Most adults need about six to eight hours of sleep per night on a regular basis, but it is reckoned that about thirty per cent of people suffer bouts of insomnia at some stage during their lives.
In Afghanistan, it is no different. There are no official figures but it is estimated that thousands of people suffer from this affliction. Below, Sada-e Azadi takes a look at some of the causes of insomnia and how to treat it.
What is insomnia?
Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or to stay asleep long enough to feel refreshed the next morning. Young people are more likely to have trouble falling asleep whereas older people are more likely to wake in the night and be unable to get back to sleep. Insomnia can last for a few days or go on for years. People suffering from insomnia are often unable to function well during the day and find that they are tired, irritable, and unable to concentrate.
What are the causes of insomnia?
Insomnia can be triggered by a number of factors. For some people, insomnia can be triggered by a stressful event such as worrying about work, money, health, or the death of a loved one. Underlying mental health problems – such as depression and anxiety – can also disrupt sleeping patterns. Insomnia can also be caused by physical illnesses, such as heart disease, asthma and muscle problems. Abuse of drugs can also cause insomnia, as can taking some prescription drugs.
Where can I get help for insomnia?
If you are suffering from insomnia, you should visit your doctor for help. The doctor will ask for information about your sleeping routines, how much tea and coffee you drink, what your diet is like and how often you exercise. He will also check to see if any physical or psychological illnesses are causing your inability to sleep. Once your doctor has identified the factors causing insomnia, he will be able to treat it.
So what are the treatments for insomnia?
Good “sleep hygiene” can help you overcome insomnia. This includes: establishing fixed times for going to bed and waking up (and avoiding sleeping in after a poor night’s sleep); trying to relax before going to bed; maintaining a comfortable sleeping environment (not too hot, cold, noisy or bright); avoiding napping during the day; avoiding caffeine and nicotine within six hours of going to bed; avoiding exercise within four hours of bedtime (although exercise earlier in the day is beneficial); and avoiding eating a heavy meal late at night.