Why You Can’t Sleep at Night and How to Get Rid of Insomnia

Around 15% of the human population suffers from insomnia. People need about 8 hours of good sleep every night to support the normal state of physiological and psychological health. We have studied the reasons for insomnia and found effective methods to get rid of it.

By following these simple recommendations from Bright Side, you will be able to forget about insomnia forever and enjoy nice dreams every night.

1. Multiple sclerosis

Scientists from the University of California conducted a study that showed a connection between multiple sclerosis and insomnia. There were 2,300 people with multiple sclerosis and 70% of them had a sleep disorder.

Along with feeling tired (a distinctive feature of multiple sclerosis) a person can’t fall asleep for at least 30 minutes. They often have to take pills to fight their insomnia. People aged from 20 to 50 are in the risk group.

2. Stress

The results of a study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine show that stress can cause insomnia. Thomas Roth and his colleagues are sure that the way a patient deals with a situation is very important. The more they can distract and distance themselves from the source of stress, the better.

When a person is constantly stressed, insomnia can become chronic.

3. Energy drinks

The consumption of energy drinks has grown over the last few years. A 4-year study carried out by experts from Camilo José Cela University (UCJC) has evaluated the positive and negative effects of energy drinks on people. The participants claimed that they had more power and stamina, but they become more nervous and had insomnia.

The negative consequences are connected with caffeine in the drinks, which stimulates the central nervous system.

4. Asthma

A team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh has found that insomnia is highly prevalent in adults with asthma. 37% of the subjects who had breathing problems also had sleeping disorders. The participants with insomnia found it more difficult to deal with their condition and they suffered from depression and other symptoms.

Scientists think that it’s very important for patients with asthma to treat their insomnia as soon as they can.

5. Stroke

A study conducted by scientists from the University of Surrey shows that patients who had a stroke also have sleeping problems which influence the quality of life, in general. Researchers believe that sleeping problems experienced by stroke patients are due to a number of contributory factors, such as greater psychological strain, pain, and discomfort, as well as reduced levels of physical activity.

The importance of sleep during the recovery period shouldn’t be underestimated because sleep helps a person maintain their physical and psychological well-being.

6. Alcohol

4,970 adults took part in a study at John Hopkins University. The participants told the scientists the number of days when they had drunk 4 or more drinks in one day for the past 3 months. The answers were used to calculate the average number of days when participants had drunk alcohol. The participants also claimed that they had sleeping problems.

The results showed that people who drink 2 or more times a week are often more susceptible to having sleeping problems.

7. Menopause

It is known that women more often have insomnia. The new study at the Pennsylvania State University suggests that during the menopause, the risk of insomnia increases by several times. The most popular complaints are difficulties falling asleep and the decrease in the overall quality of sleep.

Out of 3,302 participants, more than one third had insomnia. They reported waking up at night.

8. Weak immune system

Dr. Eamonn Mallon from the University of Leicester showed that the immune system can also be a reason for insomnia. The biologist says that the popular misconception is that when we are sick, we sleep more. However, the study he conducted showed that insomnia caused by a sickness is very widely spread.

A weak immune system may lead to getting sick which causes a sleep disorder.

9. Watching TV shows

423 people aged from 18 to 25 took part in a study at the University of Michigan. They completed an online survey assessing regular television viewing, binge-watching, sleep quality, fatigue, insomnia, and pre-sleep alertness. Binge-watching was defined as “watching multiple consecutive episodes of the same television show in one sitting on a screen.” The authors of the study claim that because TV shows are usually suspenseful, the viewers have to be completely immersed in the plot.

As a result, such an intensive interaction with TV content may require a longer recovery period to fall asleep. This may cause insomnia.

What helps get better sleep:

1. Yoga

The studies at the Group Research Institute in Seattle showed that doing yoga for 12 weeks can help get rid of insomnia. 249 people took part in the study by doing yoga and aerobics. As a result, their quality of sleep increased and their levels of depression and stress decreased.

Women going through menopause should do yoga as it will help them get rid of insomnia.

2. Herbs

A sleep disorder can seriously affect a person’s life and it is associated with a series of diseases including obesity, depression, anxiety, and inflammatory processes. In his work Alternative and Complementary Therapies, Robert Rountree described several plants that can be used to improve the quality of sleep. Such herbs are valerian, hops, chamomile, and wort.

Such a treatment approach is good because it’s natural, safe, and effective. In order to avoid insomnia, it’s also recommended to steer clear of foods with a lot of spices.

3. Cherry juice

Researchers from the Louisiana State University found that drinking cherry juice twice a day for 2 weeks helped increase sleep time by nearly 90 minutes among older adults with insomnia. Cherries are a natural source of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle.

If you drink cherry juice in the morning and in the evening, you will notice that the problems with insomnia will go away. On the contrary, drinking drinks that contain caffeine isn’t recommended.

4. Light therapy

According to Grace Dean from the University at Buffalo, light plays a major role in keeping the circadian rhythms stable. A big amount of light or a lack of it will affect your sleeping cycle.

It’s not a new thing to treat sleeping disorders with light, but this study tests a unique method. Glasses with built-in lamps are portable alternatives to huge light cubes that were used in the past.

5. Meditation

David Black with his colleagues at the University of Southern California conducted a small clinical trial in Los Angeles in 2012 and their analysis included 49 individuals (average age 66). The results showed that mindfulness meditation plays a role in solving problems connected to insomnia.

Meditating patients showed an improvement in sleep quality. Their depression disappeared, as did their anxiety, stress, and fatigue.

6. Amber-tinted glasses

Knowing that individuals with insomnia are also unlikely to change their ways, researchers from the Columbia University Medical Center tested a method to reduce the adverse effects of evening ambient light exposure, while still allowing the use of blue light-emitting devices.

Using amber-tinted glasses that block blue light reduces the effects. Aside from getting rid of insomnia, the patients’ arterial pressure decreased.

7. The right position

Everyone has their favorite sleep positions, but as it turns out, some positions are better than others. according to Dr. John Douillard, sleeping on your left side is beneficial for your health.

Such a position facilitates lymphatic drainage from your brain, encourages proper digestion, and supports healthy spleen function. So, try sleeping on your left side and see how you feel.

Have you ever suffered from insomnia? How did you fight it? Share your stories with us in the comments section below!

Preview illustrated by Elena Sorokina for Bright Side
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