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Nkosinathi Mokoena
 
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Insomnia attack!

15 March 2012, 12:16

Sleep is the simplest way to maintain good mental and physical health. Unfortunately, for some, it is almost impossible to obtain. Insomnia plagues most people at some point, for many it is a chronic problem. It is a symptom of other mental and physical issues that only makes matters worse. The lack of sleep can be caused by trouble falling asleep, an inability to stay asleep or a painful combination of both. In order to cure this exhausting problem, one must first discover the root cause.

Insomnia is caused by emotional, physical or medical issues. The number one cause of insomnia is emotional distress. Stress, anxiety and depression flood the mind with worries and fears. A mind active with these feelings leads to physical tension. This combination crushes any hope for the sleep the human body needs. The lack of sleep increases emotional stress, creating a vicious cycle that can be hard to stop. Certain physical and medical issues can be just has problematic. Restless leg syndrome and sleep apnea are two disorders that cause insomnia. Some medical conditions also add sleeplessness to a patient’s suffering. The discomfort of some medical conditions, such as chronic pain and acid reflux, can make a good night’s rest almost impossible to achieve. The same holds true for the treatments of other medical issues. For example, medications used to treat colds, thyroid imbalances and high blood pressure list sleep disturbances as a side effect. Like emotional issues, the nighttime response to these physical and medical issues can lead to additional health conditions as the body and mind are weakened by the lack of sleep.

The need for uninterrupted, quality sleep is crucial for maintaining mental and physical health. Luckily, there are several cures for insomnia. The simplest actions to take involve the sleep environment and routine. These can alleviate sleep issues, regardless of the cause. The key is to consider sleep as an essential element and take the necessary steps for success. Victims of insomnia should limit anything that affects the body’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that can remain in the body for a long period of time. It is best to limit them by late afternoon to guarantee they do not inhibit the sleep cycle. Limitations should also be set on things that can be stressful or stimulating to the mind and body. Examples of these include arguments, negative media, intense exercise, video games and watching television. The sleep environment is also important to ending insomnia. A bedroom should be created and used for sleeping. It needs to be cool, dark and quiet. For those that find silence to be uncomfortable, sound machines can be used to fill the room with calming white noise. The last step is to maintain a regular sleep schedule. This can be a struggle for the exhausted insomniac who attempts to catch some sleep by using naps, going to bed early or sleeping late. These throw off the body’s normal rhythm and exacerbate the problem. A solid night’s sleep requires a person to be committed to a lifestyle that gives the body and mind a chance to relax and sleep soundly.

Other cures of insomnia focus on the significance of relaxation. In addition to lifestyle choices and a proper sleep environment, the use of relaxation techniques can be a powerful tool in fighting off insomnia. There are several ways to slow the mind and body. Breathing exercises and meditation can be done throughout the day and right before bed. Another popular technique used to relax and unwind is yoga. This exercise affects both mind and body. It tires the body and slows the mind, releasing the burdens of the day. Unlike other exercises, such as running, yoga is slow, quiet and soothing.

There are medicinal cures that can be very helpful for victims of insomnia. These can be used in addition to lifestyle, environment and relaxation to help reset the sleep cycle. There are both natural and prescription medications. Prescribed drugs should only be used on a short-term basis. They can actually lead to insomnia if used for too long. Natural supplements do not have this effect. The two most common forms are Melatonin and Valerian. Melatonin is a hormone that occurs naturally in the body at night. The over-the-counter form can be used to boost existing levels and give the body what it needs to fall asleep. Valerian is an herb that acts like a mild sedative. This can be used as a way to relax the body so that it can sleep soundly.

The key to curing insomnia is to address the issue that is causing it. This can be as simple as the condition of the sleeping environment or as complicated as emotional or physical struggles. It is very important to deal with the issue. Insomnia makes every aspect of life more difficult. It adds additional stress to both mind and body, making existing problems worse and potentially adding new ones. Insomnia can and must be cured. Just like food and water, the human body does more than crave sleep, it needs it.

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