Updated: Sep 20, 2021
Imagine, you have had a long day, all you want to do is go to bed and sleep. But, what if you cannot sleep? You lie in bed waiting for your mind to finally get some rest but you just can’t sleep. Even if you can sleep, you find it difficult to stay asleep. You toss and turn, and wake up every few minutes. This is a harsh reality for many. About 30% of the population around the world suffers from at least one or more symptoms of Insomnia. Celebrities including but not limited to Madonna, Jennifer Aniston and George Clooney have all shared their struggles with insomnia.
“Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together” — Thomas Dekker
Good sleep is essential to wake up feeling refreshed and energized every morning. What happens when your sleep itself becomes the reason behind fatigue and exhaustion? The person might experience irritability, low mood, lack of energy, decreased concentration and motivation all day. This can lead to low productivity at work and disruption in one’s social life. It could also make the person constantly worry about not being able to sleep again at night.
Some individuals only face a few symptoms for distinct nights (Transient Acute Insomnia). This lasts less than 3 months and might resolve on its own. If the symptoms persist longer than 3 months (chronic Insomnia), it’s advisable to seek professional help.
Some common practices that can help in dealing with the symptoms of insomnia:
“To sleep with my phone at least five feet away from me. That’s helped me tremendously” — Jennifer Aniston, Huffpost
There is enough evidence on how phones are one of the major reasons behind poor sleep quality. Using phone releases dopamine (a chemical that makes us feel aroused, motivated), which inhibits the release of melatonin — responsible for preparing our body for sleep. It only makes sense why it’s best to avoid being exposed to digital screens before bedtime.
Insomnia can also result from a negative association with the bed. Sometimes, we get into bed without actually feeling tired or drowsy. We also indulge in watching movies, playing games or even eating. This habit of jumping into bed while we are still alert conditions our brain to associate it with a place for thinking and does not associate it with sleep.
Indulging in healthy bedtime habits such as reading a book, maintaining a gratitude journal or meditation can be helpful. Relaxation techniques such as yoga and mindfulness have also proven to help one sleep better. You can find experts such as mindfulness therapists, yoga and cyclic meditation instructor at ManoShala.
Muskan Gupta, Psychologist, ManoShala