Well, I have to believe that this post has hit home with everyone of us at sometime in our lives. Reportedly some 64 million Americans suffer from Insomnia every year. Having Insomnia is definitely not a fun thing to go through. Getting a good nights sleep seems so easy, but unfortunately it cannot be. Yes, Insomnia can leave you you feeling, acting, and looking like a Zombie (bad hair included), but there is much more to it. What's is causing it, how is it effecting your health, and what can you do to stop it?
Insomnia can be caused by so many things. TO MANY THINGS. But anyway, let the list begin... It can be caused by stress, anxiety, and depression (all three possibly stemming from a relationship, work, financial, or health matters), pain (physical), noise (from in or outside the home), caffeine (from coffee, soda, tea, or energy drinks), to much alcohol (more than the therapeutic one drink for women and two for men), physical activity (working out before bedtime), nicotine from cigarette smoking, sugar (from candy, soda, or snacks), prescription drugs, OTC weight loss pills, hormonal imbalance (MENOPAUSE, serotonin, or actylcholine), changing of your work schedule (this is known as changing/disrupting your biological rhythm), eating late or before bedtime, sleep apnea (this is temporarily stopping to breathe while sleeping), substance abuse, and even Restless Legs Syndrome.
Unfortunately, there are health risks and consequences from Insomnia too. You will find these range from: a slower metabolism, mood swings, slurred speech, decreased cognitive ability (not making correct decisions at home, work, financially, etc...), decreased alertness (falling asleep on the job, increased chance of car accidents), Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, psychiatric disorders (delusional), not enough recovery time for the body to heal itself from an ailment, lack of time needed for younger people to properly grow, the body to cleanse itself, loss of memory, increased fatigue, loss of productivity at work, and muscle aches.
Now, here is the laundry list of goodies for you to try so you can STOP THE INSOMNIA and get that healthy good nights sleep. These would include: new pillows, "white noise" (the constant humming sound of a fan or a furnace), relaxing music/sound machine (the sounds of the ocean, crickets and frogs, classical music, etc...), total darkness (turn off all lights, computers, shut all shades, etc...), reading, a massage, a shower or bath, antihistamines (Benadryl - used commonly in nursing homes and hospitals), tryptophan (from a supplement or milk), hypnosis (sessions with a therapist or from a preprogrammed music cd), exercise (must be 4 hours or more from bedtime), turn off your cell phone, turn off the laptop, turn the clock away so you cannot see the time, turn off the television (if you feel it helps, then set the timer to automatically turn off in an hour), ear plugs, eye mask, eye pillow (a lightly weighted soft pillow, may contain soothing herbs, that sits across both eyes - no straps), meditation, visualization, praying, no napping during the day, sexual activity, herbs (they can be a supplement or in a tea - Chamomile, Lavender, Valerian, Kava Kava, or St. John's Wort), aromatherapy (please don't use candles, but place loose herbs in a bowl next to your bed), prescription drugs (Ambien or Lunesta), OTC medications (Alteril, Tylenol PM, Advil PM, or Unisom), go to bed at the same time every night, sublingual Melatonin (puts you to sleep in about 30 minutes and you hit your REM cycle faster), be organized for the next days events so your mind is free/relaxed/clear, keep the bedroom temperature cool, a new mattress, slow and deep breathing exercises, try sleeping on your side, have your doctor schedule you with a Sleep Disorder Clinic, spend time outdoors and getting fresh air, don't drink an excessive amount of liquids (you don't need to make a lot of trips to the bathroom), and Mantram (this is repeating over and over certain words or phrases that help you bring together consciousness and counteract negative thoughts - for example try repeating, "Let the Lord bring love, health, peace, and prosperity to all").
So to conclude this post on Insomnia, once you get it figured out, the optimum healthy number of hours of sleep you need is 7 to 8.