What is insomnia?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is manifested by difficulties in falling asleep, insufficient or poor quality sleep, characterized by frequent waking and fatigue during the next day.
When these moments occur frequently – on successive nights, for example – insomnia can lead to concentration disorders at work or school, can lead to poor performance, a state of drowsiness. In more severe cases, insomnia can contribute to weight gain, high levels of stress and anxiety, memory problems and delayed reactions, visible and extremely dangerous in many activities.
Reduced sleep duration, although one of the effects of insomnia, does not always have a direct connection to this condition, primarily because each person needs a certain number of hours of sleep each day. The sleep schedule may vary depending on the age, sex, but also other particularities of each individual. However, there are a number of hours of sleep needed, established by scientific consensus. Here’s how to generally sleep a person, depending on age:
- Adults need about 7-9 hours of sleep;
- Adolescents (12-18 years) must sleep between 8 and 10 hours per night;
- Children between 2 and 12 years old need about 9-12 hours of sleep;
- Newborns and children up to 2 years of age should sleep around 11-14 hours.
It should be noted that insomnia can occur even when a person has slept the recommended number of hours, but sleep was of poor quality due to frequent waking.
Depending on the causes, insomnia may be:
- Caused by the consumption of medicines or other substances – it appears in the case of people who undergo long-term medical treatments for other conditions; it is also common in those who consume coffee, energy or alcohol in large quantities;
- Caused by other medical conditions – this category includes mental disorders, but also other conditions, such as arthritis or apnea;
- Without specific causes – this type of insomnia can be caused by external factors, such as noise, lack of optimal resting conditions or extended work program.
What are the causes of insomnia?
Stress is one of the most common causes of insomnia. On the other hand, longer periods with insomnia can increase stress level, but also anxiety, which can lead to depression.
Here are the main causes of insomnia:
- Worries and stress at work or in everyday life;
- Anxiety states;
- Loud noises;
- Too high or too low temperatures in the bedroom;
- Lack of comfort during sleep;
- Smoking, alcohol and caffeine;
- The use of narcotic substances;
- Mental disorders – bipolarity, depression and others;
- Problems of a medical nature – chronic pain, chronic fatigue, respiratory conditions, gastroesophageal reflux, asthma, apnea, hyperthyroidism, arthritis;
- Hormonal disorders;
- Other factors, such as sleeping near a snoring person, parasitic infections, genetic problems or even pregnancy;
- Low level of melatonin.
Melatonin is a substance naturally secreted by the pineal gland and has the role of regulating the body’s internal clock, so it should not be confused with a sleeping pill. Basically, this neurohormone sends signals to the brain that it needs sleep, but it does not influence the rate at which we fall asleep or the need for sleep that our body feels. Melatonin is also produced in the retina, skin and gastrointestinal tract, but it is a different type of melatonin from the one that influences the natural biorhythm.
Do you want to fall asleep quickly when lying in bed?
Well, at the end of this article you will know what to do to fall asleep in less than 1 minute. Try the following scientifically proven methods, which include relaxation techniques and mindfulness exercises to get you to sleep fast. So let’s see what these are!
Cool the room.
Did you know that our internal body temperature plays an important role in regulating the body’s biological clock? When you fall asleep, your body temperature drops slightly, which helps slow down the interior functions for a restful sleep. Lisa Meltzer, a recognized member of the National Sleep Foundation, says, “The secret to fast sleep and healthy sleep is a cool, dark and comfortable room. Such an atmosphere causes the brain to produce melatonin, which tells our inner clock it’s time to sleep. It is recommended that the room temperature in which we sleep is set between 15-21 ° C for the best sleeping conditions. ”
Take a hot shower.
Warming the body with a hot shower 1 hour before bedtime and then switching to cold air causes body temperature to drop rapidly. Studies show that this sharp drop in body temperature slows your metabolism and prepares the body for sleep.
If you take a shower every night at about the same time, thus forming a consistent sleep routine, then your body will sense what follows and you will fall asleep faster.
Perfume the bedroom with lavender.
Not only does this flower smell beautiful, but its aroma can relax your nerves, reduce blood pressure and it can induce a relaxing state. A 2005 study at Wesleyan University found that subjects who smelled the aroma of lavender oil for two minutes at intervals of 10 minutes before bedtime they fell asleep faster, experienced a deep sleep and felt more rested in the morning. You also try this technique to take advantage of the benefits.
