Even counting sheep, some nights it can happen that it is difficult to fall into the arms of Morpheus. If insomnia coincides with a difficult moment that we are experiencing, the situation will only be temporary. Indeed, as soon as the stressful course is far behind you, sleep is there again.
Unfortunately, for some people, restless sleep or sleepless nights are part of everyday life. For these people, getting sleep is simply difficult, if not impossible. They are insomniacs. Fortunately, it is entirely possible to combat this sleep problem. Let's do a check in.
What is sleep and what is its importance for our body?
Sleep is nothing more than the opposite of wakefulness. This is a state where the body is temporarily unconscious, without losing its sensory capabilities. It corresponds on average to 8 hours of the circadian cycle (24 hours).
Sleep occurs in four phases.
- Sleepiness: this is the transition stage with wakefulness.
- Light sleep: we are asleep, but we remain sensitive to external stimulation.
- Deep sleep: it manifests itself by immobilization of the body, slow breathing and a reduction in external sensitivity.
- REM sleep: this is the time when the brain is most active while falling asleep. It is accompanied by dreams.
Just like breathing or digestion, sleep is a biological function. Furthermore, like eating or drinking, it is a fundamental need of humans – and of animals. Sleeping is therefore crucial for every individual. For children, quality sleep allows them to grow well, thanks to the secretion of growth hormone. As for older children, this time allows them to recover and improve their psychological health.
In short, sleep is both a physical and psychological need that allows us to enjoy a better quality of life and to flourish better.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that has been widespread in Western countries since the last century. Studies have revealed that it affects around 20% of the adult population of France, with a large majority of women.
It manifests itself as a decline in the quality and quantity of sleep. So, if in general, 7 to 8 hours of sleep are necessary for complete recovery, it happens that insomniacs sleep less than 5 hours per night. For good reason, the person has difficulty falling asleep quickly. It may take hours of staring at the ceiling or tossing and turning in bed before falling asleep, hence the reduced hours of rest. An individual with insomnia also experiences many nighttime awakenings.
In extreme cases, the subject may involuntarily spend a complete sleepless night because of their sleep disorder.
What are the consequences of insomnia/sleepless night?
Poor sleep quality due to insomnia has unpleasant repercussions both physically and psychologically.
On a physical level, frequently having sleepless nights generally causes:
- enormous fatigue;
- undereye bags ;
- body aches ;
- daytime sleepiness;
- alteration of immune defense.
Sometimes, people who lack sleep can also develop diabetes, obesity or hypertension.
On a psychological level, the consequences of insomnia are:
- difficulty concentrating;
- memory problems;
- acute irritability;
- depression (severe case).
All of this can then cause other problems such as:
- academic difficulties in children;
- absenteeism from the office;
- road accidents due to loss of vigilance;
- the decline in the quality of social relationships.
Having trouble closing your eyes at night or having restless sleep can be the result of many factors. Here are 8 main causes of insomnia.
- Jet lag. The circadian rhythm is disrupted and the person has difficulty finding sleep cues.
- Bad bedding. The mattress or pillow may be uncomfortable.
- Hyperconnection on screens. Social networks, films and series, video games, reading on tablet. Today, the majority of us spend time in front of all kinds of screens before going to sleep. However, the blue light from screens is a powerful stimulant which prevents the passage of the sandman.
- Poor conditions for falling asleep such as: traffic noise, bright light, the presence of a newborn, a room that is too hot or too cold, etc.
- Poor nutrition at night. Difficult digestion does not allow you to fall asleep quickly.
- A psychological disorder (stress, anxiety, etc.) that causes restless sleep and nighttime awakenings.
- Certain pathologies, such as a bad cold, arthritis, an allergy or even sleep apnea.
- Pregnancy causes restless sleep and insomnia due to discomfort. Pregnant women have difficulty finding a good sleeping position. Not to mention waking up at night because of baby kicking.
Here are 8 simple gestures and reflexes that allow you to have a more peaceful night's sleep and avoid insomnia.
- Maintain regular sleep schedules. This first point is essential. Sleeping and waking up at the same time every day allows you to properly regulate your biological clock. It's a great way to fall asleep quickly.
- Favor light, but balanced meals at dinner. Dishes composed of slow glucose are preferred. These facilitate digestion and accelerate falling asleep. Be careful, skipping the evening meal risks causing a craving. As a result, we wake up in the middle of the night.
- Disconnect from all screens at least 2 hours before going to bed. This allows the brain to prepare to better accommodate sleep.
- Avoid physical activity 4 hours before bedtime. On the contrary, encouraging relaxation activities, such as meditation, yoga, a good hot bath, listening to music, reading a book or doing a massage improves the quality of sleep.
- Ensure that the atmosphere in the bedroom invites you to sleep: darkness, good sound insulation, relaxing decoration. Also check the good quality of the bedding.
- Practice herbal medicine. Many plants are good friends that help you get to sleep. For example, you can take a cup of hemp flower infusion to relax before going to bed.
- Avoid stimulants during the evening. Caffeine, nicotine, energy drink. These risk stimulating the brain even more and causing restless sleep.
- Try not to think too much about everyday problems. Thinking and ruminating about the situation will only lead to a sleepless night.
What to do the day after insomnia?
To stay on your feet the day after insomnia, here are some wise tips.
- Start the day with a cool shower to give yourself a boost.
- Rely on a breakfast rich in slow carbohydrates.
- Have a light snack filled with vitamins.
- Enjoy the sun ! Natural light is more easily kept awake.
- Take a deep breath of air. Taking regular breaks outside and letting the fresh air do its work helps you stay awake.
Ultimately, to avoid insomnia, it is not necessary to spend money on sleeping pills! Good gestures are enough to say goodbye to sleepless nights and enjoy sweeter dreams.