What is insomnia?
The term insomnia means an inability to fall asleep or to remain asleep for an adequate length of time. This may lead to chronic tiredness that badly affects your daily life.
However most people have problems sleeping at some time or other.
Why Do We Need Sleep?
Sleep is an opportunity for our bodies to repair themselves, both physically (e.g., torn muscles, organ cleaning) and psychologically (e.g., working through anxiety). Each sleep cycle (which lasts about 100 minutes) is divided up into physically repairing sleep and psychologically repairing sleep. When we first fall asleep, more time is spent in physically repairing sleep; later in the sleep cycle more time is spent in psychologically repairing sleep. Age influences the balance between these two types of sleep.
Babies spend more time in psychologically repairing sleep (dream state) because their bodies don’t need as much physical repair. Older adult spend more time in physically repairing sleep because their bodies are more vulnerable to damage.
Anxiety, depression and poor sleep habits can interfere with sleep patterns and disrupt the natural ability of the body to repair itself.
Effects of lack of sleep include:
_Ways to improve sleep
There are many ways you can improve sleep. While there are a number of sleep medications available many of them have significant side effects and none are meant to be used as a long-term solution to sleep problems.
However you can often improve your sleep simply by changing aspects of your night time routines. These strategies fall under several categories; try using as many of these strategies as you can in order to see what works for you.
Developing a Suitable Environment
Intake of Food and Drink
Aspects of Mental Control
Developing a Positive Sleep Behaviour
Most people can overcome their insomnia by following the advice above or see more of our tips on sleep hygiene. If this doesn't work, consult your GP.
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Content by Jane Morris - connect with me on Google+