Putting the Insomnia Monster to Sleep

It is 10:00 PM. You tuck yourself into bed. Your eyes drench in darkness, but a soothing silence sings to the ears. You imagine what you had eaten the past couple of hours, drifting your mind away from what worries you. Then, you think about the bills you have to pay. You wake up. It is 10:15 PM. Going back to bed, you find yourself in solitude. Did I turn the water faucet off? Am I going to another meeting tomorrow? Slowly, these thoughts eat away your brain. Your eyes remain wide awake until a flicker of light pierces through your window blinds. It is now 7:00 AM and you haven’t had a single second of sleep. Welcome our fellow invisible monster, insomnia.

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that prevents people from going to sleep. According to the American Sleep Association, almost 70 million Americans have a sleep disorder, insomnia being the most common. Eight to ten hours of sleep are recommended, yet 35 percent of Americans get less than eight hours of sleep. Insomnia plays a role in gaining weight, increasing anxiety, and lack of coordination. It has led to drastic consequences such as having a car accident. Of all the things that cause insomnia, stress is number one.

Technology causes people to lose sleep because before they go to bed, they would check on the news, play games, and do numerous activities. Teenagers are most affected by phone use which cuts down their needed sleep hours. Phone technology utilizes applications that force people to be more alert and interactive in our environment. It takes an average of 10 to 20 minutes to fall asleep. Here, we share some tips to help improve sleep habits and fight the invisible monster, insomnia.

Set up a routine to go to bed at a certain time at night. Avoid using any digital devices within thirty minutes of going to bed so you don’t get your mind occupied with technology.

Regular exercise keeps your body fit and improves your sleep performance. Studies in the Sleep Foundation have shown that those who have insomnia are less active than those who do not have insomnia. Exercising increases body temperature and releases endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers (also known as the “feel good” chemicals). Running produces serotonin, a chemical that helps modulate moods, which helps the timing of your sleep schedule. It is recommended to get at least thirty minutes of exercise every day. Some aerobic activities that help induce sleep include running, walking, swimming, and cycling.

Another thing that plays a huge role in one’s sleep is nutrition. Alcohol and coffee can make it more difficult to fall asleep. Caffeine in coffee keeps you awake because it blocks the chemical receptors in the brain from communicating with each other on activating sleep. Having a large meal can break your sleep because the brain is restlessly telling your body to break down the foods. By eating a healthy diet and limiting large dinners, you help the brain command sleep better.

Insomnia has been an ongoing issue for young adults and teens today. This has led to major accidents on the road and increased mental health issues. Before using these tips to improve sleep, please contact your doctor to consult on proper activities that can help reduce insomnia.


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