You may not be suffering from true insomnia just because you have difficulty falling asleep, though this may be one of the symptoms. Some guidelines state you could have insomnia if you have just one symptom, such as this difficulty, but you may want to look at your lifestyle and habits a bit more in depth before saying this is your problem.
Take a close look at some of the symptoms. They include:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Not being able to stay asleep
- Waking up very early in the morning
- Not feeling rested or restored after a night’s sleep
- Low levels of energy
- Difficulty concentrating on work or other tasks during the day
- Irritability, especially when it consistently follows a lack of sleep
- Other behavior issues and problems with family relationships
It’s important to look at insomnia over a period of time, and not self-diagnose when you have one or two bad nights.
In the medical field, it’s generally believed that insomnia is chronic when it occurs three nights or more per week and this pattern lasts for several months. Three months of the pattern is probably a good indication you need to make some significant changes.
You may have to make some adjustments to your regular behavior, especially when your routine in the evening and at night do not give your body and brain basic clues for sleep.
You may also need to look at your sleep schedule and how it fits with your biological clock. Going to bed at 10 p.m., for example, and waking up at 6 a.m. may not be the right schedule – for you.
It’s also important to have insight to medical or psychiatric issues you need to address before you can expect to sleep at night on a consistent basis. Think of it in the way medical researchers do – your brain simply cannot stop being awake.
Many people say their mind just won’t “shut off” or their thoughts move “faster” when they lay down at night. The brain has a sleep cycle and a wake cycle. One will not operate fully without the other being shut off.
Insomnia can be a serious problem with these cycles. If your brain is driving you to stay awake, it may be impossible to sleep. It’s as simple as that. Y
ou may have to work with a sleep therapist or other specialist to determine just what your sleep cycle and wake cycle are, before you can do anything else to get a night’s rest. As you consider this, think about how a lack of sleep, or insomnia, is affecting the rest of your life. Visit Insomnia Tracks to learn more.
If you feel you have no energy for your regular daily tasks, because you are not sleeping at night, insomnia may indeed be affecting your life. You’ll probably notice your productivity dropping off (if you haven’t already)
. You may not be enjoying hobbies, friends, family members etc. as much as you would like. This can also be an indication of a deeper problem than just a lost night’s sleep occasionally. If you’ve already tried to adjust your sleep routine or other pre-sleep routines, and haven’t had success, you may need to discuss this with a sleep specialist soon.
If you are quite young, say in your teens or 20s, and all the things going on in your life – school, sports, girlfriends, boyfriends, etc. – are keep you from resting at night, you probably need to make some real changes. If your brain is still moving too fast when it should be slowing down to sleep, it may be time to talk to a specialist.
Focus on…. Nothing
But you don’t necessarily want to rush off to a medical doctor or start taking a prescription medication right away. Make a few changes to your routine first. In the early evening, turn off electronic accessories and the television.
Take a shower, drink a glass of water, sit with a window open in your room, without listening to or watching anything other than your surroundings. If it’s warm, turn on a fan after this and crawl into bed.
If you find yourself thinking back to a conversation or a statement you made during the day, force yourself to stop. Just say no to those racing thoughts, even if they only stop for a few seconds at a time.
Tell yourself you’ll think about this specific item when you wake up in the morning. Try listening to the humming of the fan, and shut out everything else. This is a good start to dealing with insomnia. Try Insomnia Tracks for more information about sleep.