Insomnia and Stress
When we sleep, as human beings, our bodies go through a cycle of consciousness that ultimately leaves us feeling refreshed and ready for a new day. However, there are those among us who struggle with sleep and this can be due in no small part to stress or anxiety.
This inability to sleep is known as Insomnia and can last anything from one night to several nights and in extreme – or chronic cases – can last weeks or longer.
About InsomniaInsomnia is split into three separate categories:
- Transient Insomnia: lasting 2-3 days
- Short-term Insomnia: more than few days but less than 3 weeks
- Chronic Insomnia: most nights for more than 3 weeks
Causes of InsomniaMany people who suffer from Insomnia do so without actually knowing that there is an underlying problem that has brought about the onset of the condition. For the most part, as we have already mentioned, stress is that underlying factor and it should be addressed, especially if the Insomnia is present in excessive bouts.
Most stresses can be coped with but, if left untreated, can lead to Insomnia, which in itself, if not treated, can lead to other issues such as depression and ill health. Where depression or stress is a contributing factor you could find yourself also suffering from the following:
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of concentration
- Aches and pains without explanation
- Aggressive behaviour
- Inability to communicate with others
Likewise if you do suffer from Insomnia brought about by stress – or indeed just stress – it is not a good idea to consume alcohol. Your doctor will tell you this should you seek his or her advice. Alcohol makes the body produce more adrenalin and therefore interrupts the body’s natural sleep rhythm. And as we are aware sometimes when we are stressed or under pressure the desire to have a drink and forget our troubles – even for a short time – is strong.
Beating InsomniaThere are many things you can do as an individual to try and alleviate the problem of Insomnia.
The most obvious one is to avoid caffeine at all costs before bedtime. Have a hot milky drink if you can and avoid eating heavy meals. Obviously, where stress is the contributing factor, the likelihood is that you won’t be eating heavy meals as loss of appetite takes hold but should you feel you wish to eat try not to do so before retiring to bed. Also avoid bringing work home from the office if you can as this can be stressful and represents the same stress as being in the workplace even though you are at home.
If the Insomnia persists beyond a couple of days you might find it useful to visit your doctor. Your doctor will be able to tell you from your symptoms whether or not the Insomnia is nothing more than a short-term problem or if it is being caused by extraneous factors like stress or anxiety.
Your doctor may well consider a short course of sleeping pills to help you get back into the routine of sleep but this is only a last ditch attempt to alleviate the problem as sleeping pills are addictive and more often than not are not representative of a proper night’s sleep.