Imagine a beautiful space.
Visualize an environment that makes you feel calm and happy. The key to success is to imagine a scene that is interesting and enjoyable enough to distract you from your thoughts and worries. In a study from Oxford University, insomniacs who have been trained to imagine a relaxing scene, such as a beach or a waterfall, fell asleep 20 minutes faster than the insomniacs told to count the sheep or do nothing special.
According to Metzler: “As adults, we often lose the ability to find stress management methods, but this practice is very important in order to fall asleep quickly and have a restful sleep. “
Associate the bed with sleep.
“It is important to avoid associating the bed with the activities you do when you wake up. Your body should recognize that lying in bed means it’s time to sleep. To give your bed this value, the only things you should do in bed are sleep and love, ”explains Metzler.
“Getting out of bed if you can’t sleep is sometimes hard to do, but still so important. To stay in bed only in the hours you want to sleep it means avoiding the subconscious association of the bed with watching television, thinking or worrying. This practice will help you fall asleep faster. “
Listen to music.
Studies show that any music that has a slow rate of 60-80 beats per minute, can help us fall asleep faster. In a 2008 study, students between the ages of 19 and 28, who listened to relaxing classical music for 45 minutes before bedtime, presented a significant improvement in sleep quality and a shortening of the time needed to fall asleep. Not only that, but they also reported a decrease in depression symptoms.
Eat dinner by candlelight.
When it comes to sleep, the light you get in the hours before bedtime is warmer, respectively less blue, the better.
“A light of any kind can suppress the body’s melatonin production, but the blue light waves prevent this accentuated process by changing the circadian rhythms, sleep-friendly. “says Harvard Health Publications.
Apart from electronic devices, such as tablets and smartphones, the largest blue-light scatterers in our homes are probably fluorescent light bulbs and LED lights, which many people use because of their energy efficiency and bright light. Sometimes take a romantic break and eat dinner by candlelight to fall asleep faster and have a more restful sleep.
Make a balloon (sounds kind of crazy, right?)
There are two types of benefits of blowing balloons before bedtime:
“Bubbles are slightly hypnotic when you look at them and in addition, creating them requires a deep breathing process, “said Rachel Mar professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
“It is like a deep breathing exercise, which helps us to relax and calm our body and mind. And since it’s such a trivial and hypnotic activity, it can relax us, inducing sleep. “
Other methods you should use to fall asleep quickly:
- Follow a constant sleep program – the human body can be “programmed”, so it is advisable to set fixed hours when you go to sleep and wake up.
- Administer natural dietary supplements that may help improve some of the main factors that cause insomnia.
- Create a relaxing sleeping space – temperature, lighting and noise are three of the factors that can affect sleep. Place opaque drapes on windows, opt for better sound insulation (state-of-the-art thermal windows) if you live near a busy street or near a building site and install an air conditioning unit, which will constantly maintain optimum room temperature.
- Choose a comfortable mattress – the bed can be another cause of insomnia, so check the condition of the mattress and replace it if left or cause a state of discomfort. A memory foam mattress can be a better alternative than a spring mattress.
- Do regular light exercises – because one of the main causes of insomnia is stress during the day, simple physical activities such as walking, swimming or light physical exercises before sleep can help relieve accumulated mental tension.
- Consume less caffeine, especially in the afternoon and evening – caffeine is one of the substances that impede sleep and is found in large quantities in coffee, teas and energy drinks, so it is recommended to reduce the consumption of these drinks in the second part of the day…
- Give up alcoholic beverages in high quantities – the scientific analysis3 of 27 studies, published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, shows that alcohol consumed in the evening gives a sleepy state, but during the night becomes a disturbing factor for sleep.
- Eat less in the evening – a rich dinner can induce, like alcohol, a state of drowsiness, but prolonged digestion during the night can cause sleep disturbance. Opt for light foods, such as chicken or fish and vegetables, and opt for spicy sauces.
- Relax as much as possible in the evening, both physically and mentally – a long bath, with bath foam and salts, will help induce a pleasant state, as well as relaxing music or reading your favourite book – be careful, do not use gadgets for to stay.
- Stop using your laptop or tablet at least an hour before sleep – a study published in Frontiers in Public Health4 showed that the gadgets we use extensively in the evening have an adverse effect on sleep. A good idea is to give up your tablet and mobile phone for an hour or more before bedtime.