Night after night, sleep is an essential part of our lives. Depending on how much (or how little) of it we get, our sleeping habits can have a wide-ranging effect on our mental and physical wellbeing. And while many of us want nothing more than a good night’s rest so we wake up feeling refreshed, it’s not always that easy.
In fact, for close to 40% of Canadians, sleep-related problems such as insomnia are a regular occurrence. “There can be many factors which prevent us from achieving a restful night’s sleep,” says Dr. Meredith Landy, a Clinical Psychologist at BEACON. “Many Canadians don’t understand how and why insomnia can affect them – and what they can do about it.”
Here are several important facts about insomnia:
Insomnia doesn’t always just go away on its own We tend to assume that, with many common health issues like a head cold or a sore muscle, things will simply work their way out given enough time. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case when it comes to insomnia. When your insomnia is considered chronic (lasting for three months or longer), research has shown that it will more than likely require treatment such as CBT with BEACON.
Staying in bed won’t help you doze off That feeling of restlessness in bed – when you want to fall asleep but simply can’t – is certainly frustrating. As it turns out, staying put in bed isn’t actually beneficial. “After about twenty minutes of not being able to fall asleep, it’s a good idea to get up,” says Landy. “If you stay in bed, watching the clock or letting your mind run, you may come to associate your bed with wakefulness and frustration.” Instead, she recommends getting up to read, or work on a relaxing hobby.
Insomnia can affect women more often (and differently) Sleepless nights and tired days are frustrating for everyone, but when it comes to insomnia, women are actually more likely to experience trouble finding the rest they need. According to a recent poll, 63% of women (versus 54% of men) were more likely to experience symptoms related to insomnia. Additionally, women may also experience sleep disruption due to menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, which may all compound certain sleep habits.
Sleeping well doesn’t always mean waking up refreshed If the goal is to always rise and shine after a blissful night of snoozing, feeling right as rain and ready to meet the day, you may be overlooking the quality of sleep you’re already getting. “For many of us, it’s perfectly normal to wake up feeling groggy,” says Landy. “It’s something commonly referred to as ‘sleep inertia’ and it can last for up to half an hour.” This groggy feeling doesn’t mean you slept poorly though!
Insomnia affects many Canadians and is something that many of us go to great lengths to avoid. However, it is a condition that is also misunderstood; if you’re worried about your quality of sleep, reach out to an expert. There are plenty of things you can do to make a difference.
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