal remedy for insomnia. A good medication should maintain sleep through the night, have minimal residual drowsiness and not interfere with daytime activities, as well as have little side effects and not addictive. Taking sleeping pills, you need to know some precautions. Take drugs should be on a herbal basis, such as Persen, or on the basis of melatonin, for example, Melaksen. It is possible to take sleeping pills for no more than 20 days. In addition to sleeping pills, medications include sedatives, tranquilizers, benzodiazepines, and melatonin-based remedies.
The synthetic sleep hormone melatonin regulates sleep in cases of chronic insomnia. Melatonin is approved in doses up to 5 mg. This hormone is part of the drug Melarithm, which is prescribed for insomnia after age 50. It is allowed to take such remedies for no more than three weeks. An important feature of melatonin is its ability to interact with LH (luteinizing hormone), so it should not be prescribed to girls during puberty and women during pregnancy.
Another method of insomnia therapy is hypnosis. Hypnotic treatment of insomnia can be performed after the patient reaches the age of five.
Insomnia in women is often observed during menopause. In this case, women have a desire to sleep during the day, and at night they cannot fall asleep. When insomnia in the menopausal period may require a consultation with an endocrinologist-gynecologist. As a rule, the drugs of choice for insomnia during menopause are products based on phytoestrogens. At older ages, insomnia is also a common occurrence. Often at this age, insomnia can be confused with high fatigue, because of which people sleep during the day, and at night they can no longer sleep. In order to sleep better, it is useful for older people to drink warm milk before going to bed or take a bath with herbs. Insomnia often develops against a background of alcoholic intoxication. This is due to the negative impact of alcoholic beverages on the CNS and the provocation of oxygen deprivation. Insomnia from alcohol should be treated according to the recommendations of a narcologist. It is such a specialist should prescribe pills for insomnia to addicted people. Insomnia in children can be associated with an unsteady nervous system and sleep rhythm. Insomnia in infants may be provoked by colic, a desire to eat, temperature fluctuations, and stress. Older children may suffer from insomnia due to moving and changing places of residence or study, the presence of worms, and pain of any genesis.
There are homeopathic remedies for insomnia. Among them are the following remedies:
- Aconite – used for high fever against the background of insomnia;
- Chilibukha – prescribed for increased irritability;
- Ignacia – successfully used in sad and anxious states, including states after the loss of loved ones.
Treatment in sanatoriums has a useful effect on the patient’s condition with insomnia. Such treatment is prescribed by a doctor after a complete examination of the patient. The main condition of sanatorium treatment is the withdrawal from smoking, alcohol, and drugs, compliance with the established regime of the day, and sleep. For therapy in sanatoria apply special phyto teas for insomnia, massages, physiotherapy, therapeutic exercise, and rest in the fresh air.
Insomnia treatment at home
You can find many recipes for home treatment of insomnia on the Internet. Start taking them as a treatment should be with the permission of the attending physician. Here are a few examples of such recipes:
- Dried bay leaves that are added to pillows to improve sleep.
Consumption of onions before going to bed.
- Red sweet wine with the addition of dill seeds. This mixture is boiled for about 20 minutes, infused for an hour, and taken 50 g before bedtime.
- Tincture of valerian. To prepare such an infusion at home, you need to pour a tablespoon of valerian with boiled water and insist for 7 hours. Take this remedy by a tablespoon 3 times a day. The duration of the infusion of valerian has limitations, and it is necessary to consult a doctor. In addition to valerian, you can also use motherwort for insomnia, or Glycine tablets.
Non-medicinal treatment for insomnia
Nonmedical treatments for insomnia include stimulant control and cognitive therapy, paradoxical intention techniques, relaxation, imaginative psychotherapy, and sleep control techniques. Stimulus control psychotherapy is based on associating the bed with sleep and not with watching TV, for example. According to this method, the cause of insomnia is the wrong association. For the effectiveness of this method of treatment, psychotherapists advise not to stay in the bedroom if you could not fall asleep, but rather to leave it and return only if there is a certain desire to sleep. By repeating such a procedure, the body develops the habit of falling asleep in the bedroom. The technique of paradoxical intentions and cognitive therapy are based on fighting one’s own fears of insomnia and the feelings associated with them. Muscle relaxation helps to normalize sleep, but is inferior to the stimulus-control technique. Visual psychotherapy helps to cope with problematic sleep by stopping one’s thoughts on pleasant memories or images.
And even doctors don’t recommend taking this on a consistent basis, because when you stop taking it now, you really can’t sleep. So it comes with the package. So here are some things that I would recommend. Number one, read a book instead of watching TV before you go to bed. Sounds very simple, but it really does work. You should try it going for a long walk between 45 and 60 minutes. So I always sleep better on the days that I go for these long walks. It’s low stress, lots of oxygen. Also stretching before bed, essential, especially if you’re on the computer all day. Some of you may have seen this in other articles or videos, but it’s an acupressure technique. You can use a device like this or have someone do it on you. OK, you’re going to be putting pressure and the upper part of your neck while you lay down on the couch, or I’m going to show you another way to do it. So you can apply this in someone else or they can do it to you. But this technique will completely relax all the muscles on your back to the point where you can drift off into a wonderful sleep. Next thing is to be careful of the amount of caffeine that gets built up in your liver and your liver sometimes can’t detoxify it.
