Living with Insomnia

Sleep problems, including snoring, sleep apnea, insomnia, sleep deprivation, and restless legs syndrome are quite common. Good sleep is necessary for optimal health and can affect hormone levels, mood and weight. Insomnia has been linked with a greater likelihood of anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia, headache, asthma, heart attack, stroke and more — but it’s not always readily apparent that you or someone you know is suffering from it. Here are some facts about insomnia and how it impacts people’s lives, and some tips on how to alleviate the symptoms.

Are there types of insomnia?

There are two types of insomnia: acute and chronic. Acute insomnia is triggered by daily events connected to stress. You might experience insomnia before an exam, job interview or after a stressful day at work or at home. Most people experience it at least once a month and it is nothing unusual. On the other hand, patients with chronic insomnia suffer from more than two sleepless nights a week, and at least a couple of months. Chronic insomnia can cause and can be caused by many physical and psychological issues, but can be improved with treatment.

Is insomnia a mental condition?

Mental issues like stress are the number one cause of insomnia and other sleep disorders, but they aren’t the only cause. Insomnia can be caused by syndromes such as sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, illness, chronic pain or side effects of some medications you take.

Is it the same every night?

Insomnia is hard to keep track of, but patients report that every night is different, and there are no clear sleep patterns they can distinguish. Specialists advise working out during the day, or quitting alcohol couple of hours before bed can help relaxation and ease the symptoms. Think of your own bedtime routine to get you ready for sleeping.

Do naps help with insomnia?

While to people with healthy sleep patterns a 15 minute nap can be stimulating, insomniacs get affected differently. An afternoon nap can reduce an insomniac’s sleep drive and make it hard to sleep during the night.

Can you teach your body to require just a little sleep?

The answer is a definitive no. Every person needs sleep; adults seven or eight hours a day, and kids eight to twelve hours. Little to no sleep can lead to lack of attention, trouble remembering things, or more serious health risks like heart disease, high blood pressure and even diabetes. You can survive on little sleep, but at what cost?

What about sleeping pills?

Sleeping pills are not just ineffective in some cases, they are a short term solution and are not always safe to use. There are psychotherapies and machines that will not simply knock you out, but find the cause and solutions to your insomnia. Machines like Resmed Airsense 10 Elite can cure insomnia caused by sleep apnea and a sleep therapist can help you change your attitude towards insomnia and sleep and help you get your sleep pattern back to normal. Meds can cause addiction and you should always consult with a doctor before taking them. Tackling the causes and taking care of your sleeping environment is the best way to battle insomnia.

What to do when in a crisis?

Sometimes patients reach a breaking point when dealing with insomnia. They feel like it only happens to them and they fear that insomnia will destroy their lives. It’s good to remind yourself that there are other people going through the same things as you and you can always confide in them, and your family and friends.

Now that you know some basic facts about insomnia, you can see that there are ways to control it and possibly cure it alltogether. The next step is to consult a sleep specialist who will tell you what the best therapy for your condition is. If you need some extra help, seek out a local support group and you can tackle insomnia together.


Mathews McGarry is passionate about many forms of strength training, and has spent years lifting, dragging and flipping all manner of heavy objects. After graduating from the Faculty of Health Sciences, he started writing about his experiences, and sharing tips for a better life. He is an all-around fitness adviser and his words are strong as an Australian Bull.