People in all the parts of the world usually sleep during night and work during day. The requirement for sleep of people will be different from person to person. But, in general, it is believed that a normal person must have good sleep during night for an average of eight hours. Loss of sleep during night is normally compensated by sleep during day time. But, in practice it will be felt that loss of, say, four hours of night sleep cannot be compensated by sleeping even for more than eight hours during the day time. That is one of the reasons, why elderly people advise their children and grand children to go to sleep in time and get up early in the morning. They will quote the saying “ Early to bed and early to rise will make a person happy, healthy and prosperous.” They will discourage the youngsters from going to late-night cinemas, etc. Nowadays, because of late-night Television watching, Internet Browsing and in very rare cases, by studying , especially on the night before the examinations, Sleep disorders/Insomnia are acquired by youths.Sleep is influenced by many internal and external causes. Stress, Anxiety and Depression are major internal causes of Insomnia and Sleep Disorders. “Transient Insomnia” is of temporary nature, which is experienced by people in the previous night, who have wedding, interview, presentations, or any other significant and important event on the next day. This transient Insomnia will pass away after the stress inducing event is concluded. The continuous Sleepless night is due to “Chronic Insomnia”, which is a serious problem. Sleep Disorders due to external causes will be temporary and they will be having Transient Insomnia. Insomnia due to internal causes will tend to become Chronic Insomnia.
Certain medications are the cause of insomnia in some persons. Common chemicals and medications affecting sleep/causing insomnia are:-
- Beta Blockers,
- Alpha Blockers and
- Anti Depressants.
Light is an important external cause for insomnia. The bedroom or your sleeping place must be kept as dark as possible. Some people will not get sleep even in the presence of dim light, such as that of night lamps.
Pets are another external cause of insomnia. If the pet animals like cats and dogs sleep by the side in the same bed, sleep will be disturbed by the movements of the pet or by some allergies.
Infants and small babies waking up in night time for milk and for various other reasons are also an external cause of sleep disturbance and subsequent insomnia the mother in particular, and sometimes to the father also.
Persons who are attending to the patients getting treatments in hospitals, and to patients, especially old people, bedridden at home, will get sleep disturbances, which will lead to insomnia if they have to do so for a long time.
Employees working in night shifts and those getting rotation of shifts of duties in various fields will get insomnia. For example, railway employees such as engine drivers, guards, Traveling Ticket Examiners, Surprise Checking/Rescue Squad Members and Maintenance Staff also will get insomnia. Persons working in IT Companies and BPO’s/Call Centers also get insomnia.
In the above mentioned cases, where sleep disturbances are due to timings of work, necessity due to duty towards children/family members and sick people, the waking and sleeping time of the concerned people will be disturbed, and insomnia will develop. In all such cases, when sleeping time is standardized after the end of the cause for sleep disturbances, the insomnia will disappear. If sleep is disturbed by compulsive waking up during the normal sleeping hours, during night, it must be compensated by sufficient sleep during the day time.
For having a good, continuous, uninterrupted and peaceful sleep, and for avoiding insomnia,
We must not :-
- Eat heavily, before going to bed,
- Go to bed with hungry stomach,
- Sleep for more than 30 minutes during day time,
- Watch Television lying on the bed,
- Eat lying or sitting on the bed,
- Use bed for activities other than sleeping,
- Keep your pet animal with you in bed,
- Smoke before going to bed,
- Take alcoholic drinks.