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Having Trouble Sleeping?

Insomnia. Learn what it is and how to overcome it!

Sleep is one of the most important things you can give your body, but if you have insomnia, it’s difficult to give your body what it needs. Not sleeping can contribute to weight gain, greater risks of heart disease, mental and emotional issues as well as negative effects on your social and professional life. Many people have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep and are unaware they might actually be suffering from insomnia.

Insomnia can be caused by many different things; early childhood trauma, fear, anxiety, pain, prescriptions, etc. One thing all of these have in common is they make us feel helpless, as if we have no power to overcome insomnia when in fact, this is not true. Our thoughts have a tremendous amount of power and can contribute to how our body reacts. Most people who suffer from extreme insomnia dread night time because they are already anticipating the routine of sleepless nights throughout the day, which only increase their anxiety and compound the issue. Lack of sleep has been proven to reduce our reasoning skills and also throw us off balance emotionally among other things.

Far too many people find themselves trudging about their day like a zombie because they just haven’t had a good night’s rest. It happens to the best of us, but there are many ways to help alleviate insomnia and in turn, improve the quality of your life. If you’re looking to finally become the best version of you, the energized, well-rested, well balanced version - this is the right place to be.

“The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep.” —E. Joseph Cossman

Symptoms of Insomnia

  • Difficulty falling asleep.

  • Difficulty staying asleep (waking up during the night and having trouble returning to sleep

  • Waking up too early in the morning. Unrefreshing sleep (also called "non-restorative sleep")

What are Different Types of Insomnia?

Acute insomnia: A brief episode of difficulty sleeping. Acute insomnia is usually caused by a life event, such as a stressful change in a person's job, receiving bad news, or travel. Often acute insomnia resolves without any treatment.

Chronic insomnia: A long-term pattern of difficulty sleeping. Insomnia is usually considered chronic if a person has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at least three nights per week for three months or longer. Some people with chronic insomnia have a long-standing history of difficulty sleeping. Chronic insomnia has many causes.

Comorbid insomnia: Insomnia that occurs with another condition. Psychiatric symptoms — such as anxiety and depression — are known to be associated with changes in sleep. Certain medical conditions can either cause insomnia or make a person uncomfortable at night (as in the case of arthritis or back pain, which may make it hard to sleep.

Onset insomnia: Difficulty falling asleep at the beginning of the night.

Maintenance insomnia: The inability to stay asleep. People with maintenance insomnia wake up during the night and have difficulty returning to sleep.

5 Foods that contribute to Insomnia

  1. Caffeine

  2. Nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and goji berries)

  3. Alcohol

  4. Aged, fermented, cured, smoked, and cultured foods (salami, cheese, sauerkraut, red wine, etc.)

  5. Sugar, Flour, and other Refined Carbohydrates

What is the best treatment for insomnia?

According to The Mayo Clinic, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) can help you control or eliminate negative thoughts and actions that keep you awake at night and is generally recommended as the first line of treatment for people with insomnia. Typically, CBT-I is equally or more effective than sleep medications.

Behavioral Suggestions to help with insomnia

  • Try to make a habit of writing down, before bedtime, all the things you need to take care of for the next day, so that you are, in essence, getting it out of your head and onto a sheet of paper. Journaling thoughts and feelings also serves the same purpose in a more wide-ranging way.

  • If you work out or exercise at night, it would be better to switch to the morning or afternoon—not just before bedtime. Evening exercise too close to bedtime feeds insomnia if the exercise is too rigorous or causes you to feel energized before you should be relaxing enough to sleep.

  • If you drink alcohol with dinner or right before bedtime, this might help you fall asleep in the short term, but it is also likely to be what’s waking you up at 2 or 3 a.m. Alcohol is a terrible intervention for insomnia because it converts to sugars in your body once it has metabolized and serves to rev-up your heart rate and other metabolic functions when you should be sleeping.

  • Meditation or guided imagery is a medication-free option to help insomnia and there are no associated risks or side effects to using these techniques to help you fall asleep. Not only can meditation improve your sleep quality, but it may also help to reduce your blood pressure, ease pain, anxiety, and depression.

  • Hyperthyroidism is a condition of the thyroid gland when it produces too much thyroid hormone causing different bodily functions to speed up, leading you to feel wired and jittery. Symptoms may also include feeling anxious and experiencing a racing pulse, making it hard to get into a relaxed state. It is important to check with your doctor to rule out any physical conditions you may be having that are preventing you from falling and staying asleep.

  • "Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia" is aimed at changing sleep habits and scheduling factors, as well as misconceptions about sleep and insomnia. If your insomnia is severe, it is a good idea to call in the professionals who can help you re-program your habits that perpetuate sleep difficulties.

  • If you wake up in the middle of the night, it is best not to spend time in your bedroom when you aren’t sleeping. Leave the bedroom and do not return until you feel ready to sleep. The worst thing you can do is just lie there thinking “I have to get some sleep!!! I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!!! I MUST sleep!!! This insomnia is going to wreck my ability to function tomorrow!!!” Once you fall into having that conversation with yourself, you’ll never fall asleep!

  • If you find yourself feeling a general state of anxiety throughout your day it may be difficult to relax enough to fall asleep at night or stay asleep. Sometimes doing a simple chore such as tidying up in the kitchen or running a load of laundry during a moment of insomnia can help you feel less helpless to conquer the bigger issues of your anxiety. Even restoring a little bit of order in one area can go a long way to help you gain a sense of control over your life.


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