Insomnia Disrupts Normal Daily Activities
Doctors recommend getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep on a daily basis to keep us healthy and well-rested. Unfortunately for many people that’s not a reality and, for one reason or another, a clinical sleep disorder referred to as insomnia can occur. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, roughly one-third of the U.S. population suffers from some level of insomnia, while for people over the age of 60 it’s more like 50%. If you or someone you love suffers from insomnia, it can become a burden that impacts all other aspects of life, including personal relationships, school and work.
Symptoms of Insomnia Include these
Temporary insomnia may occur due to normal routine disruptions like jet lag, a work shift change or worrying. Chronic insomnia, on the flipside, is a more serious condition that impacts about 10% of us. Patients with chronic insomnia present with these symptoms:
- Fatigue and lack of energy
- Difficulty concentrating or focusing on tasks
- Decreased job, school or other activities performance
- Memory loss
- Mood swings affecting workplace and interpersonal relationships
- Overall tired feeling during normal waking hours
Left untreated, chronic insomnia can begin affecting a person’s health, job performance, sex life and even ability to safely drive. Accidents and performance mistakes in many life situations are possible at that point. It’s estimated that over $63 billion in annual lost work productivity in the U.S. is due to insomnia. When you or a loved one fall under the spell of insomnia, it’s prudent to seek outside professional assistance, including outpatient counseling and coaching.
Effective Insomnia Treatments are Available
If you suffer from chronic insomnia, which means sleep deprivation issues lasting for more than 3 months, there are a number of reliable methods to overcome it. Many start with changing attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that adversely alter normal sleep patterns. This process is known in clinical circles as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Here are a few approaches commonly used to combat insomnia:
- There’s a strong correlation between depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Working on a CBT program that addresses all of those conditions together is advised.
- Sleep in a room that’s dark, as sunlight produces biochemical responses in your body which can alter sleep. This is especially important when someone’s schedule requires sleeping during daylight hours.
- Exercise routinely which will make your body feel tired when it’s time to sleep. People with insomnia tend to gain weight, so exercising will also help burn excess calories. In addition, exercise is a great way to reduce stress if that is tied to your insomnia.
- Avoid alcohol or caffeine consumption within several hours of your normal bedtime.
- Stay on a regular sleep schedule, or in other words go to bed around the same time every night.
- Buy a more comfortable mattress that best conforms to your body’s needs.
- Don’t consume a large meal prior to retiring to bed.
- Have an in-lab sleep test conducted to better understand your sleep patterns.
- Take sleeping pills or other medications when prescribed by a physician. However, they need to be taken per product labeling, and not as a long-term solution. Side effects with any prescription medications are possible, and sleeping pills are no exception.
- Speak with a Thriveworks Short Pump insomnia counselor or coach about your issues with sleeplessness. They can help assess what’s interfering with your sleep, and recommend CBT lifestyle modifications.
When Insomnia Strikes Don’t Go it Alone!
Whether you choose to use any or all of the above recommendations, the bottom line is this: Don’t go it alone. Left untreated, your or your loved one’s chronic insomnia can become progressively more damaging, while the emotional, mental and even physical burden eventually becomes impossible to bear. For more information on insomnia, Thriveworks Henrico, VA counseling services, or how to become a certified counselor or coach, call: 804-205-3408 or visit our Contact page now.