I have noticed an increased volume of Facebook postings by friends lamenting about being awake at 3 a.m. and unable to go back to sleep. My response of encouraging them to call "Jake from State Farm" has gone down well.
But this pervasive sleeplessness also gives pause, making me wonder why so many people have a hard time either with falling asleep or with another form of insomnia -- getting to sleep relatively quickly but waking a few hours later and being unable to find sleep again.
There are almost too many reasons for sleeplessness to write in one article but some main ones include:
- Diagnosed illnesses
- Undiagnosed illnesses
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Poor sleeping conditions
Oftentimes, when we can figure out why we cannot stay asleep, we can make the changes necessary to facilitate a good night's sleep and a good day ahead.
The Health section of the New York Times answered a question about this inability to sleep through the night. Dr. Meir H. Kryger, a professor at Yale School of Medicine, had ideas on how to deal with this problem. The frustration experienced by poor sleepers doesn't help.
“We see that in patients who’ve had insomnia for a while,” Dr. Kryger said. “They wake up and become so angry, frustrated and aroused that they can’t fall asleep.”
Dr Kryger suggested quitting smoking, since nicotine raises blood pressure, is generally bad for one's health, and something that interferes with good sleep. The same is true about alcohol.
Limiting naps to about 20 minutes per day (and preferably early in the day) is a good idea, too. He also recommends steering clear of heavy and spicy meals and getting up out of the bed and reading if sleep does not come back quickly after initially waking. This can help to avoid the frustrations that insomniacs know so well.
If there are no underlying mental or physical reasons for poor sleep, medications and therapy (cognitive behavioral therapy) can be of great benefit.
Making sure bedding is clean and the room isn't too hot or cold can make a difference too.