Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep, stay asleep or get back to sleep after awakening during the night. Insomnia can be short-term and caused by stress, a major life change or a new medication. Or, it can be chronic and caused by poor bedtime or diet habits, illness, depression or sleep apnea. Either way, lack of sleep has many potential negative impacts, including increased risk of stroke, obesity, high blood pressure and other conditions; higher risk for mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression; and a greater chance for automobile and workplace accidents.
Prescription and over-the-counter sleeping pills are certainly an option, but a short-term one at best. Moderate to dangerous physical side effects, parasomnias such as sleepwalking, sleep driving and other behaviors over which you have no control, and allergic reactions have been reported with their use. These medications can be habit-forming and can cause physical dependence. So if pills aren’t a good idea, what can you do?
The accompanying infographic identifies a number of common-sense actions you can take that will help you fall asleep and stay asleep. From avoiding certain activities at bedtime to making diet and lifestyle changes, these suggestions have been proven effective in the battle against insomnia. Try a few of these ideas tonight and stop losing sleep over your insomnia!