The 2017 Scottsdale Conference talked about many things, and one of those is the benefits of sleep, and another is how insomnia will affect one’s health. I was lucky to be part of the conference because of my sister. She needed to tag me along that time, and it was a very productive two days for me. Of course, I also wanted to see the beauty of Scottsdale, and yet the highlight of that short visit was the discussion.
I have been suffering from a sleeping disorder or more commonly known as insomnia for years now. It influences my life in many ways because ever since I couldn’t have a good sleep, I have lost weight, and I have noticed a significant change in my behavior. I am now irritable and grumpy most of the time. I am annoyed by stupid questions, and I find no interest in shallow matters or things I don’t have business with such as gossips. Well, I hated it before, but now, I have it even more.
While most episodes of insomnia are brief and self-limiting, in some cases insomnia is a sign of of some underlying emotional, social, or medical problem.— Clifford N. Lazarus Ph.D.
What Are The Causes Of Insomnia?
Insomnia Can Be Caused By Medical Health Conditions Such As:
- Acid Reflux
- Chronic Pain
- Low Back Pain
- Sinus Allergies
Insomnia Can Also Be Caused By Mental Health Conditions Such As:
Anxiety And Depression
In contrast, the absence of light signals our bodies to produce melatonin, a hormone that aids in sleep. The contrast between light during the day and darkness in your bedroom at night helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle. — Megan MacCutcheon, LPC
These two happen typically in adults because of the constant worries they deal with every day. It is expected you won’t be able to sleep when you have a big day ahead like a wedding perhaps, or when you have a presentation tomorrow which determines your promotion. These situations can cause a sleepless night. However, with anxiety, there is no evident or apparent reason, but a person gets anxious and nervous combined with the physical symptoms, making it more challenging to sleep.
Depression, likewise, affects sleep. It keeps the mind awake being saddened and problematic about past issues, and a person who suffers from insomnia at the same time may find the contrasting desire and disinterest in sleeping. He desires to sleep to make him numb and escape the darkness he is feeling, but at the same time, the disinterest comes from the thought of hopelessness. He might think that no matter what he does, nothing will change.
I am uncertain as to what’s causing my insomnia, but it made me restless for the past two years. It is already noticeable in me physically, emotionally, and mentally. My first instinct was to take some sleeping meds or what’s popularly known as sleeping pills, but then I read somewhere that it is best to seek counseling first before you take in some meds that will supposedly alter the normal function of the body.
I am convinced to go to counseling, and I prefer to seek the help of a therapist who is familiar or someone from my place. I will be attending my first session next week, and I am hopeful that everything will come out to be favorable.
I Expect Counseling Will Help Me:
- Determine the cause of my sleeping disorder and help me deal with it
- Prevent me from taking sleeping pills as I am scared of the side effects
- Help me sleep soundly despite all my worries or teach me not to worry instead
Online counseling is also available for people who are seeking the help of credible and licensed therapists aiding in mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. These both contribute to medical health problems and other disturbances such as insomnia. Check Betterhelp to find out more about how counseling can help you.
We all know that getting enough sleep is good for our body. It keeps us alive and energetic for the entire day. When this happens, there is a high tendency that we would accomplish more As long as we get enough sleep for the night, then it is guaranteed that we are going to become productive for the next day. Well, the best part of all is that this is only one of the hundreds of benefits of sleep. Here is the list:
Perhaps there are mornings when you wake up very early, unable to return to sleep—or you wake up feeling exhausted before you’ve even started your day. — Michael J Breus Ph.D.
Insomnia is a stressful health condition that prevents individuals from sleeping whenever they need and want. Some consult their physician in hopes of finding a remedy for it, i.e., pills and cognitive therapy. Despite that, it’s a fact that many still don’t see it as a disorder that requires immediate medical attention; that’s why they tend to brush it off.
But that’s where everything can start to go wrong. Sleep deprivation does so much harm to your body, to the point that you can no longer function like a regular human being. In case the disadvantages of letting your insomnia prolong is still hazy, here are a few ideas that may clarify them for you:
- It Decreases Sex Drive
The condition is a libido-drainer, especially for men. It can slow down the body’s production of testosterone; thus, the sexual drive can become unstable. Not to mention, the sleep irregularity also depletes your vigor – you may prefer relaxation over sex anytime.
- It Makes You Absent-Minded
Insomnia deprives you of your capability to remember details and events. Isn’t it embarrassing when your date or boss asks your opinion about a serious topic, and then all you can muster to say is, “Huh?” That may be the regular case if you’re not sleeping as much as you should.
People with insomnia tend to unknowingly over estimate the time it takes to fall asleep and underestimate the time they are asleep. — John Cline Ph.D.
- It Causes Mishaps
People who often lack sleep feel extra clumsy the next day since the coordination between the motor skills and the brain is off. It may feel as if you’re drunk as well even though you’re not. Hence, accidents, big or small, will surely follow you.
- It Drains Youthful Glow
Insomnia can make a 25-year-old man or woman look like he or she is their mid-30s. The skin under the eyes become either puffy or dark. The fine lines seem prominent too. That’s because you produce much more cortisol – the hormone that crushes your collagen supply – than you need at this point.
