Many people with insomnia end up taking pills that do not solve their problems in the long term. There are other more effective treatments that begin by getting rid of anxiety and the desire to fall asleep.
Sleep is essential for physical and mental recovery. In fact, you cannot live without sleep. For this reason, difficulty falling asleep can be described as a temporary disorder: the sufferer may not fall asleep when he wants to, but he does go to sleep eventually unless he suffers from one of the very rare diseases that affect brain control. such as Creutzfeld-Jakob disease or fatal familial insomnia, a genetic disorder that affects only 40 families in the world.
WHAT IS INSOMNIA?
However, insomnia (this temporary difficulty falling asleep at the right time) is a disorder that affects one in three people at some point. Actually, we say that we have had insomnia when we have not been able to sleep well one night, but the medical diagnosis requires suffering it three times a week for more than three months and it must be accompanied by fatigue during the day, irritability or difficulty concentrating. This insomnia increases the risk of depression, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s.
Insomnia can produce tremendous anxiety. The person who suffers from it wishes above all to sleep and resorts to the necessary means. Sometimes an infusion of valerian is enough, but many people resort to sleeping pills, pills that really induce sleep, although not of the same quality as the natural ones and also have side effects. Some prescription sleeping pills can even cause addiction.
SLEEPING PILLS ARE NOT ALWAYS EFFECTIVE
A study led by Dr. Andrea Cipriani, from the University of Oxford (UK) reviewed the published evidence on 30 sleeping pills. Only two of the 30 drugs tested managed to act relatively quickly (within a month) and provide relief for at least three months while being well tolerated.
Habit modification is the most sensible and effective therapy to avoid insomnia: wake up early, at the same time each day, expose yourself to natural light in the morning, relax as night approaches, and go to sleep each day too at the same time.
However, it is possible that by doing everything right, bedtime arrives and Morpheus does not appear. In this case, the desire to sleep can become a torture worse than insomnia itself and achieves precisely the opposite: the anxiety to sleep drives away sleep.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF INSOMNIA?
If the reason is not obvious, such as bad habits, the abuse of night parties, being subjected to outside noise or intense worry or stress, the causes of insomnia must be sought in the underlying mental processes.
Studies indicate that people with recurrent insomnia experience hyper-arousal, fueled by ruminating thoughts, which makes them feel anxious and physically upset. This makes it harder for them to fall asleep at bedtime or prevent them from entering a deep sleep, making them more likely to wake up during the night.
People with insomnia appear to have difficulty regulating emotional states and responses to stress. Instead of finding solutions, your mind often spends too much time in circular or ruminating type of thinking, dominated by fixed and repetitive patterns, and very often with negative ideas.
This type of mental dynamics is reinforced by insomnia itself. As bedtime approaches, the person with insomnia begins to get nervous, her thoughts loop, and sleep becomes nearly impossible. The more they worry about sleep, the worse the symptoms, regardless of how many hours they sleep. Some even say they suffer from insomnia, fatigue, concentration problems, etc., even though they sleep enough hours.
HOW TO GET RID OF INSOMNIA
RELAXATION AND MEDITATION
Learning relaxation and meditation techniques, if possible under the guidance of a professional, can help a lot to disconnect your mind from worries and prepare for sleep. These techniques allow ruminant-type thinking to be “turned off” as soon as it starts up.
Meditation allows you to observe in a serene way, physically relaxed, the thoughts that inevitably come to mind. In this way, ruminative thought loses its ability to generate anxiety.
Another thing that the person with insomnia who is already lying in bed with their eyes open can do is stop wanting to fall asleep and not only that, but wanting to stay awake. You can, for example, be glad that you have time to read a good long book or, even better, to paint a nice mandala. This counterintuitive technique, called “paradoxical intention,” can reduce “performance anxiety” and lead to a more rapid fall into sleep.
MOBILE PHONE APPLICATIONS TO TREAT INSOMNIA AND SLEEP BETTER
- Sleepio. As reported by New Scientist magazine, Public Health in England and Wales recommends the Sleepio app as an alternative to drug treatment. This application is a resource when public health does not have enough qualified people to offer adequate psychological therapy to the large number of people with insomnia. This application works like a six-week course that adapts to the needs and responses of each person, thanks to an artificial intelligence algorithm.
- Sleep space. This app also offers personalized advice and also provides short pulses of relaxing sound at night. These sounds are designed to induce the correct slow brain wave frequencies associated with sleep and can be connected to intelligent light sources that will change the pitch to match the stage of the circadian rhythm.