If you suffer from insomnia, you are not alone with this problem. Nowadays, more than 30% of people around the world regularly have the symptoms of temporary insomnia, and about 10% of modern Americans suffer from chronic insomnia. Insomnia occurs more frequently in women and aged people. It is usually caused by a variety of reasons, including some serious general diseases. Also, insomnia can be a side effect of taking certain medications. People, who suffer from insomnia, usually have such problems as daytime irritability and fatigue, difficulties with concentration and focusing on something, sleepiness and many others.
There are four main types of insomnia that are connected with:
- difficulties when falling asleep;
- difficulties with maintaining sleep all night long;
- waking up too early;
- unsatisfying quality of sleep.
Insomnia is caused by some quite common reasons, which can be classified as the following:
(1) the causes, connected with physical and psychological condition of a person (including stresses, worries, anxiety and fears, concerns about the problems in professional or personal life, inability to relax, suffering from pains or diseases, menopause, continuous boredom and feeling of being rejected, depression, and so on);
(2) using stimulants, medications containing caffeine and other medications that can interfere with sleep (antidepressants, antihistamines, some weight-loss medications, etc.);
(3) environmental factors (changes in sleep environment, changes in daily habits or schedules, changes connected with traveling and time zone change, etc.)
(4) the factors, connected with aging (changes in general health, daily routine, sleep patterns, and so on);
(5) behavioral factors and failures to maintain a proper sleep hygiene (eating too much before going to sleep, leading very active night life, drinking and smoking before going to sleep, and so on).
If ignored and not treated properly, insomnia can lead to some complications, such as psychological disorders, depression, problems with blood pressure, increased severity of other illnesses and diseases. Besides, as insomnia usually causes lack of attention and concentration, it can be a reason of serious mistakes and even accidents which put human life to danger. Do not delay talking to a specialist if you are experiencing syndromes of insomnia and have sleep deprivation affecting the quality of your life. In the majority of the situations, insomnia can be treated with special supplements and medications (sleeping pills or antidepressants) as well as behavioral therapy, supported by the efforts to eliminate possible causes of insomnia and developing good sleep habits.
The majority of us usually sleep 7-8 hours a day, but duration is actually not an important parameter of the quality of our sleep. We are not surprised that every one of us has individual size of shoes or individual height. However, it is considered that the amount of sleep necessary for being in good shape must be universal and the same for everyone. Also, there are other weird common ideas about our sleep habits. The people, who rise with the sun and start their daily activities in the early morning are supposed be hardworking, but the people, who like sleeping and usually sleep till noon, are considered to be lazy. Is this always true and does everyone, who wakes up early, spend the time more effectively than those who work till midnight?
There are so called short sleepers (the people whose need of daily sleep does not exceed 6 hours) and long sleepers (the people whose daily need of sleep is over 9 hours), and it was proven that belonging to one of these groups means very little for your personal or professional success in life. For example, Napoleon Bonaparte used to sleep only 3-4 hours a day, but Albert Einstein and a great deal of other talented people needed more than 9 hours of sleep every day. Nevertheless, there are certain advantages that short sleepers and long sleepers can enjoy in this life. Recent researches of the specialists from San Diego revealed that short sleepers usually feel more energized and refreshed after their sleep. At the same time, long sleepers are typically less affected by sleep deprivation and do not lose their learning abilities even when they have some serious lack of sleep.
Therefore, our individual needs of sleep can vary from 3 to 12 hours a day, but an interesting fact is that the norm of sleep that every person needs in order to have a good rest and wake up revitalized, does not change throughout the whole life, starting from early youth. Certainly, depending on the circumstances, one day you can sleep more, and another day you can sleep less. However, weekly and especially monthly hours of your sleep are actually almost the same. Experiments proved that total weekly hours of sleep of the same person vary within at most 30 minutes.
Now, we are living in the epoch when good and comfortable sleep became one of the main pleasures in our life. At the same time, overwhelming majority of people who live and work in modern metropolises can not benefit from this pleasure anymore. Our fast life easily turns “larks” into “owls”. Every evening we stay awake till deep night, trying to finish some urgent work, chatting with friends online or watching Conan O’Brien and other late night TV shows. Every morning we try to convince our mind to wake up and make the body move, but there is no feeling that our organism have had some rest and got some refreshment. We go to work or to school, and it usually takes hours to pull ourselves together and collect some energy to go on with our daily routine.
For many of desperate office workers and college students, an opportunity to have some normal sleep in the week-ends is the last hope in their search for physical and mental relief. However, the results of recent researches, publicized by British specialists from National Academy of Science, demonstrated that it is impossible to compensate lack of normal sleep in the week-ends. First of all, as our natural biorhythms are being constantly neglected, it is hard for a real night person to fall asleep early on Fridays or Saturdays. Second, even when we finally reach our beds after a hard working week, long-awaited sleep does not help us to have good rest and renew our dried out energy resources. And, after all, on Monday everything starts all over again.
Besides, it is a mistake to think that such problem as sleep disorders concerns only businessmen and hardworking students. In our times, many people who are not bound by office schedules and regular psychological pressures of hard studies, who lead a slow and ordered life – they frequently suffer from insomnia, sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. By various reasons, many of us sometimes can not have good sleep at night, toss and turn to the left and to the right in the bed and look at the clock waiting for morning to come. Many people regularly see nightmares which, certainly, do not make their sleep more pleasant and effective. The result of all these problems is the same: we can not have proper rest at night and in the morning we feel like zombies.
Scientists do not stop raising the alarm: just several decades ago people used to sleep minimum eight hours a day, but nowadays, daily sleep of an average person lasts no longer than six hours. We all have to remember that sleep deprivation, sleep disturbances and disorders result in increased risks of cardiovascular disease, premature ageing and overweight. Besides, regular lack of normal sleep brings to degradation of memory, depression and other psychological problems. It is not worth mentioning that lack of sleep makes us weaker, less creative and efficient at work, less successful in our professional and private life, as well as makes us feel less comfortable and less happy. So – let’s take care about our sleep, for our own good!