- It Increases Weight
Dealing with sleep deprivation can be so grueling that your brain may signal that you should consume larger serving sizes than usual. It is as if it’s your system’s technique to console you for not receiving reset. Because of that, however, your waistline may expand in no time.
- It Affects Intelligence
Lack of relaxation at night does not just turn you into a sluggish zombie in the morning. You may also lose concentration and ability to resolve issues both at home and work. The more it happens, the more you can stray away from logic.
- It Weakens Immune System
A bountiful sleep gives your body the opportunity to refresh its supply of cytokine, which is the body’s first line of defense against disease-causing viruses. Not getting enough of it every day means you won’t get much of this important substance and may jeopardize your well-being.
- It Causes Mental Illnesses
When your mind does not rest, you tend to overthink about a lot of things. It exhausts your energy, happiness, and sometimes grip on reality; that’s why sleep deprivation can push the development of depression, anxiety, delusion, and other psychological disorders.
Figure out through trial and error what your optimal amount of sleep seems to be, then strive to get this amount of sleep every night by adjusting your going-to-bed and wake-up times accordingly. — Megan MacCutcheon, LPC
Most new mothers desperately want to sleep but are unable to even after putting their baby to sleep. It happens because of a condition called postpartum insomnia.
As a single mother of two, I have chosen to work as a home-based medical transcriptionist. I have been in this kind of job for 17 years now, working in rotational shifts.
While being awake at night is a very unpleasant and difficult experience, it is the daytime symptoms which most impact on the lives of those suffering with insomnia. — John Cline Ph.D.
I have been happy and thankful for this job as it allowed me to work from home and be a hands-on mom, taking care of my kids’ needs and mine as well. At first, I found it hard to stay awake eight hours straight during nighttime, but as time went by, I got used to it. I can even work two shifts straight. I never realized that it could in the long term be a threat to having a healthy body and mind.
Our ancestors used to rely on the sun on lighting and mostly spent their evenings in darkness. Modern age brings about the discovery of artificial light that provides us with better lighting especially during the night.
I’ve been tossing and turning almost every night. Falling asleep is a struggle, and waking up in the wee hours of the morning makes me feel listless the whole day. This change in my routine makes me worry because I always feel tired, had become unproductive, and worse, it is starting to affect my relationship.
We Used To Share One Bed
As a couple, it is expected that you share a bed with your partner. It’s a beautiful feeling finding comfort sleeping alongside each other, but what if your partner could no longer stand the uneasy you, who keeps on moving and turning? What if he starts complaining about your snoring? Is this the end of your good night’s sleep?
Instead of causing my husband to feel tired too, and unfocused because of disturbed sleeping, my doctor recommended that it would be better to have separate bedrooms. It has become so distressing for me as I feel so alone.
Several experts agree that even though partners may fight over the sheets, the security that people feel from sleeping in the same bed with the person they love has great perks. — John Smith Ph.D.
Unsatisfied Married Life
I love snuggling whenever I hit the bed while telling my stories, everything that happened to my day. But the moment our doctor recommends that we have a separate bed and then the separate bedroom, a lot has changed. We need to do our talk while we are at the dinner table or while watching a movie, which seems less sweet and intimate because, after our conversation, we have to go to our separate beds. But I have to live up to it so as not to disturb my husband with my bad sleeping habits.
My husband sleeps faster and complains less regarding the quality of sleep he has, and I pity him for being very considerate of my sleep problems. I don’t want him to suffer because of me, so I only agree on the setting of sleeping in a separate room with him even though I miss our cuddling and pillow talk.
Make sure your bedroom is a calm space with a comfortable bed. Determine what type of pillows, sheets, and blankets are the most comfortable for you. — Megan MacCutcheon, LPC
Putting An End To The Misery Brought By Insomnia
My doctor recommended various treatments to cure my insomnia
- Relaxation exercises
- Lifestyle change
- Healthy before-bed habits
I did try some of them but to no avail. Failure to improve the quality of my sleep and feeling alone at night left me in a depressed mood besides having a less intimate moment with my husband.
Sleep deprivation brought by my insomnia caused me to gain weight, become less productive, and start troubles in our relationship. I can’t allow it to go on that way, so I tried all possible ways that could put an end to my misery.
One therapist told me to try re-organizing our bedroom besides meditation, lifestyle change, and practicing healthy habits before I go to bed.
A New Mattress. My tossing and turning plus the snoring awaken my husband that’s why he has to sleep in his own bed. A new mattress that absorbs movement, like the memory foam, can help contain movement on my side of the bed, thus, preventing disturbance in my husband’s sleep.
Keeping The Room Tidy. A cleanroom encourages good rest and sound sleep. For added enchantment, I make sure to spray a scent of lavender before we sleep. Lavender has shown to be useful in helping people fall asleep faster with lesser waking up at night.
