Insomnia is the inability to sleep or difficulty staying asleep. It is a problem that affects many people, especially in the industrialized countries where sleep disorders diminish quality of life and influence on people's life.
On the other hand, insomnia is one of the main reasons for accidents at work due to the lack of attention that the person who endures it shows. It is believed that 10% of the population suffers from this sleep disorder.
Insomnia affects more older people and women during pregnancy or menopause than young women and men. People must sleep properly to feel well. Prolonged sleep difficulty produces a state of irritability and can cause depression.
We have to distinguish between a temporary sleep problem, that is one that can last about 20 days or less, and a chronic insomnia problem, a serious disorder when the inability to sleep lasts longer.
How many hours do we need to sleep?
There is no exact number of hours a person must sleep. When somebody is young one needs to sleep many more hours. Babies spent 3 / 4 of the day sleeping.
A child may need 9 or 10 hours. An adult usually sleeps about 7 or 8 hours, but some people need less. Older people need less sleep hours. As an average the have enough with 6 hours.
One can say that a person sleeps enough when, at the time he gets up, he realizes he has slept enough and, besides, he feels good during the day . It is believed that when a person has insomnia, after getting up in the morning, he feels he has not slept enough, during the day he undergoes the need to sleep, he has a heavy head feeling and experiences concentration difficulties.
Symptoms of insomnia
The main symptoms of insomnia are:
- Failure to sleep
- Inability to sleep for long hours
- Waking up too early in the morning or in the middle of the night
- Lack of concentration
- Mental heaviness
- Heavy head
Bags under the eyes, etc.
Causes of insomnia
There are many causes that prevent us from sleeping . Among all of them, we will mention the following:
- Stress: situations of personal distress caused by problems related to work, the couple, friends and so on., Depression, are the cause one can not sleep.
- Inadequate rest habits: There are many inadequate sleeping habits that impede us to acquire proper sleep routines. (Replacing constantly sleep schedule, Changing the day work shift by a night one or vice versa, suffering jet lag, staying awake for long during holiday night , sleeping too long during summer afternoons, etc.)
- Environmental or material problems: Environmental noise, no proper bed, with very soft mattress, a room where too much light enters, etc. sometimes prevent us from sleeping.
- An inappropriate diet : A too heavy meal, too rich in animal fat or shortly before bedtime. The use of alcohol or caffeine may impede a proper sleep.
- Exercise: A strong physical exercise, conducted shortly before bedtime, often puts a stop to sleeping . Similarly, a sedentary lifestyle is often responsible for this pathology.
- Misuse of the bed: The habit of reading , listening to music or watching television in bed are sometimes the origin of sleep problems.
- Excessive heat: When it is too hot , it is generally very difficult to sleep. This is particularly seen during hot summers.
- Physical diseases: Certain physical illnesses, such as problems of low blood sugar, iron deficiencies, thyroid diseases, respiratory diseases, (snoring, sleep apnea or asthma). etc. affect sleep. The physical pain caused by some diseases, especially of rheumatic nature, or the medicines used to treat them, can make sleeping a very difficult task.
Treatment of insomnia
Often insomnia remedies are solved with simple measures (See details of " How to sleep better" in the listing above)
If the problem becomes chronic and does not improve, after applying such appropriate remedies, you should visit the specialist who will make a study of the actual causes and will establish the appropriate treatment.
Natural treatment of insomnia can complement conventional treatment prescribed by your doctor.