The Symptoms and Causes of Insomnia
It has been estimated that as much as a third to half of the world’s population has trouble falling asleep at night, with the vast majority of people having experienced symptoms of insomnia at least once throughout their life. The condition doesn’t discriminate in terms of age or gender, although seniors and women are more likely to suffer from insomnia than children and men.
Many people confuse insomnia with a bad night’s sleep, but the symptoms of insomnia, unlike a bad night's sleep, last for days and sometimes months, and include:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Waking up early or in the middle of the night
- Not feeling rested in the morning
- Feeling tired or sleepy throughout the day
- Attention and memory problems
- Being irritable, anxious or depressed
The causes of insomnia vary from person to person, with physical and psychological conditions, such as chronic pain and medications, and even certain habits, such as eating too much in the evenings contributing to the issue.
Related Article: Causes of Insomnia
How Do You Know if Your Insomnia is Caused by Stress?
One of the most widespread causes of insomnia is stress, with major studies from Japan, South Korea, Sweden and the United States confirming the relationship. Scientists believe that the reason why stress causes insomnia is due to the excitatory effect it has on the nervous system.
Stress activates the neural pathways we associate with the fight or flight response, thus keeping us in a state of perpetual worry and tension. You will know that your sleeping problems are stress-related if they started during a period of increased stress or seem to get worse when you’re experiencing difficulties at work, with your personal life, or any other area of your life.
As you might expect, stress-induced insomnia itself is bound to make the sufferer’s life even more stressful, creating a vicious cycle of stress and chronic sleep problems. In the following section, we’ll discuss the simple, yet effective ways one can combat stress-induced insomnia.
How to Get Rid of Stress-Related Insomnia
According to scientists and sleep experts, minor but mindful lifestyle changes can really make a difference in improving one’s stress-related sleep issues without having to resort to medications. These minor tweaks and aids will work to help reduce your stress levels and prevent further exacerbation of insomnia the natural way.
1. Relaxation techniques, such as meditation and mindful breathing have been proven to be useful to lower stress levels are a useful tool for managing stress and hyperarousal that hinder sleep by letting you focus on something else other than your own thoughts. On a physical level, meditation was shown to increase the levels of the sleep hormone melatonin, reduce the heart rate and blood pressure, and activate the brain areas that are responsible for controlling sleep.
The benefit of this technique is that you can use it throughout the day, and not only at bedtime. Meditation apps and online guides are abundant and widely available, but they do require a bit of a commitment.
2. Spending time outdoors, exercising and staying active can likewise both reduce stress and will relax your muscles, train your heart and lungs, making it easier to get quality sleep. The downside of this approach is that not everyone can exercise due to medical reasons, and some of us simply don’t have the time.
3. Good sleep hygiene is likewise important, as it is capable of normalizing your circadian rhythms. In order to have a good night’s sleep, avoiding heavy meals and coffee in the evenings, have a consistent sleep schedule, dim the lights in your bedroom and limit the use of smartphones and laptops in the bedroom.
4. Listening to White Noise can help disrupt the surrounding noises and your racing thoughts to help you fall asleep. The noise can range from an indistinct noise to sounds of waves, water, and many more pleasant sounds, and can come in either specialized machines, or music you can play from apps and websites.
Research shows that white noise helps mask environmental sounds and makes falling (and staying) asleep easier. This is especially true about people who live or have to frequently sleep in noisy environments, such as big cities, or while traveling.
The New Tech Solution of Insomnia
This device combines the powerful effects of relaxation techniques with the ability to distract you from stressful thoughts and outside noises. It's called a Hoom Band, and it might become the easy solution for you if you experience trouble sleeping.
This device is a lightweight, comfortable, and washable headband with a special light, the flickering of which is suggested to help with the normalization of circadian rhythms, and a set of sleek headphones that won't disrupt your sleep (an image of the device can be seen above). It comes with a free app downloadable on your smartphone, which contains stories, guided meditations, and calming sounds, all carefully curated by sleep experts.
When you're in bed and ready to fall asleep, put the band on, select one of the stories, and let the sound distract you from the noisy world and busy mind while the stress-disrupting light slowly lulls you to sleep. The calming effect is almost instant, you will feel your body relax and mind focus on the journey you're listening to instead of stressed out inner voice that doesn't let you fall asleep at night. To put it simply, the Hoom Band is an effortless choice for those of you who just want a have a good night's sleep every night, effort and fuss free.
Click here to learn more about the Hoom Band sleeping solution
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