Having enough sleep is vital to have a healthy lifestyle. It is beneficial for our heart, weight, mind, mood, and almost every aspect of our being.
We need at least 7 to 9 hours of good sleep to keep us going through a terrible challenging day. With enough sleep, our brain can work efficiently, making it easier to retain information and do better with memory tasks. Sleep allows our body to restore strength and rejuvenate, grow muscle, repair tissue, and produce hormones.
If sleep is that essential for our body to properly function, what will happen if we are sleep deprived? How do insomniacs deal with this problem? Can our lack of sleep cause death?
There are many types of insomnia. Some are temporary, but there are also severe ones that may need medical attention.
We are constantly reminded of the importance of getting enough sleep for our bodies and the effects of sleep deprivation. But worrying about getting enough sleep is a problem unto itself because it often becomes self-perpetuating. — Marni Amsellem, PhD
It is said that almost all of us will experience insomnia at some point in our lives, most especially as we age. According to NINDS (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke), short-term insomnia can be due to stress, diet, depression, jet lag, and other activities.
This is a long-term form of sleep problem where a person has difficulty falling asleep and finds it troublesome to remain asleep at least three nights a week for three months or more.
This form of insomnia can be due to other conditions, like psychiatric symptoms such as anxiety and depression. Also, arthritis or back pain make a person uncomfortable making it hard for him to get to sleep.
Fatal Familial Insomnia
FFI is a rare genetic disease which concerns those who are suffering from poor sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to panic, anxiety, hallucination, weight loss, total inability to sleep, and dementia, until eventually death. It is due to a neurological degeneration of the brain that is linked to prion, a rare abnormal protein. It can begin in midlife and can progress to death in one to two years.
It’s hard to fight insomnia, but online therapy can help you with the techniques that can be beneficial for overcoming insomnia through relaxation exercises and stimulus control.
Try equalizing the length of your inhales and exhales, then lengthen your exhalations until they are twice as long as your inhalations. — Nicole S. Urdang, MS, NCC, DHM
Online therapy has therapists that specialize in helping you get out of your suffering from difficulty going to sleep. They can teach you techniques on how to steadily tense and relax your muscles in various parts of your body. Such exercise helps get you to sleep as it has a calming effect on your body that can induce sleep. Other forms of relaxation exercises are breathing exercise, meditation, mindfulness, and guided imagery. You can also try their advice of listening to soothing white noise and other sleep or relaxing music. These are very helpful to put you to sleep and even allow you to return to sleep in the event of midnight awakening.
Online therapy can also guide you on how stimulation helps build an association between your bedroom and your sleep. You can do this by limiting the activities you do inside your bedroom. This stimulus control is about going to bed only when you are sleepy and getting out of bed if you are still awake for 20 minutes or longer. You are asked to do that in order to disrupt the unhealthy attachment between the bedroom and wakefulness. The therapist can also guide you on how you can follow sleep restriction that includes strict bedtime schedule and waking time and to limit your time in the bedroom only when you are sleeping.
If you can’t think of something relaxing to do, consider listening to a guided relaxation recording. You can find many free ones online. — Lauren Woolley, PhD
Sleep is essential for us to stay healthy and perform our responsibilities well. But there are times when it is really tough for us to get the sleep we need due to work, medical conditions, and other activities. But if this problem continues to happen and is becoming a problem, it is essential to seek help. Getting help through online therapy can be your first step in finding a remedy to overcome insomnia.
Insomnia could not directly cause death, but it can put you at a higher risk for having other severe medical conditions that have higher mortality.