Iowa Sleep Blog

Dealing with Insomnia

Monday, April 13, 2015

How to Deal with Insomnia

With nearly half of all Americans reporting they experience symptoms of insomnia, this sleep problem most likely is something you’ve heard of before – or even experienced yourself. Insomnia is the persistent inability to fall and stay asleep at night, usually awaking the next morning feeling unrefreshed and groggy. Symptoms also include waking up frequently during the night, waking up too early in the morning, difficulty concentrating and irritability. According to the National Sleep Foundation, insomnia affects roughly 30 to 40 percent of adults, and 10 to 15 percent say they have chronic insomnia.

There are two types of insomnia and each varies in duration. Transient insomnia lasts for a few nights, usually triggered by excessive worrying or heightened levels of stress from work or school on a project approaching its deadline. The second type, chronic insomnia, persists throughout an entire month and may last for more than six months. This type of insomnia can require medical attention.

If you know you’re prone to either type of insomnia, you can take steps on your own to ensure you sleep well even in the midst of hectic times. Working on improving your sleep habits can help, especially focusing on the following tips:

  • Don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy – you won’t be lying in bed for as long before you fall asleep, thus decreasing the anxiety that can come with insomnia.
  • Get out of bed and do a relaxing activity if you haven’t fallen asleep after 20 minutes. The brief stretching or reading, for example, can help calm you and help you get into a mindset of rest. If you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall asleep again, repeat this tip.
  • Avoid taking naps. Daytime naps can make it harder for you to fall asleep at night, especially if they’re taken within six hours of your usual bedtime.
  • Maintain a consistent schedule. Waking up at the same time every morning – even on weekends and holidays – can help set your body clock. Over time, pattern will help make your body feel tired as your typical bedtime approaches and make falling asleep easier, too.
  • Keep your bedroom quiet, dark and cool. The ideal setting for sleep is in a room that’s around 65 degrees and stays dark. That means investing in blinds or curtains that will block out the sun and sleeping without lights that can distract you. A quiet space is generally preferred, but many find it easier to fall asleep with a sound machine designed for sleep on in the background. TVs and radios can produce loud or unexpected sounds, potentially disrupting sleep throughout the night.  

Many adults will experience insomnia at some point, whether from stress or as a symptom of another problem. Maintaining proper sleep habits will help, although you should consult a sleep specialist if the symptoms continue for more than a month or are adversely affecting your ability to function during the day. The team at Iowa Sleep wants to help you get a better night’s rest, so give us a call if insomnia has become a regular problem for you. Contact us to schedule a consultation at (515) 225-0188 option 2.