Effects of Insomnia
If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, you may have insomnia – a common health issue that can have multiple cognitive and physical effects. People with insomnia may wake up multiple times per night, or have trouble dropping off to dreamland. Why do people have this sleep disorder, and what can you do to manage it?
What Causes Insomnia?
Tossing and turning night after night can be frustrating, and so can the resulting lethargy and fatigue the next day. While chronic sleep deprivation can interfere with your concentration and enthusiasm for doing your daily activities, people with insomnia are also more likely to develop illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure and mood disorders like depression.
Various physical and psychological factors can cause insomnia. In many cases, the cause is temporary, such as stress about an upcoming work presentation. Long-term insomnia may be a symptom of various underlying medical conditions, such as mental health issues, Alzheimer’s disease, sleep apnea, COPD and restless legs syndrome.
Short-term insomnia causes include:
- Anything that affects your body’s circadian rhythms, like jet lag
- Hormonal changes caused by menopause
- Discomfort caused by sleeping in an unfamiliar bed
- The bedroom being too hot, cold, bright or noisy
- A lack of physical activity
- The use of various medications, such as statins, beta blockers and corticosteroids
- Nightmares, night terrors or sleep panic attacks
- Drug or alcohol abuse
Additionally, a growing body of research has documented the adverse effects of blue light on people’s internal clocks. Any device with a screen – like a cellphone, laptop or TV – emits light wavelengths in the range of 400 to 490 nanometers, which your eyes aren’t naturally good at blocking. Almost all of it passes straight through to the back of your retina and prevents the release of a hormone called melatonin, which makes you feel drowsy. That’s why using blue-light-emitting devices before bed can result in a sleepless night.
What Can You Do to Cure Insomnia?
Since alcohol is a depressant, some people think having a “nightcap” before bed will help them fall asleep and get a full night’s rest. However, drinking before bed disrupts the sleep cycle, and the more alcohol you drink, the more you’ll increase your likelihood of waking up feeling unrested. Prescription drugs like Ambien also have risks, including a phenomenon called sleep eating and the potential of developing a psychological or physical dependence.
All-natural insomnia remedies to try include:
- Set a consistent sleep schedule by going to sleep and getting up at the same times every day, including weekends and holidays.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol use, especially in the late afternoons and evenings.
- Keep cellphones and other electronic devices out of your bedroom.
- Ensure the room is a comfortable temperature, and use heavy curtains to block light.
- Start winding down at least an hour before bedtime with calming activities like taking a bath, doing gentle stretches or enjoying a cup of chamomile tea.
- Exercise regularly, but not within four hours of your planned bedtime.
- Find something that helps you drift off, like guided meditation or a white noise machine.
- Seek medical attention for any underlying health conditions that prevent you from getting a full seven to nine hours of sleep. For example, a therapist specializing in cognitive behavioral therapy can help you learn to manage anxiety and panic attacks.
Managing Insomnia in Addiction Recovery
Insomnia is one of the most prevalent withdrawal symptoms reported by people in early recovery from a substance use disorder. After completing the initial detox and withdrawal phase, you may experience some improvement in your sleep patterns, but for some recovering addicts, sleep disruptions may continue even after achieving long-lasting sobriety.
At Beach House, your comfort and health are our top priorities. We offer medication-assisted treatment to help you quickly and safely detox from harmful substances, while managing many of the uncomfortable symptoms that characterize withdrawal. Once you are medically stable, you can begin concentrating on holistic healing. To learn more about our evidence-based treatment methods and the benefits of substance abuse recovery in Florida, please contact our admissions counselors today.