If you are having trouble sleeping, you are not alone. This increases with age, and affects about 40 percent of women and 30 percent of men.

Primary insomnia is not related to other health conditions, and is brought on either by a traumatic event related to sleeping, or by increased physical or psychological arousal at night. Sufferers experience anxiousness as they struggle to achieve sleep. This causes frustration, which only increases the problem.

Secondary insomnia is more a symptom of other health issues, such as asthma, depression, heartburn, arthritis, chronic pain or cancer.

There are also short and long term effects with insomnia. Some causes of acute or short term, insomnia are grief, anxiety, eating habits, stress, workplace shift changes, and environmental factors, is usually caused by worry over a stressful situation.

Long term insomnia, which can last months or even years, is often caused by general anxiety, medications, chronic pain, depression, or other physical disorders. The practice of good sleep hygiene and rituals that promote sleep, can ensure better night.

Here are some tips to improve sleep hygiene:

  • regular exercise routines, but avoid strenuous exercise within 3 hours before bedtime
  • avoid alcohol or caffeine before bed time. Caffeine is stimulant. Though initially a sedative, alcohol will serve to interrupt sleep patterns
  • avoid smoking or reduce smoking. Nicotine is a stimulant, could improve your ability to fall asleep
  • avoid daytime napping
  • if you must nap, keep it to a 15 minute catnap
  • avoid heavy meals prior to sleeping
  • use relaxation techniques prior to bed time. This could be in the form of yoga, breathing exercises, and meditation
  • if you have a personal health concern, please consult your qualified health practitioner

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