Ever have trouble falling asleep? I mean really struggle? Like tossing and turning night after night, and when you wake up in the morning you’re so incredibly tired that the rest of the day just drags on? If this cycle of sleep deprivation has been plaguing your life, then you probably have some form of insomnia.

Insomnia is a sleeping disorder where someone has difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or experiencing restful sleep.

There are two types of insomnia, namely primary and secondary insomnia. Primary insomnia has no relation to any health problems and can be caused by stress, schedule change or things around you. Secondary insomnia is related to a health condition such as depression, asthma, arthritis, etc. It also includes the use of alcohol or tobacco.

I personally know the struggles of falling asleep at night. About four years ago I had a sudden onslaught of sleepless nights. It was the worst experience as I was constantly tired, I couldn’t concentrate, I was grumpy and I’d sleep during the day. These are all symptoms of insomnia and if you can relate then you may be experiencing it.

Treatment for insomnia

There are a few ways to treat insomnia. If you have acute (short-term) insomnia, then you’d probably get a few sleeping pills from your doctor to help. It’s important to remember not to overdo the pills because they can wear off over time.

For chronic (long-term) insomnia, underlying health problems will be treated since your health issues may be keeping you awake.

When I suffered from insomnia or even when I struggle to sleep now and then, there are a few store-bought items that could bring some relief to your tossing and turning. Buying food and drinks that contain tryptophan may help to promote sleeping. According to an article by Healthline, written by Ana Gotter, “Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that serves several important purposes, like nitrogen balance in adults and growth in infants.”

• A warm cup of milk before bed. Milk contains tryptophan and research has shown better sleep for adults who drink milk along with some exercise.
• Eating a banana a little while before bed time. Bananas contain magnesium which is a good property to help you fall asleep.
• Drinking chamomile tea. This is my favourite as it really knocks me out. Chamomile tea contains antioxidants that help one to fall asleep.

Please note that there are many different foods and drinks that can help with insomnia, such as almonds, kiwi fruit, white rice, and the list goes on. But do be aware that it’s best to eat these foods about two to three hours before actually heading to bed because eating too late may give you digestive issues.

Another treatment to help with insomnia could be listening to white noise. According to a report by SleepFoundation, “Many people enjoy falling asleep to the soothing hum of white noise, which consists of low-, medium-, and high-frequency sounds played together at the same intensity level. White noise effectively masks other sounds, making it helpful for people who live in loud neighborhoods.”

Preventing insomnia

So let’s say you’ve overcome your insomnia, but you’re scared that it’ll come back. There are a few ways to prevent insomnia.

• It’s important to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. This won’t interfere with your body clock.
• I’m sure many have heard that you shouldn’t use an electronic device before bedtime – it’s true.
• It goes without saying that you should stay away from caffeine before bed.
• Exercise regularly, but not too close to your bedtime as that may in fact keep you awake.
• During lockdown it’s very easy to get stuck in a rut and you may simply have no daily routine. But bear in mind that you should only use your bed for sleeping, not studying or working.

Take care of yourself

Getting a good night’s rest is very important for your health so it’s essential that you do all you can to sleep. During this lockdown period it won’t be unusual for many people to have trouble falling asleep, as we may have added stress, anxiety and depression. In order to overcome any form of insomnia please do treat the underlying issues.

Insomnia is not fun for anyone and no one knows that better than an insomniac. This quote perfectly embodies how sleep deprivation affects someone. “I don’t think they realise how sleepless nights can affect you or how overthinking slowly kills you. I don’t think they know how it can turn your mind into thoughts you wish weren’t yours.” – WTM


Insomnia is closely related to depression so you can read an article on depression here.
Tell us: Have you ever suffered from insomnia and how did you treat it?