Sleepless Night: Truths and Myths about Insomnia
Some say they fall asleep as soon as they lay their head on the pillow; others just spend the whole night in agony, unable to sleep. Every year, we’re seeing more and more people suffering from insomnia due to stress, excessive caffeine intake and bad habits.
And the symptoms of insomnia, in most cases, get worse if the condition is not properly managed and treated in the early stage. If you’re having trouble getting to sleep, please take a look at the “four common misconceptions on insomnia” below and follow our everyday tips for healthy sleep.
A condition in which you have difficulty falling or staying aleep or feel unrefreshed when you wake up.
Four common misconceptions on insomnia
1Insomnia can’t be cured once you have it
Identifying causes is crucial in treating insomnia. When there’s no specific cause such as stress or sleep apnea, your insomnia will get better in most cases if you keep good habits for healthy sleep (called “sleep hygiene”).
But many people mistakenly regard it as incurable and that is because they rely on drugs too easily instead of finding and solving the root cause of the condition. Once you develop the dependency on sleeping pills, your insomnia becomes chronic one, whose treatment will take more time. The side effects of taking the drugs for a prolonged period can also be problematic.
2Insomnia in early stages doesn’t need to be treated
It is crucial to find out the exact causes of insomnia and get proper treatments accordingly—early on. Why? When the condition persists, it will cause fatigue, concentration problems and memory failures. In worse or extended cases, it can trigger mental health issues including depression and anxiety disorder and even hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases or metabolic issues. Non-medicinal methods such as cognitive behavior therapy including teaching good sleep hygienes and sleep restriction must be applied first. Sleeping drugs should be used, if ever, not daily but intermittently and only when the symptom is too severe, under your doctor’s prescription. And when insomnia is caused by underlying conditions such as sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome and circadian rhythm sleep disorder, those root causes should be addressed first. It should be noted drugs taken for other health conditions might also cause insomnia.
3Sleeping pills are the answer, no matter what
Many people think, a bit too simply, insomnia (a disease that keeps you from sleeping) can just be treated with sleeping pills (a drug that makes you sleep). However, sleeping pills recklessly taken can be problematic. Though they can deliver an immediate result, drugs might develop dependency, tolerance and side effects over the long term and disrupt the quality of your sleep architecture. You should avoid using drugs and when you can’t help it, consult your doctor and take a pill with shorter effective time only occasionally and under prescription. Get sufficient sunshine in the morning and get about one hour of aerobic exercises like walking or jogging every day. That helps the creation and release of melatonin, the sleep hormone, at night.
4Only mental stress can trigger insomnia
No, it’s not true. Other than stress, there are many possible causes of insomnia. Conditions like sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, circadian rhythm sleep disorder and depression often cause insomnia, as well as drugs taken for other health problems. That’s why you should consult a sleep disorder specialist to find out the exact cause if you have suffered sleeplessness for more than one month. Take a polysomnography test when needed; it can be helpful.
Finally, good sleep hygiene is more important than anything else in preventing insomnia. Keeping regular sleep hours and about 30 minutes of daily aerobic exercises (like jogging or walking) will help a lot. Above all, you’re advised to avoid checking your smartphone, browsing the web or watching YouTube videos before bed; the light from the screens arouses your brain and prevents the release of melatonin, the hormone that helps you sleep. I hope you could end the painful sleepless nights with these healthy, regular habits.
Tips for healthy sleep