So that extra caffeine will keep you up. Coffee, tea, chocolate, of course, sodas. Caffeine is in a lot of things. It’s even in certain medications and it’s in energy drinks. So we want to avoid those. Now, another good remedy is tryptophan out. Tryptophan turns into serotonin and melatonin, which is the sleep hormone. So this is a really good amino acid, but it needs to be taken on an empty stomach because it’s a building block of protein. If you consume protein at the same time to both compete and you won’t get the effect of tryptophan at all. In fact, if you eat protein with this, you will feel absolutely no change. I never recommend taking melatonin now because this is a hormone. And over time, you need more and more and more. Now, the sleep aid that I recommend not only has our tryptophan, but it has all sorts of other ingredients to extract stress and allow you to drift off into a wonderful sleep so you can wake up and not feel drowsy. I put a link down below for more information on that. All right. So now I’m going to show you the technique. Go ahead and practice it. Do it and put your comments below.
A technique that to teach you right now of how to extract stress from the body. And I would use this as a before and after to see the change. One of the biggest things that this technique is going to help you with is to improve your quality of sleep. Sleep is everything is going to help you cope with stress. It’s going to help you rejuvenate. It’s going to increase your tolerance for stress. In fact, you cannot heal the adrenals without sleep. It’s impossible. How are you going to get rid of sleep problems if you have stress? And I’m talking about cumulative stress in your body. So. So, yes, we need to go for long walks. When you get to space, we need to eat better. The first technique we’re going to show you is how to get rid of stress in your neck. OK, so that’s going to be a very cool technique. And there are different points in the neck that we’re going to work on. And then we’re going to work on the points in the mid-back and then the abdomen area. Then in the upper part of the ribcage there a lot of people a whole lot of stress. So with that, let’s get right to it and show you how to do this technique. OK, so we’re going to show you how to pull stress out of the body. The first technique is called the upper cervical.
Now, what we’re going to do is going to take this is meant to be done on someone else. So hopefully you have a twin or a partner. You can do this. I’m going to show you how to do it to yourself. But this is great to do it on someone else. OK, so you want to use this finger here? This one, I’m not flipping you off. This is this is just the middle finger right here and then your thumb, OK? And then we’re going to press this way right underneath her skull. And the most important thing is not to mess up your hair. OK, so we’re going to see there’s this little ridge underneath the skull. You’re going to slip right underneath it and you’re going to press in equally OK, and you’re going to take your hand and press in the forehead. So you’re going to press in, right. Like this. You feel that. And the key is to make sure that you’re equal, as the thumb and the middle finger, the pressure, so you’re not too much on one side. Now, what I’m doing now is I’m stimulating something in your neck that is triggering the kind of the brake pads or it’s called the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the relaxation points in the body. And the parasympathetic nervous system that comes out at this level of your spine kind of helps you sleep, helps you relax.
And so that’s why the more that I do this, the more that you’re going to feel like you want to take a nap. How does it feel so far? You’re going to go to sleep? I thought so. So I’m just pressing in right on that, and I’m just going to hold that for about an hour. Now I ask, but if I keep doing this, she’s going to feel very relaxed, so this is like the real key, her point. It’s going to pull the stress right out of your body. Now, I’ll do this for a little bit, maybe for like a minute, and then I’ll slip down to the second. Vertebra right here. This one is really good for sinus issues. So do you have any sinus issues? Did you want any signs? OK. So the sinus points, it just helps you breathe and it’s good for people that have sleep apnea. So, again, I’m just pressing my fingers in this way. In the head that way. OK. So when you come right in there and then I slowly kind of come down and I’m looking for tightness, if there’s no tightness, I’m not going to press on it. Now, when I come down to the third vertebra. On her left side is a big knot, it’s tight. So what I’ll do is I’ll just press a little more towards the left side and it’s going to make her neck feel really good.
She’s going to put the curve back in the neck. So I’m just kind of crept down lower and lower till I get right here. This is I see five. This one is really good. If you have a sore throat or a raspiness like your voice is hoarse. Let’s say you’re a musician, you like, you sing or you speak for a living and your voice is kind of raspy. You do this and it kind of opens up to the voice. Now, do you feel this point how tight this is right here? Yeah. So I’m just holding this pressure until it melts. OK, I’m not pressing that hard, and then I’m going to go all the way down very low, like to the lower points. It’s this is C6. This is really good for the thyroid. Three points. But what I’m going to do is I’m going to hold this until the entire neck is nice and loose. And she’s going to feel very relaxed in the neck. So many people hold stress in the neck. OK, look right through in there. I feel this point right here. So I’m emphasizing the left side because it’s kind of really tight in the left. OK, so how does that feel? Good like that? Yeah.
