While the majority of the world sleeps, some people are wide awake owing to insomnia. One of the prevalent yet undertreated illnesses with long-term and catastrophic implications on a patient's health is insomnia. According to John Hopkins Medicine, At any given time, roughly one-third of adults have symptoms of insomnia, making it the most prevalent sleep-related issue. Up to 10% of people experience insomnia that is severe enough to be classified as a condition.
Experts have different definitions of insomnia. However, insomnia is typically characterized by difficulties getting or staying asleep, leading to a lack of sleep that makes everyday tasks difficult or stressful. Based on a report by the Agency for Healthcare, Research and Quality, the indirect costs of insomnia, such as time lost from work and loss of productivity, are estimated to be nearly $28 billion a year. You might have persistent insomnia condition, which sleep specialists define as insomnia that lasts for at least three nights per week and for a minimum of one month. The Sleep in America Poll, conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, revealed that almost 50 percent of people surveyed had complaints of frequent insomnia, but only 6 percent were formally diagnosed.
It's important to recognize the signs and seek help from your healthcare team because insomnia affects more than just your energy levels. According to the National Institute of Health, you run a higher chance of developing depression, weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and memory and attention issues if you don't get enough good sleep. You may even appear older as a result. Age and menopausal stage were associated with higher rates of sleeplessness. Growing older, having a chronic illness, drinking excessively, being anxious or depressed were all major risk factors associated with having sleep disruptions.
(Image credit: Sleep Foundation)
Do you worry about whether you'll be able to fall asleep? As the saying goes, “prevention is better than cure”. Here are some lifestyle changes you can do to prevent insomnia:
1. Maintain a consistent sleeping and waking routine all week long, even on the weekends.
2. Create a pre-sleep ritual before going to bed. For instance, taking a putting on pajamas or lighting a candle could tell your brain it's time to go to bed.
3. Avoid using electronics like laptops and cell phones in bed, as well this results in an environment that is too loud or bright for sleep.
4. Allow your brain some downtime a few hours before bedtime. Pay your bills or resolve a dispute during the day rather than at night if you need to.
5. Certain substances can disrupt sleep. These include: caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and certain prescription medicines.
6. Exercise can help you fall asleep more quickly and easily, which can enhance the quality of your sleep. However, it's best to avoid strenuous exercise in the late afternoon and evening hours because it can make it harder to get to sleep at night.
Insomnia affects nearly everyone at some point in their lives. Most people have trouble falling asleep once in a while, but for some the inability to sleep on a consistent basis can be a serious problem. The stress of everyday life, coupled with the pressure and demands of our fast-paced culture, can make it difficult to unwind and relax. This has led to an increasing prevalence of insomnia among adults of all ages. Insomnia doesn’t have to be an ongoing issue. With some knowledge about how and why we sleep, combined with techniques for relaxation and healthy habits, you can manage your insomnia and reduce the frequency or duration of sleepless nights. Even while occasional insomnia are typical, you should make an appointment with your doctor if it is significantly disrupting your life.
References: 11 healthy habits to sleep better - HealthHub
Effects of insomnia on the body - Unique Mindcare
Prevalence of chronic insomnia in adult patients and its correlation with medical comorbidities - Journal of family medicine and primary care
Insomnia: What you need to know as you age - Johns Hopkins Medicine