(Zeo Sleep) – ‘Difficulty falling or staying asleep’ is the general insomnia meaning, but it goes deeper than that. Not all sleep disorders can be termed as ‘insomnia’.
The meaning of insomnia has been derived from the Latin term ‘insomnis’, which means the negation (in) of sleep (somnus), while the Oxford dictionary defines the word as “habitual sleeplessness”.
In general, there are two types of insomnia-
- Primary insomnia
- Secondary insomnia
The first term refers to insomnia which occurs due to no specific health disorder and is often affected by the environment in general, while individuals understand secondary insomnia meaning as the inability to get sleep due to factors associated with health and is caused due to health problems like asthma, depression, cancer, arthritis, or due to the side effects of medications that are being taken to treat some ailments.
While most disorders that are related to lack of or poor sleep lead to similar problems like fatigue, depression and other mood disturbances, lack of energy and motivation, poor concentration and reduced efficiency, among many others, the solutions for insomnia often differ.
Acute insomnia, meaning a short term disturbance in sleeping patterns, is easier to treat or prevent than chronic or long term problems with sleep. Most chronic insomnia cases are also cases of secondary insomnia. An individual suffering from lack of sleep over a long period of time (exceeding three weeks) should essentially seek medical help and try to resolve serious underlying problems.
The primary step to treating insomnia is realizing the cause of the condition. For individuals who have experienced improper sleep in the past, it is important (and easier) to take preventive measures as they may already be aware of the causes and the negative effects insomnia has on health.
Taking care of one’s sleep-cycle or circadian rhythm
An individual’s sleep pattern is maintained by the hormone known as melatonin. Travelling across time zones, forcing wakefulness at night, and vision impairment are some of the factors that cause the release of this substance in the brain to be disrupted and wreak havoc on a person’s natural circadian rhythm. The best way of ensuring that such a thing does not occur is understanding insomnia meaning, its implications, and taking care to maintain the sleep cycle as much as possible by avoiding frequent night shifts at work or travelling at night.
Getting at least 6-8 hours of sleep at night is highly imperative and cannot be made up for by catching a few winks during the day. To establish a sleep-wake cycle, it is important to get in and out of bed at the same time each day (even if it takes time to eventually fall asleep).
The following list includes some simple methods of preventing acute insomnia:
- Avoiding certain activities prior to bedtime helps prevent the onset of insomnia:
- Heavy meals
- Alcoholic beverages
- Consumption of products containing caffeine
- Napping during the daytime should also be avoided to ensure a good night’s sleep
- Exercising can help maintain hormonal balance and keep a person’s body and mind healthy, which is necessary for proper sleep. However, exercise should be avoided up to three hours before bedtime as it may increase metabolic activity, thereby causing restlessness.
- A bedroom free of clutter, noise and other external factors that lead to sleep disturbance is essential.
- Switching off the lights before going to bed can aid proper sleep.
- Finding ways to de-stress oneself prior to bedtime by way of stress-free conversations, music or other pleasurable activities helps one sleep better.
Although there are many variations of insomnia meaning, it basically points to poor quality of sleep, and an individual should always find ways of preventing it before the condition hampers daily living.