So you can let’s get the next victim, I mean, the next patient. All right. So we’re going to show you how to do this on yourself. You need a device like this. This is built after my own hand. OK, and this is great for different sizes of people with a real wide one here. This is for the top part of the neck. This is for different parts of the neck. This is for different-sized people. We’re going to take the widest one on me. Hook it on the back of my neck. Scoot this down on a tall back chair or the couch. I think this works better than using it on your pillow or when you’re going to sleep at night because you’re at a certain angle and you can apply it, you can sit back and just let these points press right into your neck. And there’s a sweet spot that you want to hit that you’ll just feel like the maximum release of stress and you’ll just want to take a nap. I fell asleep. Sometimes I’ll do this on my desk. I’ll put my feet up and I sit back and I will just like go right out. This is like the most important acupressure point for your entire spine to feel relaxed and to melt. Because you’re hitting a point called the parasympathetic. The origin of the person to the nervous system, which is right there, and that’s the turnoffs, which that’s like the rest and digest.
That’s your relaxation points. And then you do that for a little while and then you come down to the next point through here. Second one. And I had a history of a lot of neck problems, so I do this a lot to keep my neck nice and relaxed. OK, then I’ll inch down to the middle part like C5 five. And this is again, really good for tension in your upper your upper shoulders and also good for your. Believe or not, it’s going to help your voice. Yeah, hoarseness. Because what you’re doing is you’re putting stimulating these points that bring circulation to the entire front part of your neck. And I always tell people, don’t believe me, just do it and just tell me what you feel. Be skeptical and see if it prove it to yourself. And nine out of 10 times it seems to work. So you should try it. OK, so that’s. So you want to start with the first one, second, third, fourth, and it’s kind of like ease down to the lower part of your neck. OK, so that’s how you do the neck point. Now, this one here, you want to go right up underneath the clavicle, collarbone, and you’re going to. Stretch back like this.
Massage for insomnia
One of the pleasant and safe methods of treating insomnia is massage. Thus, foot massage can be mastered and applied at home for 20 minutes twice a day. Reflexive massage has no contraindications. In the fight against insomnia, a good helper can be Chinese gymnastics. Gymnastics for insomnia is carried out 10 minutes before bedtime and include massage of the head, ears, neck, stomach, and feet. On the Internet, you can find video lessons on conducting similar gymnastics.
Breathing exercises before going to sleep will help you to fall asleep sooner. Rhythmic breathing has a positive effect on the abdominal muscles, stabilizes the gastrointestinal tract and blood flow to the brain. Breathing exercises are excellent not only for young people but also for older patients with insomnia. You should not do a large set of breathing exercises at once, the load should be reasonable and enjoyable. When doing exercises, remember that you have to breathe through the nose and the exhalation should be longer than the inhalation. Breathing should be rhythmic, for this, you can mentally count. Meditations have a similar beneficial effect.
Mudras for insomnia
In terms of energy, a healthy sleep represents first of all a healthy energy exchange. Mudra for insomnia can be performed at home. To do this, you need to turn your face to the east and tune in to relaxation. The hands should be crossed on the chest (the right hand is upper), and the fingers of the hands are folded in a special position called the mudras. For insomnia, “Strengthening the Nervous System” and “Knowing” mudras will be successful.
It will be helpful to know that there are sleep points on the hands. They will help normalize sleep with insomnia. Sleep points are located symmetrically: in the corners of the pinky nails, under the elbows on the outer side, and in the area of the crease between the thumb and the index finger.
Consequences of insomnia
During sleep, the level of anabolic processes in the human body increases, and close to the evening begins its production of the sleep hormone – melatonin. It is this hormone that makes us want to sleep. In a state of sleepiness, brain activity decreases, namely we observe absent-mindedness, yawning and slowed pulse. With sleep disorders, it is difficult for a person to fall asleep quickly. In the morning, such people rarely feel rested. A consequence of such disorders can be chronic insomnia. In the future, this condition can cause complications in the form of mental disorders, breathing problems, leg cramps at night. Problems with sleep in the case of insomnia can raise blood sugar levels and provoke arrhythmia, not to mention chronic fatigue and loss of attention. Restless sleep causes depression and worsens a person’s quality of life. Therefore, it is important not to start insomnia, but to begin to fight it in time, not allowing complications to develop.
Sleeping Pills and Insomnia
My own experience with sleep disorders and insomnia
And back and we’re going to talk about sleeping pills and insomnia, sleeping pills are almost at the top of the list. So many people have a sleeping problem. But I’m going to give you some really important tips that I think can really improve the quality of your sleep. Now, I personally had a problem with sleeping in my 20s. It was so bad. Sometimes there are nights I don’t even sleep one minute. So I do understand the feeling of not being able to sleep. It’s literally torture because you’re laying there just trying all these techniques and you’re getting all worked up. And it’s just really frustrating.
Two main cons of sleeping medication
Now, there are two big problems with sleeping pills. Six out of 10 people have side effects from sleeping pills. So the next day you feel drowsy or you have confusion or forgetfulness or you’re tired. I mean, the goal of sleeping is to recharge your body so you can have energy through the day, not feel this way. And based on several studies, the benefits from sleeping pills are not as great as you might think, because some of them only give you a small amount of extra sleep. It’s less than 30 minutes and only helps you go to sleep between eight and 20 minutes faster.