Understanding Insomnia

Updated: Aug 9

*I am not a medical professional. This information should not replace medical advice. Always consult your doctor for any health concerns*

There was a time that I would lay in bed for what seemed like hours; tossing and turning. Even though I had been exhausted all day, sleep totally escaped me, when it was actually time. When I did finally get to sleep, I’d either wake up multiple times throughout the night or I’d wake up way too early. When that happened, I knew it was no use trying to get back to sleep, so I’d just ride it out, throughout the day.

If I got so tired that I could nap, I never woke up feeling rested. In fact, none of my sleep was really “restful”. I could have slept for hours and it wouldn’t have made a difference, at that point. It was years going through a vicious cycle of exhaustion.

It had never occurred to me that what I was experiencing was an actual sleeping disorder. I had always thought that it was my energetic nature, but even when I wasn’t feeling so energetic, I was still restless. After years of suffering, I finally went to my doctor, who diagnosed me with chronic and com insomnia.

In order to heal yourself, you must first understand what's going on. This means that in order to start treating your insomnia, you'll need to learn a bit about it first.

What Is Insomnia?

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is classified by difficulty falling or staying asleep, waking up too early, and having “unrestful” sleep. It’s actually quite a common disorder, with over 50% of the world’s adult population being affected.

Though the symptoms of insomnia can differ from case to case, generally, the symptoms of insomnia include:

  • Difficulty Falling Asleep

  • Waking Up Multiple Times Per Night

  • Poor Sleep Quality

  • Waking up in the early hours of the morning (way before expected)

  • Waking up and not being able to fall back asleep

  • No sleep at all (in extreme cases)

The Effects of Insomnia:

As tiresome (and down-right annoying) as it can be, insomnia doesn’t just affect your sleeping patterns. The lack of sleep can also create a negative domino effect in your body and in your life. Insomnia can drastically affect your mental health, as well as your physical abilities. If you’re tired and worn out, your body can’t perform like usual.

Some of the other effects that insomnia can have on your body are:

  • Cognitive Functionality (problem-solving, memory, focus, etc.)

  • Emotional Instability (beyond the stereotypical ‘cranky’ feelings)

  • Cardiovascular Problems (in severe cases)

Causes of Insomnia:

Generally, the most common cause of insomnia is stress-related, but it can actually be brought on by many different factors, even multiple factors in some cases. For example, insomnia can be brought on by something like being nervous about a big life event or it can be triggered by an underlying medical issue like depression, anxiety, or chronic pain. These can help classify what type of insomnia you may have.

The 5 Types Of Insomnia

As I said, there are different types of insomnia. Each type has a different cause and symptom, that helps doctors and patients get to the cause and treat it. There is a debate on how many types of insomnia there are. However, my opinion agrees with the National Sleep Foundation.

According to the Sleep Foundation, there are 5 different types of Insomnia:

  1. Comorbid Insomnia is usually present due to a pre-existing issue such as mental illness or a medical condition like chronic back pain, arthritis, or cancer.

  2. Acute Insomnia is short-term; typically caused by a big event in your life like a big change. In most cases, it can be resolved without treatment.

  3. Chronic Insomnia is long-term, generally has multiple causes. Usually, you must be experiencing symptoms at least 3 times a week for a minimum of 3 months.

  4. Maintenance Insomnia relates to the quality of your sleep; more specifically waking up and not being able to get back to sleep.

  5. Onset Insomnia pertains more to having difficulty actually getting to sleep each night.

No matter what type of insomnia you have, no matter what purpose; the number one best way to get through insomnia is to get down to why it’s happening in the first place and to do things to help that problem, but knowing which type of insomnia that you have can make a world of a difference in finding that root cause and actually treating insomnia. This awareness will save you years of trying various methods. After you and your doctor can identify the root cause of your insomnia, you can start the healing process.

Check out my Ex- Insomniac’s Guide To A Good Night’s Sleep. Sticking with the Insomnia theme, I’m going to share the secret that healed my insomnia WITHOUT sleeping pills!

Until Then, Happy Healing!! xoxo

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Ontario, Canada