Insomnia: Why can’t I sleep?

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that affects a large part of the world’s population. It is characterised by difficulty falling or staying asleep, or waking up too early and not being able to go back to sleep.

Although it is a common problem, its causes, consequences and treatments are complex and varied and deserve detailed attention.

The complexity of insomnia

Insomnia can be a transient symptom in response to certain life events, but for some, it becomes a persistent and debilitating cycle. Its causes can be as diverse as the people who suffer from it. Stress and daily worries are the usual culprits, keeping the mind in a state of alertness that prevents rest.

Health problems such as chronic pain, respiratory disorders or hormonal imbalances can also be triggers. In addition, modern lifestyles, with their constant exposure to screens and intake of stimulants, contribute to disrupting our natural sleep rhythms.

The impact on daily life

The consequences of a sleepless night are felt almost immediately. Fatigue and irritability are the first signs, but in the long term, lack of sleep can lead to more serious health problems. From a weakened immune system to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, the impact of insomnia on physical health is profound.

Mentally, insomnia can be a pathway to anxiety and depression, creating a vicious cycle where worrying about sleep deprivation only serves to perpetuate it.

In search of solutions

Faced with insomnia, many look to medicine for solutions, whether through prescription drugs or natural remedies. However, the key to effective treatment often lies in a holistic approach that includes both mind and body.

Sleep hygiene, ranging from the bedroom environment to pre-rest routines, is essential. Cognitive behavioural therapy has proven to be a powerful tool in addressing the psychological causes of insomnia, helping patients develop strategies to calm the mind and prepare the body for rest.

Gardening: a path to restful sleep

Among the activities that promote good sleep, gardening occupies a special place. Beyond being a rewarding hobby, gardening offers tangible benefits for those who struggle with insomnia. The contact with the earth and the leisurely pace of nature provide a calming counterpoint to the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

The moderate physical activity involved in caring for plants helps to release tension and prepares the body for deep, restful sleep. In addition, the satisfaction of growing and harvesting your own food can encourage a more balanced diet, which is essential for a good night’s rest.


Insomnia and stress: A complicated relationship

Stress is one of the main contributors to insomnia. Our response to stress, often called “fight or flight”, can keep us in a state of alertness that makes it difficult to sleep. Sometimes, even when we are exhausted, we find ourselves tossing and turning in bed, unable to sleep.

Despite tiredness, our brains may be too stimulated to allow us to sleep. Useful techniques such as meditation, regular exercise and reflective writing can help reduce stress levels and promote better sleep.

Stress can come from many sources, including work, personal relationships and daily challenges. Learning to identify sources of stress is the first step in managing it.

Establishing relaxation rituals before bedtime, such as reading, taking a warm bath or practising breathing techniques, can help signal our bodies that it is time to rest.

Bad habits that affect sleep

Bad habits can have a significant impact on sleep quality. Identifying and modifying these behaviours is essential to combat insomnia. Some of the most common habits that disrupt sleep include:

  • Excessive use of electronic devices: the blue light emitted by phones, tablets and computers can interfere with the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.
  • Caffeine and alcohol use: These substances can disrupt sleep cycles and affect the ability to sleep soundly.
  • Irregular sleep schedules: Going to bed and getting up at different times each day can disrupt the biological clock and make it difficult to sleep.

Changing these habits can be a challenge, but it is a crucial step towards improving sleep and overall health.

Tips for better sleep

Improving sleep quality is possible with the adoption of certain practices and lifestyle changes. Here are some tips to help you sleep better:

  • Establish a routine: Going to bed and getting up at the same time every day helps regulate your biological clock.
  • Create a conducive environment: Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark and cool. Consider using earplugs or sleep masks if necessary.
  • Relax before bed: Spend time in relaxing activities such as reading, meditating or mindfulness breathing before bedtime.

Insomnia is a multifaceted problem that requires a thorough understanding and a personalised approach to treatment. With the right combination of healthy practices, behavioural therapies and relaxing activities such as gardening, it is possible to improve the quality of sleep and, with it, the quality of life.

The key is to find the right balance and strategies that work for each individual, allowing them to enjoy the benefits of a full and restful night’s rest.

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