How to manage insomnia

Sleep is necessary to remove fatigue and refresh a person physically and mentally. If a person is unable to sleep, he tends to be irritable and feels exhausted. It also causes forgetfulness.

Sleep is necessary to remove fatigue and refresh a person physically and mentally. If a person is unable to sleep, he tends to be irritable and feels exhausted. It also causes forgetfulness.

There can be increase the blood pressure and heart attacks in those who are susceptible to it due to insomnia or lack of sleep.

The number of hours of sleep needed varies from person to person but few hours of sound sleep is needed for all. 

There are many reasons for insomnia. Advancing age, chronic sickness, anxiety, mental stress, use of brain  stimulant substances such as alcohol and tea, coffee, etc, are some of them.

Many people suffering from insomnia use sedative drugs such as benzodiazepine (eg diazepam) for sleeping. A middle-aged lady recently consulted me for prescription of sedatives as she does not sleep without them. But consuming them for many days carries the risk of habituation. Thus, the dose taken will fail to induce sleep and one has to take higher doses to be effective. These drugs have to be taken just when a person is ready to sleep and on the bed. If one takes a sedative tablet and moves around, desired effect does not occur.   

Instead of sleeping, a person can experience unpleasant sensations such as hangover or headache and discomfort.

It is advisable to take meals early in the evening. This prevents the abdominal discomfort and flatulence which occurs after a meal and disturbs one in falling asleep. One should avoid taking coffee and other stimulant substances one to two hours prior to sleep time. 

Choice of the night dress helps in  improving insomnia. The clothes worn for sleeping should be loose and comfortable. The material should preferably be cotton. Nylon tends to stick to the body causing discomfort. It  also feels warm hence a person feels uneasy.

Saying prayers before sleeping was a tradition started by wise old men for solving the problem of insomnia. After  a prayer, the mind becomes relaxed  and deep sleep automatically follows in majority of people.

Reading a good book after lying down is a good measure to induce sleep. The book should be soothing to the mind like a good classic or spiritual/philosophical one.

Watching television throughout the evening excites the mind and hampers sleep. Hence a person having problem to sleep should avoid watching television or movies.

A very simple measure to get good sleep is to do some deep breathing after reaching the bed. Taking slow and deep breath up to a count of 50 to 100 will relax the mind and induce sleep.

Breathing exercises of yoga when done regularly are also very effective in curing insomnia.

Problem of insomnia can be solved very well without drugs. Only thing needed is that the individual follows the necessary measures regularly and patiently.


Dr Rachna Pande is a specialist in internal medicine at Ruhengeri Hospital

Subscribe to The New Times E-Paper


You want to chat directly with us? Send us a message on WhatsApp at +250 788 310 999    

 

Follow The New Times on Google News