According to the National Sleep Foundation, in a given year, there are approximately 40 million people in the United States suffering from insomnia. With a 2018 population estimated at approximately 327 million, that is more than 12% of the population, meaning more than 1 in 10 people have insomnia.
Insomnia is extremely complex, and can be caused by or linked to other medical issues. But the fundamental definition from the National Sleep Foundation is, “…difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, even when a person has the chance to do so,” and is usually broken down into two categories:
- Acute insomnia
- Chronic insomnia
This is usually short-term, and often situational, meaning it is caused by an individual circumstance such as losing a job, stressing about an upcoming game or presentation, or having a newborn baby who has immediate needs throughout the night.
This is a long-term pattern of inadequate or interrupted sleep that occurs at least three times per week over a period of three months or more.
Although there are plenty of medications out there that attempt to manage the sleep disorder, there is no cure. But there are also non-medicinal alternatives that can help. We have outlined for you a few tactics worth trying:
Routine Sleep Schedule
These days, when we are being pulled in every direction, we are multitasking, and we have families where both parents are working, the word “schedule” can sound like an obsolete concept and an unachievable goal. But with commitment, it can help. Try to wake up and go to sleep at the same time each day and night, and that goes for the adults as well as the kids.
Turn off the devices, and (yes, again) that goes for adults as well as kids. Stop using the tablet, the phone, the laptop, and the television, not just because they can be distractions, but because of the way their blue light emissions affect our bodies. The National Sleep Foundation indicates, “The truth is, using electronic devices before bedtime can be physiologically and psychologically stimulating in ways that can adversely affect your sleep.”
Although chemically speaking, alcohol is a depressant, and therefore logically has a drowsy physiological effect on the system, you may be surprised to know that:
- The intoxicated sleepiness is not the same as natural sleepiness, and in the former case, you are often not experiencing REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep where you are truly getting meaningful rest.
- Once the alcohol starts wearing off, so does the drowsiness, which is why, after an evening of some cocktails followed by a seemingly seamless slumber, you will often wake up in the middle of the night–wide awake. Besides perhaps your bladder calling, you are also experiencing the body coming out of the depressive state the alcohol had on the system.
As a result, if you are experiencing trouble with insomnia, avoid drinking alcohol. And obviously, none for the kids.
With all that said, in order to achieve the coveted experience of having sugar plums dancing in your head, it should be as easy as pie; it takes 21 days to make or break a habit, right? Wrong. That concept is said to have been introduced in the 1960s by Maxwell Maltz, author of “Psycho-Cybernetics,” but the reality is, the time it takes is often much longer, and can run as long as 8 months in some cases!
No matter what, it is important first to identify the cause of your insomnia and work with your health care professional to identify the alternatives that are best for your individual situation. Then commit to a plan, test, and be patient. Good luck, and let us here at Gladiator Therapeutics know if you have any healthy and non-medicinal alternative options that have worked for you in the battle against insomnia.
NOTE: Content included here is not medical advice, and only is intended as information for adults. Always consult with your health care professional before making changes to diet, exercise, medication, or before use of any product or device.