Insomnia is a frustrating condition that affects millions of Americans on a nightly basis, but there are some things you can do combat insomnia in order to get a restful night’s sleep. Insomnia can be classified as either acute, meaning that it happens short-term and usually lasts anywhere from a few nights to a few weeks – or chronic, meaning that it lasts up to several months at a time.
There are many causes of insomnia, including psychological disorders, medications, stress and even age. While some factors, such as insomnia associated with aging, can be difficult to control, there are many things we can do routinely to ensure a more restful nights sleep.
For instance, creating a nighttime routine can help your body and mind transition from the stress of the day to a restful state. Drinking hot herbal tea or milk, taking a warm bath or reading a book are useful routines to help your mind and body slip into a relaxed state.
The transition from an active to a relaxed state of mind is crucial when it comes to getting a good night sleep. Drinking something warm helps relax the body by requiring less free energy from movement and metabolism to maintain temperature.
Tips to Get Sleepy
Drinking hot milk is especially useful since it stimulates the release of melatonin, a hormone responsible for regulating the day and night rhythms of sleeping cycles.
Reading a book helps channel your mental energy into something that is more relaxing, less associated with daily stress and interesting enough to redirect your point of focus.
Another tip that we can all start implementing is to turn off your laptop, cell phone and television several hours prior to bedtime, ideally when the sun goes down.
Studies show that the light emitted from electronic devices is enough to increase the production of cortisol in the brain and therefore inhibit the production of melatonin, making us more alert.
Cortisol is a hormone released by the adrenal glands in response to stress makes a person very alert. Long-term release of this hormone can also lead to damage of cells in the hippocampus, which impairs learning capacity.
Cortisol also has been associated with an inhibiting effect on the retrieval of memories. So unplug and recharge!
Sleep Maintenance Insomnia: Dos and Don’ts
For insomnia associated with stress, treatment begins with the learning to reduce stress by the development of habits that do so. Sleep maintenance insomnia, for example, is described as waking up after being asleep and being unable to go back to sleep.
To help prevent this, it is a good idea to exercise and avoid napping during the day. This helps control your energy levels at night, you will be more exhausted from your workout and no napping promotes deep sleep.
It is important however, not to exercise too close to your bedtime as this can prove counter productive because the stimuli that comes from exercise are likely to keep you awake. It is also a good idea to avoid consuming alcohol or caffeine close to bedtimes, as they can contribute to insomnia.
Sleep and Depression
For cases of insomnia associated with mental health such as depression, consulting a sleep specialist is recommended. There are forms of therapy designed to fight insomnia and achieve better sleep, an example of this is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT-1).
Cognitive behavioral therapy teaches a patient to identify and modify beliefs that affect one’s ability to go to sleep. It does so by helping the patient eliminate negative thoughts.
How We Can Help
Whether it is depression, stress, or too much screen time insomnia can have detrimental effects on the body’s ability to function. Santa Cruz Core offers the Vasper as another tool to help one sleep. By stimulating the endocrine system it can help to provide the body with proper initiation of hormone release to help the body heal and ultimately sleep!