Stop Your Snoring. I find it hard to fall asleep, and if I do, I often snore. I was actually unaware at first that I woke my husband up with my loud snoring. It was just when we visited my doctor for my insomnia that I found out. If you’re a snorer, you can try turning to one side to stop your tongue from caving into the back of your throat, blocking the proper flow of air creating the snoring sound. You can also try oral appliances to eliminate the snoring sound or see your doctor to rule out sleep apnea.
When we go to bed too early, odds are we won’t be ready to fall asleep. Most likely we’ll just have more time to lie in bed awake, feeling anxious and stressed, and reinforcing bed as a place of anxiety and unrest. — Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D.
Limit Your Bedroom Activity To Sleep And Sex. Buzzing sounds of phones are very annoying and often disrupts sleep. Also, the blue light from laptops, tablets, and phones is said to interrupt circadian rhythm, and falling back to sleep can be a struggle. If you want to bring back intimacy in your bedroom, it’s just but proper to turn off your gadgets and limit your bedroom activity to stuff that will make you and your partner happier and well-rested.
Sleep issue should be addressed as a serious problem. It is not just threatening your health but your relationship as well. Don’t allow your insomnia and snoring to cause you and your partner troubles right in your own bedroom because no one wants to wake up looking at a grumpy partner early in the morning. Snoring and insomnia can be treated medically or in a more natural way like meditation, lifestyle changes, healthy before-bedtime habits, and a bit of re-organization or restyling in your bedroom.
Follow these tips, and I hope you and your partner get a better night of good sex and undisturbed sleep!
When you develop insomnia, one of the issues is when you go to bed and try to get to sleep, but instead, your mind starts to race, running thoughts up to the point that it causes you to feel sleep-deprived. If this happens over time, your mind starts to associate the bed with a space to think and not a place to sleep. And so there is mental conditioning in which your mind is programmed into not going to sleep because your mind believes that the bed is a place to think.
Increased arousal, often related to fear of not sleeping or being unable to function effectively during the day, prevents the usual functioning of brain systems which initiate and maintain sleep. — John Cline Ph.D.
Non-traditional work hours are becoming more prevalent in a more globalized economy. As night shifts or graveyard shifts quickly become the workplace norms, it can be that you lack more than just time apart from social life or rays of sunshine.
Shift Work Sleep Disorder is a condition experienced by night shifters. As per expert Tina Waters, MD, she mentioned that people who work the “third shift” will have issues with their body’s cardiac rhythms. It affects the normal pulsing since the person is awake during the day because of its internal body clock. This is the traditional rhythm of the body. Even if the person is fatigued or super tired at day, he will not go to sleep until it’s time to sleep at night. His senses will keep him awake, which is not healthy when chronic.
Shift work refers to any job that falls outside of a more “traditional” nine to five work schedule, affecting most people who start work before 6:30 a.m. or after 4:30 p.m. — Shelby Harris Psy.D.
This Disorder Is Very Dangerous To One’s Health.
As a preface, not all night shifters will develop shift work sleep disorder. However, if you find yourself having difficulty sleeping, you may want to consult your doctor. He will run some tests to make sure that you’re not affected by any other sleeping disorders like sleep apnea and narcolepsy.
People who lack sleep and who do it often will suffer from dangerous health problems. It should be addressed as early as possible since this prolonged habit can develop into more severe illnesses. Gastrointestinal and metabolic disorders like diabetes can emerge from lack of sleep. In more severe cases, it can even develop into heart disease. One example of how extreme this can get was on a study done with night shift nurses are subjects. In the end, it was ruled that because of their shift work sleep disorder, these nurses were prone to cancer and sterility.
There Are Ways To Prevent Shift Work Sleep Disorder.
For nurses, as stated in the example, it is not an option to change their professions just because of the night shift. Call center agents can also have this issue, or security guards and police officers who work at nights. But not all of them will have this disorder. Some will be able to cope and have a good night’s sleep.
…many nurses go without sleep for 24-hours in order to adjust to their late-night shifts. — Michael J Breus Ph.D.
Keep A Sleep Schedule.
Start a routine for sleep and enforce it. Provide yourself a more conducive environment for sleep (example; keeping the room dark, reducing background noise, or listening to calming sounds, and more). It’s also a good idea to keep a sleep diary to record how many hours of sleep you’ve achieved every night.
Go To Sleep Immediately After Working.
It helps to minimize your exposure to light for at least 30 minutes before sleeping as light is the primary factor that keeps people awake. Make the most of it by going to sleep immediately after work before sunrise.
Drink Lessen Caffeine.
Morning routines may need caffeine, but while working nights, consider reducing your caffeine intake within four hours before your shift ends.
In addition to the common sources of caffeine (e.g., coffee, soda, and energy drinks), we also need to consider hidden sources. — Lauren Woolley, PhD
Establish Some Boundaries.
Inform people what time your sleep hours are and do not entertain them otherwise. Be strict in setting boundaries to leave you alone during sleeping hours to maximize rest.
If these practices can not remedy your sleep disorder, consult your doctor on how to better address your sleep problems. Therapy, medication, or consultations can be provided to help you stave off more severe symptoms.