"I" for Insomnia - Oxford House Ltd. Malta

“I” for Insomnia

When discussing insomnia, it’s natural to associate it with a sleep disorder linked to nighttime hours. However, experiencing poor sleep can have negative implications that may even jeopardise daytime functioning. Indeed, individuals who don’t sleep optimally at night, struggle to fall asleep or experience restless sleep often feel more fatigued and irritable during the day. They may also suffer from drowsiness, leading to difficulties in concentration and feelings of anxiety.

Types of Insomnia

Insomnia can manifest in three main forms:
  • Initial insomnia difficulty falling asleep as soon as you go to bed.
  • Central insomnia frequent awakenings during the night.
  • Terminal insomnia — early awakening and inability to fall back asleep.
The first arises as soon as you get under the covers, finding it difficult to fall asleep; the second involves continuous awakenings during the night; the third occurs when you wake up abruptly, unable to return to sleep, just a few hours before the alarm goes off.

Causes of Insomnia

In addition to stress, there can also be environmental factors, such as noise, light or incorrect room temperature, whether too high or too low. Additionally, a heavy meal the night before, excessive consumption of coffee or nicotine as well as engaging in sports too close to bedtime can contribute. In such cases, acute insomnia is often experienced, which is sporadic and temporary, ending when the underlying problem is resolved. When sleep disorders become particularly debilitating, one of the most common tests that medical specialists recommend is polysomnography, which records various parameters, such as respiratory and cardiac activity to assess sleep quality.

Managing Insomnia with Lifestyle Changes

Whether insomnia is mild, sporadic or temporary, it has its own history and should be carefully evaluated. Modifying your lifestyle can help overcome insomnia problems or prevent them. Let’s take a closer look at some tips for improved sleep.
  • Maintain a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at approximately the same time every day, including weekends, and avoid napping for more than half an hour during the day. A consistent sleep routine can significantly aid in improving sleep quality.
  • Avoid eating dinner too late in the evening, and particularly, steer clear of heavy or large meals to prevent digestive issues. The same applies to consuming caffeine, alcohol and smoking.
  • In the bedroom, opt for soft lighting and refrain from exposure to blue light sources, such as mobile phones or computers just before bedtime.
  • Allocate a few minutes for relaxation activities, such as taking a hot shower or bath in the two hours leading up to bedtime. Additionally, incorporating gentle stretching or yoga before bed can help relax muscles and prepare them for sleep.
  • Night sweats can disrupt sleep quality. The ideal room temperature for sleep is around 18° Celsius, and choosing a mattress that offers breathability and effective thermoregulation can make a difference.