Many people suffer from Insomnia. To be precise, research published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services state that 60 million Americans suffer from it. Someone who sleeps well now may not continue to sleep well in the future, as Insomnia increases with age and other detrimental factors. It affects 40% of women and 30% of men. The inability to be well rested after sleep or having trouble sleeping for at least three nights a week for over three weeks is the diagnosis for Insomnia. Acute Insomnia lasts between three weeks and six months. Doctors typically prescribe Lorazepam or Zolpidem to diminish this sleep disorder, forcing the body and mind to rest. However, considering most people have sleep disorders due to environmental, medical, or health factors, perhaps the best way to get rid of this disorder is to tackle the contributing factors themselves.
Stress is the most common environmental factor that reveals a correlation to Insomnia. Although many have stressful days and are still able to sleep, a massive increase of cortisol levels, released by adrenaline, obstruct the ability for the body to rest. With stress, the HPA-axis increases, which results in the increase of adrenaline and hyper secretion of cortisol. Stress often comes from disorganization, leading to many upcoming deadlines and things to do. Recognizing this as an issue is the first step of the process to diminish the root of the stress. In this instance, keeping and using an agenda on a regular basis will help in organizing thoughts and deadlines. Planning out the day will be easier, preventing wasting time and working last minute on projects. This will likely create a relaxed feeling throughout the day, providing near certainty that what needs to be done will be done on time.
Drugs always have a side effect. Many of them result in the inability to get proper rest. Alpha-blockers are prescribed to relax certain muscles and aide in keeping blood vessels open. However, they result in decreased REM sleep, meaning they do not wake up well rested and often leads to memory issues. Beta-blockers block the effect of the adrenaline hormone which leads people to believe it will reduce sleep disturbances. What people often forget is that beta-blockers also reduce the amount of melatonin the body secretes. Corticosteroids mimic the effects of natural hormones secreted by the body, which when exceeded, suppresses inflammation. This means corticosteroids adds stress to the adrenal glands which keeps the mind stimulated and the body alert. These types of drugs are often prescribed to improve blood pressure. The preventative measures in this situation would be to consume a healthy diet and live an active life.
Food consumption can improve moods, make people feel exhausted, and give someone a fit body. On the parallel side, it can also destroy moods, make people feel alert, and give someone an obese body. With food industries wanting to spend less and make more, natural ingredients are swapped with lab-made chemicals. Even when taking a natural resource like corn to produce corn syrup, the molecular structure is altered to enhance the flavor. With the amount of alterations and processing that goes into the production of food, by the time it reaches the store’s shelves, can it even be considered “food”? The consumption of “food” results in the weakening of the body. This means the body needs to work hard to maintain basic bodily functions and may have trouble keeping the body in perfect order. Again, stress factors in to people’s lack of sleep. To overcome this, read the labels on everything consumed. Since organic food is expensive and harder to obtain, go by the first five ingredients on every list. It ensures the majority of what is consumed is actually food and provides nutrition for the body. Avoid anything “enriched”, “refined”, “pasteurized”, using sugar alternatives, and names hard to pronounce.
Of course, insomnia cannot always be avoided. Sometimes genetics are the cause of acute insomnia. Whatever the case, it is always best to be aware of these things that factor into sleep habits, either now or in the future. Sleep is an important activity the body requires to maintain its health. When health decreases, more stress is added onto the body which increases sleep inability. Clearly this becomes a negative cycle. So keep in mind the factors of what may trigger insomnia and diminish them as soon as possible. Take away the drugs and take away the stress. Sweet dreams, and stay healthy.
N.A. (2005-2014). “Common Drugs and Medications to Treat Insomnia”. WebMD. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/drugs/condition-3063-Insomnia.aspx?dise..
Bradley Bush and Tori Hudson. (June 2010). “The Role of Cortisol in Sleep”. Natural Medicine Journal. Retrieved from http://naturalmedicinejournal.com/journal/2010-06/role-cortisol-sleep
Neel Jr., Aromon. (2013). “10 Types of Meds That Can Cause Insomnia”. AARP. Retrieved from http://www.aarp.org/health/drugs-supplements/info-04-2013/medications-that-can-cause-insomnia.html