Most individuals require at least seven hours of sleep each night to enjoy optimal health and alertness. Unfortunately, the physical demands and emotional stresses of modern American life have caused many people (including at least 32 percent of adult Texans) to miss the mark on getting that essential sleep.
If you have trouble achieving restful sleep on any kind of a regular basis, rest assured that you can turn this situation around. Here are four important points to understand about how sleep problems relate to other life issues and how some smart adjustments can break this cycle of insomnia.
1. Chronic Pain Can Lead to Sleeplessness (and Vice Versa)
Chronic pain causes more cases of sleep deprivation than any other single problem. Up to 80 percent of individuals who suffer from chronic pain also suffer from insomnia. Among these cases, back pain counts as the most commonly reported issue. Chronic pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia also cause insomnia.
The combination of chronic pain and insomnia results in an uncomfortable, unhealthy feedback loop. As you lose sleep to chronic pain, your cognition, immune responses, and other functions experience impairment, while muscles clench up in reaction to the pain. These responses make your pain even worse.
2. Stress Can Spoil Your Ability to Sleep
Chronic pain can cause emotional stress as well as physical stress. At the same time, a variety of other stress triggers in your life can spoil your ability to sleep. Even if you do manage to fall asleep, your brain may spend too little time in the third and fourth stages of sleep, the most restorative stages of the sleep cycle.
You can tell whether stress has created your insomnia by paying attention to how you think and feel as you lie sleepless in bed. Common stress responses include a racing mind that pesters you with worries and anxieties, a high heart rate or pulse rate, and tension-related aches and pains in your neck or shoulders.
3. Healthy Lifestyle Changes Can Restore Healthy Sleep
In addition to pain and emotional stress, numerous lifestyle factors can affect your ability (or inability) to sleep. For instance, an inconsistent bedtime schedule can affect your brain's production of hormones that trigger drowsiness. Nighttime exposure to blue-tinged LED monitors can also cause this problem. Develop healthy sleeping patterns and pre-bedtime habits to help with this.
Drugs of various kinds can interfere with normal sleep patterns. If your insomnia began when you started taking your medications, ask your doctor whether you should switch them for effective alternatives.
Some underlying health conditions can promote insomnia even if they don't cause chronic pain. Examples include hormonal imbalances, sleep apnea, clinical depression, and anxiety disorders. A medical examination can confirm any hidden health challenges that require treatment, which in turn may eliminate your insomnia.
4. Natural Solutions Can Enhance Sleep and Reduce Stress
Once you have a thorough understanding of what has created your insomnia, you may find that you have many natural means of fixing the problem at your disposal. For instance, you might give up chemical stimuli such as caffeine, alcohol, or smoking. Exercise can release pent-up energy and ease emotional stress.
You can also change your work habits to facilitate sleep. Establish a regular bedtime so that your body can fall into the routine of getting sleepy at the same time every night. Avoid LED monitors (or view them through colored filters) right before bedtime. The absence of blue light allows your brain to produce sleep-inducing melatonin.
If you could use some extra, all-natural sleep assistance in addition to these self-care methods, Lew Leaf Organic Wellness offers a wide range of CBD products intended to enhance relaxation, ease pain, and promote restful sleep. Check out our online catalog to learn more.