The Use of Technology and Insomnia

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Insomnia is a sleep disorder. It’s the experience of either not being able to fall asleep or it’s an inability to stay asleep as long as you would like. For instance, you might fall asleep and then wake up at 4am every morning. You might not be able to get a healthy 8 or 9 hours of sleep.

It’s common to see insomnia as a sign or symptom of a psychological illness or medical disorder. It is frequently a symptom of depression and anxiety, for example. What’s challenging about insomnia is that lack of sleep can cause impairments later in the day. Fatigue can lead to an inability to concentrate or perform well at work.

One way to facilitate a healthy sleep schedule is to limit the use of technology, such as television, cell phones, and Ipads. It’s typical to get lost in our smart phones and have our attention shift from one piece of technology to another. A recent study found that lack of sleep and excessive use of technology led to related mental health concerns. Furthermore, much of the media, including television and movies include a large amount of violence, which can aggravate feelings of depression, fear, anxiety, and hyperactivity. This is especially true if television or a movie is seen right before bed time.

Plus, when we are lost in our Iphones, Ipads, televisions, and laptops, there’s no real connection that might be satisfying and psychologically nourishing. And the shifting of attention from work to a text to the television to the Ipad can be straining on the ability to focus. This can happen when we are giving and receiving texts. For instance, if you are constantly bombarded with texting communication, and you feel pressured to answer right away, then the interruption to a thought might cause that thought to be lost forever.

If you already have an unfocused mind, texting can contribute to the severity of mental health symptoms, such as an inability to concentrate. For instance, lack of concentration is a symptom of anxiety and depression, and of course, an inability to focus can add to poor relationships, poor work performance, and more worry and anxiety. Texting isn’t the cause of mental illness, but it can certainly interrupt your behavior, performance at work, and relationships. It can also get in the way of having new ideas, being present with others, and creative thinking.

The reciprocal relationship between mental health and sleep indicates that establishing a sleep schedule can support those who are already showing symptoms of mental ill health. In fact, one of the techniques of clinicians who find that medication for depression is not working with depressed teens and adults is to explore in detail the quality of their sleep.

A healthy sleep schedule can help prevent illness, manage stress, and feel rejuvenated to start a new day. Although finding the right treatment to your insomnia might be difficult to establish at first, the first thing you can do is limit your use of technology.

 

Natural Home Remedies for Insomnia

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According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 25% of the American population has reported that they do not get enough sleep. And close to 10% of Americans experience chronic insomnia.

What’s important to remember and what makes insomnia so challenging for those who experience it is that it is not a luxury, but a necessity. Sleep is a vital component good health. Not getting enough sleep can lead to disease and illness, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. And these illnesses are already occurring at high numbers throughout the country. The CDC also points out that the lack of sleep actually contributes to the onset of these illnesses, not just that they contribute to ill health once a person has a disease.

The CDC recommends that adults need to get at least 7-8 hours per day, teens sleep between 9 to 10 hours, and school age children should get at least 10 hours per day. Research indicates that adults and adolescents are not sleeping enough, particularly given the stressful and fast paced society that makes up American culture.

Fortunately, there are new methods for improving the sleep patterns of adults and children. There are not only new methods, but also herbs and supplements to take that can aid in falling and staying asleep. Some of these are mentioned below:

Warm Milk – Before the health trend kicked in, you used to just warm up some old fashion cow milk, drop some honey in there, and that was a toasty way to warm the stomach for a bedtime remedy. However, if you’re okay with almond milk, it can actually help the brain produce melatonin, which facilitates sleeping.

Melatonin – This is a hormone that regulates your sleep/wake cycle. It’s sort of an internal pacemaker that controls when you’re sleeping and when you’re not. Melatonin is sold in pill form over the counter. When you take it, expect to get drowsy. Your body temperature will lower and you’ll prepare to go into sleep mode. There are some mixed reviews of melatonin. It works for some but not for everyone. You might have to experiment with doses and the right time to take it.

Magnesium – Without the right amount of magnesium in the body, it can be difficult to sleep. Some research indicates that even a small lack of magnesium can lead to sleeping difficulty. The best places to get the right amount of magnesium are through leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and wheat germ. You can also take magnesium as a supplement. However, note that too much magnesium can be harmful, and it can at times interfere with the effectiveness of certain medication.

Lavender – Lavender oil can be very calming and encourage sleep. For instance, if you take a hot bath with lavender right before sleep, the body and mind can more easily slow down.

Valerian Root – This medicinal herb has long been used to treat insomnia. It can have a sedating effect and can easily help you fall asleep. You can find it in tea and in other forms at many health food stores.

L-Theanine – This amino acid is found in green tea, which can help soothe the anxiety that often gets in the way of sleeping. It can reduce your heart rte and boost your immune system. It also produces brain waves linked to relaxation and feeling calm.

There are many health concerns that are associated with lack of sleep. If you can find a way to soothe your system, that is, calming that tendency for the mind to keep running, you will be doing yourself a huge favor. Hopefully, with the above suggestions, you’ll be able to get the sleep you need.

