Insomnia is a plague for many people, but simple, small daily changes can help you sleep better, experts say.
It is difficult for the central nervous system to rest for a good night's sleep. Indeed, humans have developed, through evolution, to “easily fight” sleep, explained to the “National Post” Judith Davidson, clinical psychologist and researcher on sleep at Queen’s University.
She adds that initially it was due to the threat of nocturnal predators that humans learned to sleep with one eye open, but today simple emotional arousal is enough to interfere with sleep.
Whether it's because of work, school, finances, or even children, we worry about not sleeping. “We all have sleepless nights in these conditions,” mentioned the psychologist. According to Ms. Davidson, this situation is reversible by changing the patterns and behaviors that maintain the insomnia, such as, for example, the fear of being exhausted the next day.
In the country, about 50% of adults have sleep-related disorders and between 5 and 10% have severe insomnia, according to data from the Public Health Agency of Canada. In more severe cases, people are exhausted, irritable and have confused thoughts.
Beliefs Can Harm
In some cases, insomnia is fueled by false beliefs about sleep. While it's true that people who sleep less are more tired, there's no precise definition of what "normal" sleep is.
"When you overemphasize that you need eight hours of sleep to function well in the day, it increases the pressure to get that amount of sleep," said Charles Morin, a psychologist at Laval University.
The specialist also recalled that some are natural long sleepers while others are more natural short sleepers.
In some cases, insomnia can be caused by other health conditions, such as anxiety or chronic pain. It is not known, however, which causes the other. “All we know is that they co-exist,” explained Mr. Morin.
- Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends
- Exercise regularly, but not too late at night
- Avoid naps and use the bedroom only for sex or sleeping
- Before going to bed, avoid large meals, caffeine, nicotine and alcohol.
- Avoid light at night
Please note that it is recommended to consult if the insomnia lasts three months or more.