Unless you are the picture of perfection, you’ve likely experienced some form of insomnia in your lifetime. Maybe you sleep pretty well the majority of the time, but even if you’ve had one night of not-being-able-to-sleep-no-matter-how-hard-you-try, then you’ve had insomnia.
It’s one of the many annoying life experiences most people endure, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to avoid. Depending on how badly you suffer from this annoying sleep disorder, anything from simple lifestyle changes to certain types of therapy can help treat insomnia.
What is Insomnia, Anyway?
People with insomnia have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep, ultimately leading to sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation, as I’m sure you can guess, is ZERO fun. You’re cranky, irritable, unproductive, and, believe it or not, more susceptible to having a heart attack. Insomnia is something you want to avoid to have a fulfilling (and longer) life.
When defining “what is insomnia,” it is essential to note that it doesn’t only refer to the number of hours you sleep. Insomnia also refers to the quality of sleep you get. If you are doing your best to spend seven to nine hours in bed where you think you’re sleeping, but you still feel exhausted the next day, you might be experiencing a type of insomnia.
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Insomnia comes in several different forms, so lots of people are lucky enough to experience it! (Note the sarcasm.)
Acute Insomnia: If you’ve had trouble sleeping for a short term, a few days to a few weeks, you’ve experienced acute insomnia. Because it typically occurs when you are going through stress or significant life changes, it’s also called adjustment insomnia.
Causes for acute insomnia include:
The death of a loved one
Starting a new job
Sleeping in an unfamiliar bed or place
Pain or physical discomfort
Chronic insomnia: If you’ve had difficulty sleeping for three months or more, then you’ve experienced chronic insomnia. Within this longer-term sleep disorder, there are two different levels: primary and secondary insomnia.
Primary insomnia remains somewhat of a mystery to scientists. The cause hasn’t been pinpointed yet, but it is defined as the inability to fall or stay asleep, resulting in daytime fatigue, irritability, and the predisposition to fall asleep during non-stimulating activities. (Budget meetings, perhaps?)
Secondary insomnia is more understood by the medical community. Medical conditions or life situations cause it. Some causes of secondary insomnia include:
Painful medical conditions like arthritis or back pain
Psychological issues like depression and anxiety
Sleep-onset insomnia:As its name suggests, this is where you have trouble falling asleep. If you’ve had a stressful day or have messed up your circadian rhythm, it’s likely more difficult for you to fall asleep.
Sleep maintenance insomnia:You guessed it! This is the kind of insomnia that causes you to wake up prematurely. It could be caused by pain, alcohol, caffeine, sleep apnea, or other medical conditions. Sleep maintenance insomnia disrupts your four sleep stages,which are essential to feeling well-rested.
Mixed insomnia: For you lucky ones (note the sarcasm once again), well, you get to experience a mixture of all insomnia types!
While we’re pretty sure you know when you don’t feel well-rested, there are some tricky insomnia symptoms you may overlook. Perhaps you don’t consider yourself suffering from insomnia because you chalk your exhaustion up to stress or a busy mind. But those, my friend, are causes of insomnia, so you can just slap the insomniac label on yourself and get to work treating those causes.
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Now That I Know I’m an Insomniac, What Are Some Insomnia Treatments?
Take a look at this list of insomnia symptoms to see if you are experiencing or have ever experienced insomnia:
Difficulty concentrating during the day
Frequently waking up during the night
Feeling like you slept, but you’re still tired when you wake up
Relying on alcohol or sleeping pills to fall asleep
Trouble falling back to sleep when you wake up during the night
Waking up early
While some of the signs and insomnia symptoms on this list go hand in hand with being a responsible adult, it may bring you some comfort in knowing you’re not alone. Lots of us adults feel the same way.
As the legendary 20th-century boxing champion Jack Dempsey said, "The best defense is a good offense." That means the best was to avoid insomnia is to be proactive in your lifestyle choices. What do we mean by that? Well, make changes to your everyday living habits, and you could significantly reduce your insomnia.
Limit your number of naps, especially when they are late in the day.
Take it easy on alcohol and caffeine, again, especially later in the day.
Don’t eat heavy meals before bedtime.
Stop looking at screens at least one hour before you go to bed.
Try your best to follow a regular sleep schedule that has you waking up and going to bed around the same time each day.
Do you need a little more help in the anti-insomnia sleep department? If so, you should consider cognitive behavior therapy (CBT-1). This effective insomnia treatment can be administered by your doctor or therapist in person, or online.
Cognitive therapy:to help you rearrange your thinking about sleep, focusing on reducing your nervousness about it
Sleep education: where you learn better sleeping habits
Relaxation therapy: to teach you relaxation and meditation techniques to fall asleep quickly
Stimulus control therapy:to repair your circadian rhythm and give you a regular sleep-wake cycle
Sleep restriction therapy: dictates the number of hours and the schedule of when you need to be in your bed, whether you are sleepy or not. Believe it or not, this has been shown to help you sleep better and reduce insomnia over time.
Still need help falling asleep? You can always talk to your doctor about prescription medications or herbal supplements to help you beat insomnia. Be careful, though. Sleeping pills come with their share of risks.
Weighted Blankets as an Insomnia Treatment
If you’re a skeptic, you’ve probably noticed you’re reading a blog post on a weighted blanket company’s website. Obviously, we’re going to tout weighted blankets as a fantastic way to help you beat insomnia.
But it’s not for nothing.
There’s no smoke and mirrors here. Weighted blankets and their effectiveness in treating insomnia is backed by science.
Without getting into the nitty-gritty details, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) performed a sleep study on 120 adults previously diagnosed with insomnia. Some used a weighted blanket for four weeks, and the control group used a regular blanket.
At least, not if it’s a high-quality weighted blanket like Weighted Evolution’s. See, our weighted blankets are made with breathable, comfy, high-quality materials. The construction is top-notch, and we offer a 100-night trial. (Because we believe in our blankets so much.)
Weighted Evolution fights against insomnia’s causes by delivering just the right amount of Deep Pressure Stimulation (DPS). DPS feels like a comfy, welcoming hug. And with our blankets, you feel that hug on your entire body all night long.
Weighted blankets help beat sleep-onset insomnia by immediately causing your body to increase melatonin and serotonin levels while simultaneously decreasing cortisol levels. Not sure what that means? Basically, this is what your body does naturally to help you fall asleep. And weighted blankets help significantly.
Our blanket also helps you beat sleep maintenance insomnia by continuously providing that DPS, keeping you in deeper sleep longer. That means you’re less likely to wake during the night.
Ready to Treat Your Insomnia?
Yes, we’re a weighted blanket company. But we’ve earned awards for a reason. Our attention to quality and fantastic customer service (ahem...our 100-night risk-free trial and no-hassle return policy) gives us a leg up on the competition.
Kick insomnia to the curb. Make a few adjustments to your living habits and snag yourself the best weighted blanket on the market. Then let us know how awesomely-rested you feel. We’d love to hear from you!