Having trouble sleeping? Join the club. Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder in the general population and it’s often a huge pain to deal with as there can be a myriad of causes, and also many treatment options that might or might not work.
The usual method that general practitioners turn to when it comes to insomnia is medication. However, sleeping pills or mild sedatives are only recommended as a short-term measure. The first few days or weeks they’ll often knock you out cold with ease, but after a while their effectiveness will reduce as your body builds up a tolerance.
In this same vein, insomnia is divided into acute and chronic categories. Arguably, acute insomnia, described as lasting less than a month, is more straightforward to treat – have you had any changes or upheaval in your life? Changed some of your habits? Going through a break-up? A big project keeping you up at night? A particularly bad phase or some extra stress in your life could be keeping you up at night — and that can be rid of in time, or just from tackling that specific problem head on.
On the flip side, chronic insomnia could be a symptom of another underlying health issue, whether depression, anxiety, or other undiagnosed physical/mental illness. In that case, it’s often a combination of treatment methods, rather than a single one, that will help.
We wish we could fall asleep as easily as this baby…
Our top tip: engage in some plain ol’ self care.
And we’re not talking about getting a one-off massage or just getting some overpriced and weird-smelling candles for ‘relaxation’. We’re talking about real lifestyle changes.
Really, a lot of the tips we encounter have become common knowledge (though not common practice): get on a regular sleep schedule, avoid drinking caffeine late at night, eat healthy, exercise regularly…… But it’s tough to actually implement. We get it. You’re human, too (we hope).
What we do know is that if you’re constantly having trouble sleeping, a long-term problem should try to be solved with a similarly long-term solution. If that sounds like a lot of effort, it probably is – but stay with us here!
Here are some common methods of tackling insomnia:
- Developing habits for your relaxation, whether it’s winding down your evening listening to rainy sounds on Youtube, learning meditation (there are phone apps for that!), or yes, switching off your electronics and maybe, idk, having a real-life conversation with your loved one before bed.
- Therapy: Common therapy methods such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy helps with tackling underlying thinking patterns and perhaps help identify why you’re having sleeping problems in the first place.
- Lifestyle changes: Yeah, late-night benders or work sessions, constantly eating junk food, leading a sedentary lifestyle – those are just not good for you, period. But don’t try to overhaul your life all at once! Choose one habit you want to get rid of or develop – and stick with it for a few weeks.
And if you’re still having trouble sleeping and you’ve exhausted all your Google search results, then go have a chat with your GP, man. We’re invested in how well you sleep!