Updated: Mar 23
A good night’s rest is important for our health in so many ways — mentally, physically, and emotionally. We all have probably experienced the feeling of not having slept well the night before at least once in our lives. Between the lethargy and general feeling of unwell, it can really take a toll on our bodies fast.
Having a consistent problem falling and staying asleep may be an indication of insomnia. In this article, we will talk about what causes insomnia, how to identify it, and what we can do to help treat it.
What causes insomnia?
Insomnia refers to the inability to get to sleep at night, or to stay asleep, followed by the feelings of lethargy and irritability as well as inability to function well the next day. Some factors that can cause insomnia include medical conditions like mental health disorders (anxiety, depression, etc.) or other illnesses, stress and ongoing pain, certain medications, or having an irregular sleep schedule or poor sleeping habits.
While everyone at some point in time has probably experienced challenges with going to sleep or staying asleep at night, how can you tell if you really have insomnia? Read on to find out.
How do I know if I have insomnia?
You may be diagnosed with having insomnia if you consistently find it hard to go to sleep and stay asleep, if you still feel tired after waking up, if you are unable to nap during the day even if tired, and if you are tired and irritable and as a result, find it difficult to function and concentrate during the day.
Studies have also shown that the chances of experiencing insomnia increases with age, and that women are more likely than men to suffer from it.1
Insomnia can last for less than 3 months (short-termed insomnia) or last for much longer (long-term insomnia). If you experience sleep challenges at least 3 times a week for at least 3 months, you may be suffering from insomnia.
How can I stop my insomnia?
If you’re suffering from sleep challenges, you may be wondering what you can do to get a better night’s rest. In a recent study, scientists looked at how effective certain therapies were at treating patients who were experiencing anywhere from 1 to 11.5 years of insomnia.1
The researchers reviewed data from over 40 studies. One major finding was that study participants had reported improved sleep quality and reduced severity in their sleep problem with the additional help of exercise and meditative movement therapies.1
Examples of meditative movement therapies you can use to help treat insomnia or general sleep challenges include:
Each of these therapies have simple enough options you can implement on your own at home, and provide a variety of benefits beyond sleep alone (such as reduced anxiety and stress, and improvement in blood pressure and other health issues). Together with exercise, this provides you with 5 different ways you can use movement and/or meditation to improve your sleep.
Which one of these meditative movement therapies are you going to use next to help you achieve your best night’s rest?
1. Baglioni C, Bostanova Z, Bacaro V, et al. 2020. A Systematic Review and Network Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials Evaluating the Evidence Base of Melatonin, Light Exposure, Exercise, and Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Patients with Insomnia Disorder. J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(6), 1949; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9061949.