4 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT INSOMNIA

 4 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT INSOMNIA

Insomnia can be a killer. Sleep is a very important biological process that our body needs to be able to function well when it’s awake. Not sleeping well means our bodies don’t get enough rest, and the results could be fatigue and depression among other things. While all of us have the occasional sleepless night, for some of us, almost 10% of us, sleeplessness – or insomnia – is a chronic condition and something to live with throughout their lives.
Untreated insomnia can be dangerous too. All doctors agree that people with poor sleep quality have a higher risk of everything from depression to high blood pressure to early death.
Here are a few things that you should know about insomnia.
1. Genes make a difference
Your genetic makeup affects whether or not you sleep well. We don’t know why, but some people are naturally better than others at shutting down their brains at night. There could be different reasons for why some people are better at this than others – like brain chemistry and also sleep habits. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help retrain your brain even if you have a predisposition towards insomnia. Sleep is a powerful biological drive. Your body wants to go to sleep. So as long as you don’t mess it up, it generally works. Even if there are some inadvertent mess-ups, the cycle is fairly easy to fix once we ascertain what the patient is doing wrong.
2. Precipitating and Perpetuating causes
When someone who has always slept well suddenly has trouble sleeping, doctors look for the two p’s: the precipitating cause and the perpetuating cause. The precipitating cause is the one-off event that disturbs the person’s sleep cycle, like an upcoming test or wedding that takes up much of the person’s brain space. The perpetuating cause is the reason why the patient is unable to sleep even after the event has passed. Most often, perpetuating cases are merely habits that have broken and have not been mended.
3. It’s linked to depression
Depression can cause bad sleep and bad sleep can cause depression. It’s often hard to tell which comes first. What we can say for sure from what we know currently is that insomnia is linked to depression. The phrase ‘losing sleep over something’ is literally true. We often lose sleep over things that are not going very well.
4. Popping pills won’t help
If you want to kick insomnia for good, medication isn’t the answer. Sleeping pills may help jumpstart your slumber party, but their effects can wear off if they’re used long-term. What’s really important is following the rules for good sleep. Keep your bedroom dark and cool; avoid caffeine up to 12 hours before bed; go to bed at the same time every night; and don’t sleep in more than an hour on the weekends — even if you broke the previous rule and stayed out late the night before.

Himanshu Yadav

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