Many people will experience insomnia in their lives, and there are many reasons for this. First, there are two classifications of insomnia: Primary and Secondary. Primary insomnia is the much simpler of the two, it is not caused by a physical problem. Sometimes it can be as simple as room temperature, or too much noise, or other uncomfortable sleeping conditions. If this is the case, there are many things you can try to solve the problem. Flipping your mattress can do a lot to improve your comfort; you can also try moving the bed to different locations in the room which may have a positive psychological effect. The perfect sleeping conditions are a dark, cool room with minimal noise.
This is not always within your control; you may have noisy neighbors, it may be the middle of summer and you are without an air conditioner etc. In this case there are still things you can do to improve the situation. For noise, you can bring something into the room which will make “white noise”, this is a constant noise which will not change in pitch or volume which can drown out other noise. A fan can make white noise, or you can leave a radio on an unused frequency where it will produce nothing but static. If that fails, earplugs may be an option. Temperature is harder to control, especially if you cannot invest in an air conditioner. If it is too hot, again, a fan can help, and a spray bottle filled with cold water as well. For a hot room, you may want to take a hot shower before bed. This is because the air in the room will feel cool in contrast to the hot water from the shower.
There are of course certain substances which can make it very difficult to sleep. If you drink six cups of coffee per day and have trouble sleeping at night, it does not take an expert to figure out where the problem lies. You should cut down on caffeine, especially later during the day. If you are a smoker, cutting down on your nicotine will help as well especially later in the day. People seem to believe that alcohol can help cure insomnia because it makes you sleepy. First of all, sleeping after consuming a large amount of alcohol will make your sleep quality extremely poor. Secondly, some people actually find it more difficult to sleep after drinking alcohol and some even wake early after drinking.
The most common primary insomnia is caused by anxiety. More and more people are dealing with anxiety than ever before. This could be due to one of a couple reasons or all of them.
1) People are more willing to admit they are anxious.
2) The world is becoming more stressful.
3) We are losing our ability to cope with life’s stresses.
Regardless of the main factors, it is causing us to lose sleep. This in turn causes us to become more irritable and less able to deal with stress which makes us lose more sleep. There are breathing techniques you can try, as well as aroma therapy and other relaxation techniques to deal with stress and anxiety. There is of course the option of counseling if the anxiety is a severe and persistent problem. Many people will use prescription drugs to get the sleep they need in this situation, but these drugs come with many side effects and should only be used as a last resort, and for short periods. With prescription sleeping pills there is also the real risk of dependence, as well as a smaller risk of overdose. If dealing with stress and anxiety psychologically isn’t enough, there are herbal supplements which can be used instead.
These supplements come with no risk of dependence, or overdose, and patients very rarely report any negative side effects. They are perfect for someone suffering from insomnia due to mild to moderate anxiety. One of the best herbs for this use is St. John’s Wort, which is renowned for its calming effects.
Secondary insomnia is insomnia caused by a real physical problem. This can be due to hormonal changes, like when a woman experiences menopause. Insomnia during menopause is very, very common, though it is not always a viable option to simply wait it out. Decreased levels of melatonin are another cause of secondary insomnia. For treatment of these it is necessary to see a doctor, and possibly visit a sleep clinic for treatment.