You might feel guilty for suffering from insomnia, but while some of it you can control, it’s often out of your hands.
Lying awake staring at the ceiling, waiting to get to sleep, has got to be one of the most boring activities around. You’re hoping for something to arrive that you can’t call, text or message and while you really want it to visit, you seem to have no control over whether it’s going to come in for landing or not. It sucks.
Before you can find a solution, you’ve got to pinpoint the cause. Here are 3 things that could be causing your insomnia and what to do about it.
1) Your Genes
There are some controllable, environmental factors and psychological kinks that can keep you awake at night, but some of it could be biological. You could simply be wired for it.
A new study conducted at the University of Amsterdam just discovered the gene for insomnia- or rather, 7 of them.
An international team of researchers studied a sample of 113,006 individuals and found 7 genes that cause insomnia. The same genes also seem to make sleepers periodically move their legs and arms, and they can give you Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS).
Interestingly, the study also unveiled a strong genetic overlap between having insomnia and displaying certain personality traits. People who find it hard to sleep also often suffer from anxiety disorders, depression and neuroticism.
Apparently, these characteristics go hand in hand because they share a common genetic base.
What can you do about it? You can’t go in and edit your own genes (yet), but you can rest assured that it isn’t all psychological- i.e, it’s not all in your head.
Knowing that you could be genetically wired to find it hard to sleep (and to be rather neurotic) could help you find more permanent ways to deal with it all.
Since it could be here to stay, consult your doctor on how to make lifestyle changes to help deal with your exceptional DNA.
So, now that you’re stressing out because your insomnia might be wired into your genetic code, we’ll tell you that tension could also keeping you up at night.
According to the Mayo Clinic and the millions of people out there currently worrying endlessly about their work, school assignments, bad health, troubled finances and family problems, stress can be a major cause of insomnia.
What can you do about it? Try to limit it. Yes, easier said than done. But really, try to take a load off in any way you can, whether it be talking to a trusted friend or counselor about your problems, taking a nightly walk or run, trying something like yoga or meditation or simply taking action to change your situation.
3) Personal Habits
This one isn’t about how you brush your teeth or wash your hair. It’s about when you eat, where you work, and when you watch screens.
Eating a large amount of food right before bedtime can give you indigestion that can make it hard to relax enough to sleep. It can also cause painful heartburn that keeps you awake.
Similarly, things like using your bed for work, keeping an irregular schedule and looking at screens on your computer, TV, smartphone or other devices can mess up your body’s circadian rhythms.
Basically, you’re making your body guess when it’s time to go to sleep, and it’s having a hard time.
To fix things, reflect on how you run your day and try to make changes if you need to. Go to a coffee shop or the library to get your work done, eat early and limit your screen time right before bed.
For additional tips on getting more sleep, check out Prevention.com.
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