Sleep is not only important for our moods, but our overall health. Poor quality of sleep can worsen psychiatric conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and more. Studies have also found that poor quality and quantity of sleep affect our hormones in ways that can lead to obesity. Blood pressure also typically falls during sleep, but in poor quality this can be disrupted and lead to high blood pressure and consequences of that such as cardiovascular risk. Insufficient sleep also affects our ability to use insulin, which along with weight gain can lead to diabetes.
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, there are two kinds of insomnia: primary and secondary. Secondary as one may have guessed is due to another condition. Therefore, it is absolutely critical to address secondary causes of insomnia. These include but are not limited to
Cognitive behavioral therapy, sleep restriction therapy and stimulus reduction therapy are the most effective treatments for primary insomnia. Sleep aids, although they can help, in the longterm have much lower efficacy in the longterm. In brief, we all have our own circadian rhythm, so it is absolutely important to:
-go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, even if you had a rough night of sleep the night before. Nothing will be more disruptive to your circadian rhythm than a nap.
-stay physically active, but ideally in the mornings. Working out too late can lead to insomnia.
-have a relaxing bedtime routine 90 minutes before bed and avoid screens as the light exposure will disrupt the circadian rhythm