Last night was one of those nights when I just couldn’t sleep. I’m working on about 3 hours of sleep right now – yay! It’s OK for right now but that 8PM kickboxing class is going to be rough tonight! We all have occasional sleepless nights but when does a sleepless night become insomnia?
Most sleep experts define insomnia as difficulty falling or staying asleep with the type based on its frequency/duration. We’ve probably all experienced acute insomnia which is characterized as brief and generally caused by life circumstances/stress. Acute insomnia generally resolves on its own without medical intervention. I’m diagnosing myself with this type of insomnia – and I’m guessing I’ll have no trouble sleeping tonight after I get home from the gym.
On the other hand, chronic insomnia is generally defined as interrupted sleep which happens at least 3 nights a week that lasts at least 3 months. This kind of insomnia can have various causes like changes in environment, unhealthy living habits, underlying medical conditions to name a few. Treatment can involve behavioral, psychological, or medical elements (or some combination of them). If you have chronic insomnia, it’s best to work with a doctor to put together an effective treatment plan to get you back to a healthy sleep pattern.
Some fun facts about sleep:
- According to a study published on the ScienceDirect.com website, about 12% of us dream in black & white rather than color.
- Most people forget their dreams within 5 minutes of waking about 50% of the time. After another 5 minutes, 90% of the memory of most dreams is gone. Freud said that was because dreams represent repressed thought so our brains try to get rid of them. But hey – that’s Freud!
- Mild snoring is nearly universal. Think you don’t snore? At one time or another you do!
- Humans are the only species that will voluntarily delay sleep.
- Lack of sleep can lead to overeating. True! Sleep deprivation leads to a drop in the hormone that regulates appetite. That’s why a good weight loss program should not only addresses diet and exercise, but should also include promotion of healthy sleep habits.
If you know me, you know I generally avoid caffeine because it’s kinder to everyone around me but today I may need to make an exception! Coffee anyone?