Insomnia has a negative effect on your overall productivity. You often feel fatigued and sleepy the following day. Also, you will be anxious, depressed and even irritable the morning after. Chronic insomnia may affect your physical health. So what causes insomnia? How can we manage this condition? At Penda we care about your overall well-being. Today we teach you the common causes of insomnia and how to manage the condition.
Causes of Insomnia
- Stress: Is anything worrying you? Do you feel anxious all the time? Do you stay up all night thinking about something in particular? Have you lost a loved one recently? Stress is a major cause of insomnia.
- Medical conditions: Some medical conditions can cause insomnia. If you have stomach problems or an overactive thyroid for example, your sleep pattern will be affected. When you are in constant pain, you will also be unable to sleep.
- Medications and drugs: Some medications have agents that can affect your sleep cycle. Stimulants and amphetamines will give you high levels of brain activity. Chewing miraa, for instance, is one of the common causes of lack of sleep. Avoid smoking just before bedtime as well. Cigarettes contain nicotine which stimulates brain activity making it harder to sleep.
- A change in schedule: If you are used to sleeping during the night and suddenly you have to work at night, your sleep pattern in the next following days will be affected. Afternoon naps will also affect the amount of sleep you get during the night. Pushing your sleeping time further by a few hours may also affect your cycle.
How to sleep better
- Reduce noise in your room: Some people like to sleep with the radio or television on. When you are having trouble sleeping, this kind of noise is likely going to make the condition worse.
- Switch off the lights: Light causes a drop in production of a hormone that is responsible for sleep known as melatonin. Therefore, light will negatively affect how you sleep. Switch off the lights in your room when you go to sleep to get a better experience.
- Avoid caffeine in the evenings: Many of us like to take a cup of tea before going to sleep. Some people say, the tea helps the food slide down. However, tea will worsen insomnia. Caffeine in the tea is going to stimulate activity in your brain. Other caffeinated drinks to avoid just before bedtime are coffee and sodas.
- Sleeping aids: There are a variety of over the counter sleeping aids that can help you sleep better. These work by decreasing the level of activity in the brain. Visit us at Penda Health for sleeping aids that can help you sleep better.
- Sleep at the same time each day: As much as possible try to have a regular sleeping pattern. Avoid watching movies and series late into the night. If you can, keep a sleep diary and record the time you go to sleep each day. The diary will help you identify any problems with your pattern.
- Exercise: Exercise increases your temperature. The decrease in temperature when you finish the work out will make you fall asleep easily. Exercise also alleviates your worries by producing endorphins. Endorphins improve your mood and decreases your anxiety. Exercise is good for your general well-being and is useful for management of various chronic conditions that induce insomnia.
- Eliminate the stressor: If your sleep disturbance is stress induced, try to talk to a friend or relative about the problem. Sharing the issue may give you clarity and you may even get a solution. Apart from that, sharing will reduce your stress and help you sleep better.
When to see a doctor
- When you are unable to sleep properly for more than one month despite carrying out the remedies detailed above.
- If your insomnia begins after starting a new medication or due to a medical condition
- If your breathing is affected at night making you wake up often