Why can’t I sleep? What ARE the best cures for Insomnia?
by Karen Bailey
What is Insomnia?
Insomnia, hyper insomnia, sleep deprivation, whatever name is used the effect is poor sleep. The condition effects approximately one in five adults with a number of symptoms and resulting problems. In essence, as human animals, we generally live in cycles and our bodies follow our body clock, or Circadian rhythm. (See Diagram below) If the rhythm is disrupted we suffer from one of the foregoing problems. To cure insomnia it is necessary to know why we can’t sleep. Insomnia can mean:
- Not being able to get off to sleep.
- Waking up too early.
- Waking for long periods in the night.
- Not feeling refreshed after a night's sleep.
If you have Insomnia, you often feel tired during the day with reduced concentration or just not function well. You may also become irritable.
What is a normal amount of sleep?
‘Normal’ varies from individual to individual. Some individuals can function well and not get tired during the day with only three to four hours sleep per night. However, Most people need more than this and most science will tell you that six to eight hours per night is recommended.
Most people establish a pattern that is normal for them in their early adult life. However, as you become older, it is normal to sleep less. Many people in their 70s sleep less than six hours per night.
So, everyone is different. What is important is that the amount of sleep that you get is sufficient for you, and that you usually feel refreshed and not sleepy during the daytime. Therefore, the strict medical definition of insomnia is ...'difficulty in getting to sleep, difficulty staying asleep, early wakening, or non-restorative sleep despite adequate time and opportunity to sleep, resulting in impaired daytime functioning, such as poor concentration, mood disturbance, and daytime tiredness'.
What are the causes insomnia?
The causes of insomnia can be physical or mental or both and it affects at least twenty percent of the population. More on this in the ‘What Causes Insomnia’ pages. Long term, the effects of sleep deprivation can be devastating.
Over the last ten years there has been more research into the possible causes and effects of Insomnia. CLICK HERE TO SEE RESEARCH VIDEO some of the results have pointed to many different problems that may not have been previously associated with sleep patterns.
Studies have often shown difficulties in learning even simple tasks when sleep deprived. The brain is first in line to suffer, it seems, if not enough sleep is taken. Other studies have suggested even more serious problems such as heart and mental problems.
The onset of insomnia can come at any age and be completely unexpected. the causes are potentially many and varied and include job or personal changes, stress, pain and trauma, short or long term illness, emotional problems, a death and recurrent thoughts. Of course, some of these individual causes can combine which makes diagnosis complicated.