Insomnia is one of the most common kinds of discomfort. Millions of people across the world experience it daily. It is also one of the oldest forms of discomfort known to mankind, as old as sleep itself. As the world evolves into a more globalized era, more people are experiencing insomnia.
Insomnia is simply the inability to sleep. Medicalnewstoday calls it ‘a prevalent sleep disorder’. It affects both men and women, adults and children. Insomnia implies lack of sleep as much as lack of quality sleep. What use is sleeping if it would not have the expected relaxing effect?
Insomnia is very dangerous. It can cause Kidney diseases and Alzheimers. In a recent study from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, U.S.A, medical scientists were able to link insomnia with kidney function decline, kidney failure, and an increased mortality risk. The lead researchers involved with the study, worked with a large cohort of U.S. veterans.
According to the research results, chronic insomnia was tied to a 1.4 times higher risk of mortality for any cause, as well as a 1.5 times higher risk of kidney decline, and an even steeper increase in risk of kidney failure: 2.4 times.
There are various stages of insomnia. It may involve difficulty in initiating sleep, usually noticeable while going to bed. It can also involve difficulty in maintaining sleep, which is characterized by waking up for long hours or several times at night. Another stage of insomnia described is early morning awakening without been able to return to sleep.
Irrespective of the stage, experts generally classify insomnia into three types based on duration and frequency:
i. Transient insomnia, which occurs from a few days to weeks.
ii. Acute insomnia, which can persist for some weeks and stop.
iii. Chronic insomnia, which can last for several months or even years.
Dealing with insomnia, requires dealing with the primary cause for it is usually a secondary symptom of an underlying problem rather than the problem itself. The stage and type also determine treatment.
The 21st century has brought in more opportunities with the explosion of technology, but it has also increased uncertainties, and pressure. People find themselves handling several responsibilities at the same time while also battling with family commitments. This is why the main cause of insomnia is stress or jet lag from prolonged work or travelling. This can cause transient insomnia initially but can eventually lead to chronic insomnia with repeated occurrence. Another common cause is psychological and emotional issues which can either be as a result of stress or mental conditions like bipolar disorder. Many people find themselves thinking too much and this leads to inability to sleep.
There are numerous medical conditions that can cause sleepless nights. These include cancer, stroke, heart diseases, diabetes, etc. Drugs and hormonal imbalance are also significant factors
Although insomnia often stops when its underlying cause is resolved, it can still be treated. Treatment ranges from medical to psychology, to physical exercise. people having sleepless nights can take sleeping pills, based on prescription.
In 2015, Nigerian researchers discovered a herbal sedative that cures insomnia. The leaves of Stachytarpheta cayennensis, a tropical African plant were found to be the perfect remedy for sleeplessness and anxiety. Used by local Yoruba and Hausa people for centuries, the usefulness of the plant has now been confirmed by research.
Beyond medicine, insomnia can be managed and treated by cultivating a variety of habits and carrying out a range of activities that will help you sleep. The major cause of sleeplessness is anxiety. It has been shown that anxiety disorders afflict approximately 10 per cent of the world population in one or many of its forms such as panic attacks, social phobias or generalized anxiety disorders.
Getting on a consistent sleeping schedule, reducing worry and anxiety, reducing alcohol, nicotine and caffeine consumption, and taking water before sleeping have been known to improve the quality and quantity of sleep. It is also worthy to note that potential cause of emotional stress such as conflicts in relationships or at work should be sorted out. Exercise also does a great deal of help.
Lastly, a dose of good sex does not only exercise your muscles and puts them in great condition for bed, it also puts you in a good mood that helps sleep.