Can’t fall asleep? AUGH!!! Who hasn’t dealt with insomnia? It’s miserable and you never know when it’ll happen to you.
If this is happening to you or a loved one and you’re beginning your search for answers on insomnia, the information you’ll find here is general in nature, but offers some sound answers and solutions.
What Is Insomnia?
The National Sleep Foundation says insomnia is a disorder defined as chronic complaints of unsatisfactory sleep, despite having an adequate opportunity to sleep.
If you’re laying in bed and you can’t fall asleep or can’t stay asleep on a continuous basis, you’re dealing with insomnia.
Let’s hear the collective sigh right now.
It’s the most common sleep complaint with around 30 million of us dealing with it on any given night. What’s worse approximately 10 – 15 percent of adults complain of chronic and severe insomnia which means it affects how you function during the day. Oh, and it lasts for more than 30 days.
I’m tired just thinking about it.
Here’s what else the National Sleep Foundation says about insomnia:
Insomnia complaints can include difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, waking up too early, and/or having sleep that is not refreshing2. These four complaints depend on many factors, including age, and may indicate other disorders such as circadian rhythm disorders rather than insomnia — adolescents have more problems falling asleep3, while older adults have more trouble staying asleep (particularly in the early morning hours). It is not unusual for patients to report more than one of these insomnia complaints4.
Some of the other symptoms are:
- Not feeling well-rested after a night’s sleep
- Daytime tiredness or sleepiness
- Irritability, depression or anxiety
- Difficulty paying attention, focusing on tasks or remembering
- Increased errors or accidents
- Ongoing worries about sleep
Sleep deprivation is serious business. Lack of sleep causes everything from car accidents to heart disease. If you think you’re having major problems with your sleep, you really need to talk with your medical professional. They may send you to a sleep clinic to try and figure out what the cause is.
What Causes Insomnia
On the RMHealthy.com website, insomnia is broken down into two main areas, primary and secondary:
Primary insomnia means that a person is having sleep problems that are not directly associated with any other health condition or problem. On the inverse, we have secondary insomnia, which means that a person is having sleep problems because of something else, such as a health condition. These could include everything from asthma to anxiety, medication to heartburn.
That means there’s a whole lot of insomnia causes:
- Health condition
- Irregular sleep patterns
- Eating too late at night
- Travel through time zones
- Sleep Apnea
How Do You Treat Insomnia?
Here’s some simple things you can do to help your body get better sleep:
- Exercise more. Please don’t hate me! Your body is meant to move and exercising first thing in the morning may help.
- No alcohol or cigarettes after 7 PM. Nuff said here.
- Move your clock – especially if it’s lighted – out of your view.
- Keep your bedroom dark, quiet and cool.
- Use your bedroom only for sleeping and sex.
- Turn off anything electronic at least one hour before bedtime. The blue light emanating from electronics is known to disrupt sleep cycles.
- No caffeine after 3 PM. If you’re used to that extra cup of coffee or cola in the afternoon, this could very well be the culprit.
- Spray magnesium oil directly on your body. Studies show that magnesium deficiency negatively affects your sleep.
Our sleep cycles change as we age and you may have been a sound sleeper all your life. Age, stress, life circumstances, health issues and menopause all contribute to poor sleep.
You can take a sleeping pill but the thing about them is they don’t offer refreshing sleep. The side effects may carry through to the next day with a groggy, disconnected feeling. And they may become addictive (I don’t care what the TV commercial says!).
What’s worse, one of the side effects of prescription sleep aids is suicidal thoughts – is this really something you want to deal with?
Before you go this route, read on for safer options.
How Does Aromatherapy Help With Insomnia?
There are several essential oils that absolutely can help you sleep better.
- Lavender is always a good choice as it promotes balance and relaxes you.
- Valerian has a woody and unusual aroma but has been used forever to help with sleep issues.
- Vetiver is a very calming and another oil that promotes balance.
- Neroli is wonderful for soothing and calming when feeling frazzled.
- Roman Chamomile is excellent for relaxing at bedtime.
You can diffuse these oils or put a couple of drops of any (or all of them) into some unscented body lotion and apply directly to your chest prior to bedtime.
If you don’t have these oils, I make a blend called Sleepytime Lotion that helps you relax and fall asleep faster as well as stay asleep longer. Spraying Lavender and Eucalyptus Linen Mist on your sheets and pillows helps to relax and calm your mind. If you can’t have Eucalyptus, I also have Lavender Linen Mist to spray on your pillow (you can even spray it on yourself!)
Can aromatherapy make all your sleep problems magically go away? No.
You really need to talk with your medical professional to find out the underlying issue – that’s important. But aromatherapy can help you sleep better and stay asleep longer.
One more thing – if you’re waking up during the night especially between 3 and 5 AM, ask yourself this question: Is there something my soul wants me to awaken to?
Then pay attention.
Food for thought.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.