Insomnia is a fairly common sleep problem in the population. It can present as problems falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep at night, or waking up too early with no chance of falling back to sleep.
In general, the recommended sleeping hours for an adult is between 7 and 8 hours, when the rest is lower for a prolonged period, it may affect our day-to-day development.
The quality of sleep can be affected by our life situation, moments of change, stressful or traumatic situations that we have recently experienced. However, when these sleep problems become chronic, they may no longer be related to the stressful situations we may experience. These sleep problems can be the main condition or be associated with other problems that the person has already presented.
What are the effects of this problem?
The most common symptoms insomnia are:
- Difficulty falling asleep and maintaining sleep.
- Waking up very early and not being able to go back to sleep.
- Mood changes, such as irritability, anxiety, sadness – Tiredness upon waking as if we had not slept.
- Lack of concentration.
- Behavioral changes.
- Drowsiness and lack of energy during the day.
Insomnia can cause day-to-day problemsdifficulties in developing work or studies normally, concentration problems that prevent us from satisfactorily carrying out tasks such as driving, work or domestic tasks, and even, up to affecting our mood making us more irritable, even anxious, we may end up feeling depressed because of it.
What to do
If you feel like you’re going through all of this, I recommend starting a sleep hygiene routine to try and improve the quality of it. The steps of a good sleep hygiene routine are as follows.
1. Try to go to bed at the same time every day (only varying by 30 minutes at this time)
This way your internal clock will start to get used to generate melatonin always at the same time and it will be easier for you to fall asleep when you lie down.
2. Use your bedroom only for sleeping and having sex
Sometimes we read, watch series or do some type of exercise in our bedroom, the idea of using it only for sleep and sex is that our brain associates it with sleep and that it is easier for us to sleep when we decide to go to bed.
3. Complete the exercise at least two hours before going to bed
This type is very simple, burning energy will always help us fall asleep earlier, but when we finish exercising, we are very active, so it will be almost impossible for us to fall asleep after doing it.
4. Beware of alcohol and other drugs
At first it may seem that when we drink alcohol or certain drugs like cannabis, we manage to fall asleep earlier. The problem is that we are more likely to have nocturnal awakenings and that the dream is of lower quality.
5. Avoid taking stimulants after five o’clock in the afternoon
If you drink coffee at eight o’clock in the afternoon, it is logical that because of the caffeine, it will cost you more to fall asleep; it happens with any exciting drink.
6. Don’t take very long or very late naps
Try not to let the nap exceed 30 minutes and that it is not more than five o’clock in the afternoon. This way I will arrive tired at bedtime and it will be easier for me to fall asleep.
7. Try creating your own ritual for half an hour before you go to bed.
This routine is for your brain to associate these activities in this order with falling asleep and producing melatonin.
8. Pay attention to your diet
Try to always eat at the same time and try to make it a healthy meal and not eat big meals or be hungry at night so as not to prevent you from falling asleep and having a good quality of sleep .
Remember that insomnia can be a secondary problem, complementary to a central problem; therefore, if you are implementing this sleep hygiene routine and still have trouble sleeping, mood swings, irritability, anxiety, or problems in your daily life, I recommend to ask for the help of a professional that I accompany you to discover the central cause and to make your own way.