Do you feel dissatisfied with your sleep? If you answered yes, and if it’s a recurring problem, then, my friend, you could be suffering from insomnia. It’s a condition where a person faces difficulty in falling asleep even when they have the chance to do so. And if they happen to sleep, it’s not for long either. There are several factors that cause insomnia, most of which we are probably unaware of. For example, disturbed sleep patterns, bad eating habits, anxiety or stress, jet lag, all these can obstruct you from getting your essential ZZZs.
Most of us don’t really talk about our sleep troubles -we either feel habituated by them or we think that it’s something that needs to be dealt with on our own. Studies say that every year, nearly 60 million people become insomniac in nature (1). And this is a condition that can last from a few days, months to even a few years. To ensure that you and I don’t join the bandwagon of insomniacs, we’ve put together a quick read about what causes insomnia and the side effects it has on our bodies.
Causes Of Insomnia
Primarily, insomnia is of two types – primary insomnia, which doesn’t have any underlying cause and secondary insomnia which occurs due to a specific cause. Insomnia can be either categorized as chronic or acute. Irrespective of the type, these are the main factors that contribute to insomnia.
Considered to be one of the most common causes of insomnia, depression can be a result of the chemical imbalance in your brain which is mainly caused by disrupted sleeping patterns in your lifestyle. Another factor could be stress developed due to disturbing thoughts and fears, which again occur when one isn’t sleeping enough.
Studies say that women are more prone to develop insomnia than the men, almost twice as likely (2). Due to hormonal imbalance, especially during their menstrual cycles, they are exposed to more of those sleepless nights. Women tend to fall prey to insomnia when they’ve reached the menopause stage when they face night sweats or hot flashes.
Insomnia is predominant among the aged and the elderly. Haven’t you noticed your grandmother or grandfather wake up as early as 3 am at times? They find it difficult to sleep and most of the times, they end up having a nap in the morning to compensate for the lost sleep. Research has shown that nearly 50 percent of those aged 60 years or plus, suffer from insomnia (3).
There are a zillion medications out there that can cause insomnia – stimulants, pain medications, those weight loss products that contain caffeine, even the medications that we take for allergy or blood pressure, etc.
Now, below is a list of some serious side effects that insomnia has on our body. Let’s read together.
1. Leads To Accidents
One of the major public safety hazards is lack of sleep. It’s equivalent to driving drunk. It doesn’t just end at road accidents. Drowsiness can also lead to major accidents at work that your boss wouldn’t be happy about. Even the studies say so (4).
2. Slows Down Cognitive Process
Our brain rests mostly when our body is at rest i.e. while sleeping. And a good night’s sleep is the only thing that will help you think, process, and learn the next day. Fatigue can take a toll on our ability to concentrate as well as on our problem-solving skills. It prevents us from utilizing our brain’s full potential.
3. Leads To Chronic Health Problems
Lack of sleep doesn’t just affect your beauty; it also makes way for copious life-threatening ailments. A study says that 90 percent of those who suffer from insomnia have one or the other of the following ailments (5).
- High blood pressure
- Heart failure
- Irregularities in heart palpitations
4. Weight Gain
Insomnia leads to increased hunger which increases our appetite and this eventually leads to weight gain. Studies say that those who sleep less than 7 hours are likely to be two times hungrier than those who get more than 7 hours of sleep.
But, don’t worry, we’ve also listed down some ways to get rid of insomnia naturally. Here you go.
- Make A Sleeping Schedule
By sleeping schedule what we mean to say is schedule your entire day. Schedule your slots for your food and work. Give yourself enough rest after a hectic day at work.
- Drink Chamomile Tea
Consider this tea as magic as it’s one of the oldest recipes for treating insomnia. The calming effect of the tea induces sleep, it’s almost like a mild tranquilizer. Studies say that if we drink a cup of this tea an hour before going to bed, we are likely to sleep peacefully and for a longer period without any disturbance (6).
- Sleep In Dark
For this, you can try wearing the blackout eye mask or simply make sure you’ve covered your windows with the thick curtains. Sleeping in darkness helps our body produce a hormone called melatonin. The rise in melatonin makes our body and brain less active which makes us sleep better (7).
- Eat Grains For Lunch
What we eat throughout the day affects the quality of our sleep at night. Therefore, if you’re suffering from insomnia, it’s important to know what the dos and don’ts are. Consider eating complex carbohydrates for your lunch, these foods have a hormone called serotonin (happy hormone). This hormone is later converted into melatonin when you sleep (8). This will increase your metabolism and give you a sound sleep.
These were some of the causes, side effects, and remedies of insomnia. Now we all know how much effort it takes to be a sleeping beauty, right? If you suffer from insomnia, share your experience with us in the comments section.
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