Are you having trouble falling asleep? Does it take 1-2 hours to finally get to sleep? Does your mind wander and go all over the place, stuck somewhere between worrying about the future or thinking about the past? When you finally do fall asleep, do you feel like you are sleeping deeply? Worse yet, do you find yourself waking up multiple times every night?
Insomnia is defined as difficulty falling or staying asleep even when you have met all the conditions you would normally need to sleep.
Insomnia can be characterized based on how long you suffer from it. Acute insomnia is brief and often happens as a result of too much stress or excitement. You might experience this the night before leaving for a trip or taking an important exam.
Insomnia can also be chronic. If you suffer from chronic insomnia, you have experienced disrupted or difficulty sleeping for at least three nights per week over at least three months.
Insomnia can have a huge impact on your mood, irritability, depression, and anxiety levels. This can also lead to feeling tired all day, lack of productivity at work, lack of focus, feelings of burnout, and feeling miserable overall. People tend to try to medicate this issue with sedatives, drugs, or alcohol to finally get a good night's sleep, which can lead to a myriad of other problems that come along with this approach. However, there are healthier ways to deal with insomnia, such as meditation, that won't leave you with additional side effects.
Stress and resulting insomnia can also lead to something known as "adrenal burnout", leaving you feeling "burnt out" as if you can barely keep your head above water with daily activities and dealing with stress. Feeling tired all day is no way to go through life. We all need quality, rejuvenating sleep to help us be at our best vibrant selves. If the symptoms of insomnia are derailing your life, please reach out for help.
Chronic insomnia is a complicated condition and can be caused by a variety of factors. Unhealthy sleep habits such as using stimulants (e.g. coffee, cigarettes) before bed, or drinking alcohol can prevent sleep or disturb sleep once it starts. Using technology before bed is also known to interfere with sleep. Changing your daily habits can help you fall asleep, and remain asleep, easier.
The other factors that cause insomnia, however, may be harder to eliminate from your life. If your job requires shift work or if you take certain medications, it can be difficult to get into a pattern of healthy sleep. Clinical disorders such as depression and/or anxiety can also cause insomnia.
In order to determine what is causing insomnia, visit a health professional or therapist who understands insomnia and the variety of conditions that can lead to difficulties in sleeping. I offer help for insomnia in Avon, Connecticut.
If you find yourself tired all the time or have your sleep disturbed, you may actually be suffering from a sleep disorder.
Some symptoms of sleep disorders include:
If you think you may be suffering from a sleep disorder, speak to your doctor about getting a diagnosis and starting treatment. Therapy can be additionally helpful in getting the sleep you need.
Worrying thoughts and a mind that won't stop can make it impossible to fall asleep.
Researchers have found mindfulness training can help us get better sleep. A study investigating the effects of mindfulness training on sleep with middle-aged and older people found those who were given mindfulness awareness education and meditation exercises had less insomnia, fatigue, and depression at the end of six sessions.
About the author: Dr. Mark Nadolski is an empathetic therapist providing psychotherapy for anxiety, depression, panic attacks, OCD, and trauma in Avon, Connecticut.
Click here for a list of therapists in your area for insomnia.