Insomnia – Symptoms, causes, recommended habits and diets

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Insomnia is a difficulty experienced in initiating a sleep or an insufficient sleep rest. Different people need different amount of sleep, a person can sleep satisfactorily for 8 hours, while another may take up to 10 hours. Thus, insomnia does not depend on the number of hours you slept during the night but the quality and quantity of sleep of get.
Insomnia is mainly described as a symptom of another problem, not a disease on its own. During the day, feeling drowsy and fatigue indicates an effect of insomnia.

Insomnia have a variety of symptoms, and they include:

* Unable to fall asleep despite being exhausted

* Taking in sleeping pills in order to fall asleep

* Waking up very often during the night

* Unable to return to sleep when awaked

* Waking up very early in the morning

* Feeling drowsy and fatigue during the day.

Insomnia may have a variety of causes differing from one person to another. For example, a person may be unable to sleep due a stress or trauma while another may be unable to sleep due to the drinking of caffein or even smoking. Thus the causes of insomnia can be categorized.
Causes of insomnia due to medications
Diuretics, pain relievers containing caffeine etc.
Causes of insomnia due to health problems
Kidney diseases, hyperthyroidism, Asthma, cancer and high blood pressure.
Causes of insomnia due to unhealthy habits
Drinking caffein, an irregular sleep routine, smoking before going to bed, and intake of alcoholic beverages.
Causes of insomnia due to conditions
Stress, anxiety, depression and traumatic experience; these are the most common causes of Insomnia. The insomnia caused by these conditions only lasts for some few days and then goes away, but in terms of chronic insomnia, it remains persistent. Persistent insomnia mainly arises as a result of physical or mental problems.

Your habits really determines the type of sleep you will have. Most people suffering from insommia take in alcohol and sleeping pills in order to sleep, not knowing that it only aggravates the situation.
In order to treat an insomnia, there is the need for complete analysis on one’s
daily habits. Questions like
* what time do I go to bed?
* what time do I wake up?
* Do I stay awake during sleeping hours watching TV, playing games or surfing the internet?
* Do I take too much coffee during the day? Do I take alcoholic beverages?
* Do I smoke before going to bed?

These questions should come to your mind. Try to find out what causes your own insomnia and strive to make changes towards improving the quality of your sleep. The following tips will be found very helpful in treating Insomnia

* Limiting/ avoiding the use of caffeine and alcohol

* Sticking to a regular sleep schedule

* Avoid smoking before going to bed

* Avoid watching late night movies

* Engage yourself in recreational activities during the day

* Expose yourself to light during the day, to regulate melatonin which controls sleep cycle.

Certain foods also help in controlling insomnia, while others aggravate it. Below is a table showing foods to increase and those to reduce /eliminate.

CarbohydratesAlcoholic and stimulant beverages
Malt beveragesProteins
HoneySoft drinks and matured cheese

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Abbati is a student from the department of Biological sciences, Ahmadu Bello Univeristy, Zaria. He loves learning about the medicinal properties of foods, and the need to explore them!

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