Depression Can Be Both the Cause and Result of Insomnia

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Sleep deprivation is a serious health problem, often contributing to depression. But the funny thing is, when you have depression to begin with, that might lead to insomnia. The two are closely related and they one can lead to the other.

Insomnia is the inability to sleep. You might lie down; you might feel tired, but your mind is going on and on and you just can’t shut the mind down enough to actually fall asleep. Or perhaps it’s not your thinking mind so much but just the inability to sink into a more relaxed state. Your mind isn’t letting you. One of the symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder is sleep disturbance, meaning that a person will either oversleep – hypersomnia – or they will not be able to sleep at all – insomnia. Now, this doesn’t mean that all cases of insomnia are because of depression, but only that one there’s a relationship between the two. And not all cases of depression will include an experience of insomnia.

Major Depressive Disorder is considered to be a medical illness that includes symptoms of persistent sadness, loss of interest in daily activities, occupational and educational impairment, along with eventual emotional and physical problems. Major Depressive Disorder usually requires long-term treatment, including psychotherapy and medication.

Now, there are various forms of depression. For instance, you might not be severely saddened or despondent, but you may have a lingering form of what is called, dysthymia. This is a milder form of depression, which can be with someone for years, even though they are fully functional in his or her life. Plus, researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center tracked the sleep habits of over 4,000 people for one year. What they found is a strong reciprocal relationship between sleep and the psychological health of adults. The study indicated that those adults that were already depressed were four times as likely to lose more sleep. These findings were published in the journal Sleep in February of this year.

Yet, whether your insomnia is related to depression or not, there are a few things you can do:

  • Establish a sleep schedule. Although this might be difficult to establish at first, a person who goes to bed and rises at the same time every day might feel the difference in his or her mental health. Depression usually inhibits a regular sleep schedule; it will either cause little sleep or oversleeping. Yet, having a regular schedule can help with getting the right amount of rest. The reciprocal relationship between mental health and sleep indicates that establishing a sleep schedule can support those who are already depressed. In fact, one of the techniques of clinicians who find that medication is not working with depressed teens is to explore in detail their quality of sleep.
  • Don’t watch TV or a movie right before bed. Sometimes the images and the experiences of what was just watched can stay with us, keeping us up at night. If sleeping continues to be a challenge, permanently remove the distractions in the bedroom such as a television or computer.
  • Get enough exercise. The endorphins that are released during exercise can facilitate feeling good in general. Also, getting a good workout during the day can facilitate enough fatigue later in the day to help you fall asleep.
  • Eat healthy. Healthy food can keep you in touch with the natural cycles of sleep and rest that your body needs.
  • Laugh. It’s just good medicine.

And if these remedies aren’t successful, visit a mental health professional who can explore the specific cause of your insomnia and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Simple Treatments for Insomnia

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Insomnia is the most common medical complaint when it comes to sleeping. People rarely tell their doctor, “I’m sleeping too much.” Although, this can happen with those who are depressed or who are feeling the side effects of medication. But on the whole, when people complain about sleeping, they are often saying that they’re just not getting enough of it.

Typically, insomnia is either the result of something simple, like drinking too much caffeine during the day or too many responsibilities. Or it’s a symptom of a larger problem. It could be a sign or an indication of a medical disorder or a psychological illness, such as depression or anxiety.

Some of the symptoms of insomnia include:

  • Exhausting sleep
  • Difficulty falling asleep despite being tired
  • Waking up frequently during the night
  • Trouble getting back to sleep when awakened
  • Difficulty concentrating during the day
  • Daytime drowsiness, fatigue, or irritability
  • Waking up too early in the morning
  • Relying on sleeping pills or alcohol to fall asleep

Although there are many reasons why you might be experiencing insomnia, there are a few beginning questions to ask yourself. These can help you begin a process that can lead to answers and possibly solutions.

  • Are you under a lot of stress?
  • Are you depressed or feel emotionally flat or hopeless?
  • Do you struggle with chronic feelings of anxiety or worry?
  • Have you recently gone through a traumatic experience?
  • Are you taking any medications that might be affecting your sleep?
  • Do you have any health problems that may be interfering with sleep?
  • Is your sleep environment quiet and comfortable?
  • Are you spending enough time in sunlight during the day and in darkness at night?
  • Do you try to go to bed and get up around the same time every day?

Lastly, here are some simple treatments for insomnia:

  • Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and cool.
  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule.
  • Avoid naps.
  • Avoid stimulating activity and stressful situations before bedtime.
  • Don’t read from a backlit device (such as an iPad).
  • Limit caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine.

You might find that you put all of these measures in place and you still have trouble sleeping. If this is the case, it’s best to see a mental health professional. Sure, you can find all sorts of remedies and treatments online, even a therapy module online that help you look at the cause of insomnia, but the best step is to see a mental health professional. He or she can help you assess the root cause of the insomnia and create the best treatment plan. Together those two tools – a diagnosis and treatment plan – can eventually lead to having a full and healthy night’s sleep.