Trouble sleeping – insomnia. Sleepless nights – insomnia. Problems with falling asleep – insomnia. For most of us, “insomnia” is a bottomless pit into which, without much thought, we throw all of the irregularities related to a good night’s rest. Meanwhile, although insomnia has many names, it is easily mistaken for other disorders.
A sleepless night or one where we sleep briefly doesn’t mean we have a problem with insomnia. However, this is undoubtedly one of its elements. So when does our inability to fall asleep become a disorder?
– When we have difficulty falling asleep, and we suffer significantly.
– We wake up in the middle of the night, and have a hard time going back to sleep again or can’t go back to sleep at all.
– We wake up too early in the morning, so we don’t get enough sleep.
It is worth noting that we may have only one symptom or a few of these symptoms. It may also happen that, at first, we struggled to go to sleep, then later, it turned into waking up during the night. Usually, it means that our time asleep is shorter. However, it also can happen despite sleeping for 7-9 hours, and we wake up still tired or feeling as if we had slept for only 15 minutes. Conclusion? We find that insomnia is based mainly on how we feel, difficulty falling asleep, or the inability to fall back to sleep. Another possibility is that, despite being asleep, we are extremely vigilant, as if the softest whisper could wake us up.
So insomnia is not about lack of sleep, but problems with sleepiness – with “breaking into” waves of fatigue and falling asleep at times and moments that we would like to spend on other things.
When the brain plays tricks on us
At work, do you dream about being in your bed and going to sleep, but at night your brain decides to go into overdrive and analyse what your partner said in 2014 at 4:05 pm? It is a common condition. Difficulty falling asleep may be accompanied by wakefulness, which is one of the most common symptoms of insomnia. It is the same with waking up – it’s as if someone snapped their fingers and suddenly decided that our brain should start working. There is one common denominator for this group of symptoms: we cannot decide for ourselves when to fall asleep or when to get up. It’s as if someone had a remote control to control our body.
However, the list does not end there. The second group of symptoms that characterise insomnia is daytime malaise caused by insufficient or ineffective sleep. The most common conditions we feel are:
– lack of energy
– inability to concentrate
– concentration and memory disorders
– irritation and frustration
– bad mood
Is it insomnia?
Not every sleepless night means we have a problem with insomnia. In fact, each of us has times of bad dreams related to the day’s activities or stresses. According to specialists, insomnia is determined primarily by the duration of the symptoms we wrote about above. The problem begins when you have at least three ineffective nights of sleep a week for at least three months, which leads to a significant worsening in well-being.
This fact does not mean, however, that during the three months when we are not satisfied with the quality of our sleep, we can just stand by. Far from it! It is worth your time to actively approach the solution to this problem because it may be enough to change a few of your habits to enjoy a good mood again in the morning.
What can you do until then?
– Observe your habits during the day and in the evening – it may turn out that you drink your last coffee too late, reply to emails from work in bed, or don’t take enough breaks.
– Note how much time you watch TV or use the computer and phone – being woke up is one of the most common causes of chronic sleep disorders!
– Find new solutions – if the ones you have tried so far don’t work, it’s time to change your tactics. Have you already read about the benefits of a weighted blanket? Perhaps it is time to focus on this topic.
Remember that sleep’s greatest and most dangerous enemy is stress. Tension accumulates throughout the body, making you unable to sleep. At first, you can’t sleep because you are stressed, and then you become stressed because you can’t sleep. Therefore, it is worth the effort to reduce stress.