You may have often found yourself lying awake in bed at night, unable to fall and stay asleep, no matter how hard you try. Sometimes this is a rare, one-off occurrence, other times it can last for several days, weeks or even months.
This is a common sleep disorder known as insomnia. Simply put, insomnia can make it incredibly difficult for you to fall and stay asleep, or it could also cause you to wake up much earlier than normal, and you cannot fall back asleep. Many people who have insomnia, whether it is for one night or longer, find themselves tired and groggy throughout the daytime with low energy and an inability to concentrate.
There are two different types of insomnia you may experience;
Short term (acute) Insomnia: This is known to last only a few days or weeks. Short term insomnia is typically the result of ongoing stress or a traumatic life event. Travel can also lead to short term insomnia, especially if you are travelling to a different time zone and you experience jet lag.
Long term (chronic) insomnia: This is known to occur more consistently for a month or more and is usually the result of an undiagnosed medical condition. Long term insomnia typically requires medical treatment.
If you are experiencing insomnia, there are a few things you can do to help you sleep better:
- Keep your bedtime consistent each night
- Avoid playing on your phone or tablet, or watching TV too close to bedtime
- Get exercise during the daytime to help promote a good night’s sleep
- Avoid caffeine or alcohol close to bedtime
- Avoid eating a large meal before bedtime
- Keep your bedroom cool and comfortable
- Find ways to make yourself relaxed before bedtime, such as reading or meditating
Leaving insomnia untreated can lead to many serious health consequences. If your insomnia persists for a month or more and there is no known cause, then it may be time to speak to your doctor to discuss treatment options.