Insomnia is a serious disorder that affects over 40% of the world population. Its relation to other medical conditions and implications on one’s health, behavior and productivity has made it attract greater attention from a lot of stakeholders. However, a lot of myths surrounding the problem of insomnia have made people fail to seek help on time. In this article, we debunk the myths and facts about insomnia for you.
Myth: Only depressed people suffer from insomnia
While people with depression and other mental disorders are at a greater risk of suffering from insomnia, anyone else can also suffer from the problem. Insomnia can result from injuries, illnesses, job changes, poor sleeping condition, the death of a close family member, medication, and other lifestyle issues. The truth is that if a person suffers from long term chronic insomnia, it could end up causing depression.
Fact: Setting the right sleeping environment can help to address insomnia
This is one of the main methods recommended by medical experts to treat insomnia. Making sure that media devices such as games are removed from the bedroom and the room is dark enough can help to make you fall asleep.
Myth: Every person requires 8 sleeping hours every day
It is incorrect to point that all people require only eight sleeping hours. Some people might require more while others need less. For example, children and teenagers are required to get more sleep time (about 9-11 hours) every day. For adults, 7-8 hours of sleep is considered enough. Notably, there are adults who feel okay if they take 6 hours of sleep every day.
Myth: Watching television can help to address the problem of insomnia
Watching television is not a remedy for insomnia. If you watch television especially in the bedroom, there is a high risk of suffering from insomnia. You should ensure that the television is kept away from the bedroom. However, watching news and specific television programs can bring a sense of satisfaction and induce sleep.
Fact: Acute insomnia can be treated by adopting good sleeping habits
This fact has been confirmed through many types of research. When you take a specific routine, the mind and the body becomes accustomed to it. For example, if you take to sleeping at 10 pm and waking up at 5 am, there is a tendency of falling asleep at that time.
Myth: Napping during the day does not interfere with nighttime sleep
Napping will greatly interfere with your nighttime sleep. If you must nap, it is important to make it a routine and ensure to do so the same time every day. For example, you can purpose to nap between 1 pm to 2 pm after taking meals every day. Also, make sure to keep the nap less and reserve the rest of the sleep for the night.
Myth: Alcohol helps people to sleep better
What alcohol does is helping you to fall asleep faster; not providing better sleep. After falling asleep, the blood alcohol spikes and result in regular waking up and difficulty sleeping again. Also, people who take alcohol wake up feeling less rested, with a lot of hangovers, and groggy.
Myth: Insomnia cannot be treated
Insomnia can be treated. The disorder can be treated even more easily if it is diagnosed early enough. Once the sleep expert finds out the cause of insomnia, he will identify the best method of handling it. For example, if the problem was caused by medication, he could recommend a different therapy. If the problem was caused by bad sleeping habits, implementing the right changes can help to address it.
Fact: Failing to treat insomnia can bring about more serious medical conditions
While many people rarely note or take insomnia seriously during the early stages, there is a risk of suffering from other dangerous medical conditions if it advances to the chronic stages. For example, many people with chronic insomnia end up suffering from depression. Medical experts also point that insomnia can worsen other medical conditions such as diabetes, heart-related problems and mental illnesses.
Myth: Sleeping is a passive event
For years, sleeping was regarded as a passive activity when the body becomes unconscious. However, it is a very active state for the body and brain. There are complex sequences of activities that follow a regular trend in the body. For example, the heart remains active, the endocrine system raises prolactin generation, and worn out cells are repaired so that a person can wake up feeling fresh and more energized.
Myth:Older people need to sleep less
This is a great misconception. It is not that older people require fewer hours of sleep, rather, they experience fractured sleeping patterns because of other health issues. The issue can be caused by an alternation in circadian rhythms as a person ages.
Myth:An individual can catch up lost sleep hours over the weekend
Because of the busy weekly schedules, some people believe they can catch up the lost sleep hours over the weekend. This is a myth. The weekend sleep is never enough to fully restore the body and prepare it for the week ahead. In fact, many people end up finding it difficult to sleep during such weekends because the body has already taken to a specific daily sleep-wake pattern.
Myth: Snoring is not harmful
About 33% of Americans suffer from snoring every year. This has made many people think that snoring is okay and not harmful. However, snoring can be a major cause of insomnia. Besides, it could also be an indication of a more serious life threatening problem referred as sleep apnea.
Myth: Natural sleeping aids do not pose any threat to the user
Many people who are concerned about using medication such as sleep pills often turn to natural remedies especially herbal products. However, because a remedy is natural does not mean it is devoid of negative impacts. For example one of the common medications is Valerian. If used in large doses, it can cause dizziness and sense of sluggishness when waking up in the morning.