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Avoiding Insomnia - Changing Your Routine

Dec 11, 2007
Insomnia is a mental condition as much as it is a physical condition. One of the primary methods of curing your insomnia, especially in the milder forms of insomnia, is to change the way that you go about your day.

Routine is important, especially as you get older. Many middle aged and elderly people follow a daily ritual, which involves, among other things, set times during the day for eating, sleeping, exercising, and rest. In general, we tend to think of a routine as a method of coping with issues, in today's world, we particularly like them because they always allow us to catch the newest episodes of our favorite television shows. However, long before the television was invented, people still found safety and security in their daily routine.

Even animals appreciate the comfort of knowing what comes next. As any dog owner can attest, dogs seem to have a sixth sense which tells them when their owner is coming home, and when it's time for their walk. Regardless of what you would like to believe about the psychological connection between pet and owner, this is all based on routine.

In following a routine, our bodies begin to learn "what comes next", which is a very important step in curing a condition like insomnia. It appears, in many scientific studies, that people who tend to suffer from mild forms of transient insomnia do not follow one specified pattern during the day. This impacts their body's ability to adapt to what the mind wants. After all, if you are used to sitting down to a meal after work, then your body will naturally condition you to be hungry as soon as you get home. This is frequently experienced by people who take half days and find themselves sitting down to dinner at three o'clock.

By learning and following a night-time ritual, you can increase your body's readiness and ability to get a full, restful night's sleep.

When starting a routine, you want your final activities of the day to put your body in a restful state of mind. Do not exercise within two or three hours of bedtime, and do not drink highly caffeinated beverages during your last few waking hours. These activities rev up your body's engines rather than cooling them down. Instead, opt for a relaxing shower, a period of quiet time, or spend some time watching your favorite night time television program. Some people prefer a period of reflection or prayer before bedtime as a way to bring closure to the days events.

While it is inevitable that routines must be broken from time to time, returning to them as often as possible will bring about the rest you require. Following the same procedure, night in and night out, will greatly decrease your periods of insomnia.

Insomnia is a very serious condition affecting hundreds of thousands of people in the United States alone. People suffering from insomnia will, by definition, have a difficult time getting to sleep, and may suffer from some other symptoms as well.

It is perfectly normal for most insomnia sufferers to get at least partial nights of sleep. Usually, the insomniac will get between 3 and 4 hours rest at a time over the course of the night, broken by an hour or two of wake time, where they find it impossible to fall asleep. Thus, if you are the kind of person who regularly takes "cat naps" over the course of the day, you may, in fact, be suffering from a mild form of insomnia.

The symptoms of insomnia are varied, and because this is primarily a psychological condition, there is no defined set of things that scientists and psychologists can point to which are clear symptoms of insomnia. There are, however, a few signals that you may be prone to suffering from insomnia.

There is a strong correlation between insomnia sufferers and people who suffer from depression. These two psychological diseases are so closely related, in fact, that it is rare to find someone who suffers from one, and not the other. This is likely due to the fact that insomnia is often caused by stress, and a preponderance of stressful situations will almost always result in some form of depression.

In addition to depression and other stress-related conditions, it is also quite normal for insomniacs to lead a particularly lazy lifestyle. This is, of course, because sleep is one of the body's natural way of replenishing used energy, and if you don't burn energy, you don't necessarily need to sleep (or, at least, that's what your body tells your mind). While this primitive reaction from your mind and body may seem counter-productive, it is such a common phenomenon that it must be true for many people. In general, people suffering from this variety of insomnia will find that at the end of the day, they simply have too much energy to lay down and rest.

There are also insomniacs who claim to have no energy during the day. These people will typically suffer the most severe cases of insomnia, and may have difficulty getting any sleep at all. Their insomnia episodes will typically last for three days or more, and can lead to severe short-term memory loss and an inability to complete simple tasks because of a lack of coordination, which could remain for years after the condition is cured. In general, this kind of insomnia is caused by a variety of both physical and mental issues, and typically requires long-term care and medication.

In general, based on these three symptoms, the methods of curing insomnia can be deduced. The first method is to consult regularly with a psychologist. Because insomnia is primarily a psychological disorder, these trained professionals can aid you in discovering the root cause of your inability to sleep, whereas a pill would simply mask the issue entirely. Another cure for insomnia is to lead a more active lifestyle. Additional exercise, even a simple walk around the block once or twice a day, will help your body burn calories and induce a need for sleep. Finally, for the third and most severe cases of insomnia, there is no single option that will work for everyone. In general, following your doctor's recommendations, taking the prescribed medication, and staying away from chemical stimulants and depressants (alcohol, caffiene, etc.) will help to relieve your insomnia somewhat.
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