What would it feel like to finally sleep through the night without interruptions or overthinking?
What if I told you... This article will help you better understand how common insomnia is, how it is suspected, what can be done about it and how you can stop it, in its tracks, from happening again. You're not alone and these solutions have helped countless people across the world deal with sleeplessness. Keen to find out how you can finally get the rest you deserve? Read on to learn about insomnia!
Most adults need at least seven to eight hours of rest every night. Insomnia, which is the most commonly reported sleep condition, is the difficulty falling or staying asleep. It also includes instances where you might have woken up too early and have not been able to return to sleep. As a result of insomnia, many people report still feeling tired when after waking up. Insomnia is so frustrating because it affects your mood, health, work performance and lifestyle.
Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder reported across North America, Europe and Australia. The American Sleep Association reports 3 in 10 adults experiencing acute or short term insomnia.
If you feel like you have difficulty sleeping, you’re not alone. But insomnia is a problem especially when something short term progresses into a long term problem. Forty percent of people surveyed by the American Sleep Association reported falling asleep during the day at least once in the previous month. Almost five percent reported falling asleep while driving! Difficulty sleeping is not only a problem but it has become a real hazard.
Signs of insomnia could include –
- Difficulty falling asleep at night
- Irregular and interrupted sleep
- Waking up too early
- Not feeling well-rested after a whole night's sleep
- Feeling tired or sleepy during the daytime
- Irritability, depression or anxiety
- Difficulty paying attention, focusing on tasks or remembering
- Increased errors or accidents
- Ongoing worries or anxiety about sleep
Insomnia is either described as, primary or secondary.
Primary insomnia is related to stress factors in your life such as major life changes such as moving home, breakdown in relationships, sudden changes with travel or work, or even unhealthy habits such as napping or changing sleep patterns.
Secondary insomnia occurs as a result of another disease or medical condition. This includes sleep apnea, asthma, menopause, heartburn or even pain. There are of course, other causes of insomnia and a medical provider is the best source to diagnose and offer treatment. That said, there are supplements you can take that have helped others with insomnia in the past.
If you’re pregnant and are experiencing signs of insomnia, you’re not alone. Almost 80% of pregnant women will level of insomnia because of pregnancy related changes. These include –
- Abdominal discomfort
- Back pain
- Hormonal Changes
- Increased Stress, Worry or Anxiety
- Frequent Urges to Urinate
- Dramatic Dreams
We’ve designed a quick 6-question survey to help you to better describe your sleep and the impact it is making to your life. Please realise that this does not constitute a medical diagnosis. Only a licenced physician can perform specific tests to make a judgment on a medical diagnosis of insomnia.
Describe Your Sleep
- Do you have difficulty falling asleep at night (assuming you don’t have graveyard shifts)?
- Do you often wake up earlier than wanted, and have difficulty returning to sleep?
- Is your mind often occupied, and as a result affecting your sleep?
- Do you feel restless or alert at bedtime?
Impact of Poor Sleep
- Are you worried about your sleep?
- Do you feel irritated, exhausted and unmotivated throughout the day?
If you’re on this page, chances are most of your answers are a “Yes!” If so, we’ve designed a set of supplements that has helped you rest more easily at night, particularly if you feel anxious, have stress or have a million things racing around in your mind. For more information, visit the Calm Set.
The outlook for insomnia is generally positive with treatment. Medical professionals may approach treating insomnia using therapy and medications but there are also natural supplements that you can consider.
Cognitive behaviour therapy is a form of psychotherapy that helps people change their thinking. This helps influence how they feel and behave. Instead of identifying unhelpful thoughts, the patient is encouraged to practice self help strategies to drive a refreshing approach to thinking. This has been practiced effectively to help resolve psychologically caused problems such as anxiety, depression, insomnia and low self esteem.
In many cases, cognitive behaviour therapy is a process that requires significant commitment. Counsellors, psychologists and therapists can all offer cognitive behaviour therapy which typically includes a pre-procedural assessment, personal education, goal setting, practicing of strategies, and regular homework. While it can feel like a big investment of time and effort, it is likely to help identify and resolve underlying stresses and trauma causing your insomnia. There are other methods of managing insomnia, such as medical and natural supplements. These are presented below.
Over the counter medications
Diphenhydramine, commonly sold as Benadryl has a sedative effect because it blocks histamine. Histamine is a chemical that is associated with allergy attacks but is also one of the chemicals that keep us awake and alert (Scammell et al., 2018). Because of its sedative effects, the diphenhydramine is great at helping you fall asleep. However, it does not lead to better quality sleep and so while you might feel drowsy and sleep, you may still wake up feeling restless. Harvard University has reported that while diphenhydramine does help kickstart the feeling of sleepiness, it can lead to a groggy, hung-over feeling when you wake up.
Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced in the pineal gland at night and is associated with sleep-wake cycles. It is a natural supplement and a substitute for Diphendydramine (Benadryl) Many business professionals who travel or shift workers have used melatonin as a dietary supplement. In the absence of sunlight, melatonin is produced which helps to signal rest by causing drowsiness.
If you consume 5-HTP, one of the effects of increased serotonin production is an increase production of melatonin in the brain. We offer a proprietary blend of not only Melatonin, Camomile and Vitamin B6 as a sleep aid to help you better adapt to unusual sleep cycles, sleep and still wake up to feel refreshed.
With respect of insomnia associated with pregnancy, some sources have recommended dietary melatonin supplements however because it is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, a licensed physician should be consulted. A small dose of melatonin may be prescribed, or the physician may recommend other treatments such as over the counter or prescription drugs.
Upon medical examination, your physician will likely have some explanations for your insomnia, or recommend further testing. However, common prescription sleeping tablets include benzodiazepines such as Temazepam (Temaze), nitrazepam (Alodorm), Oxazepam (Murelax) or flunitrazepam (Hypnodorm).
Other classes of prescription sleeping tablets include the Benzodiazepine receptor agonists, Melatonin and associated receptor agonist and Calcium channel alpha-2 delta ligands (previously used as anti-epileptics). However, because we are not medical physicians, we defer the expertise to your physician.
If you’re looking for a holistic and wellness solution that can help you reduce anxiousness and sleep better, we recommend three natural supplements. 5-HTP helps you to better manage stress, Vitamin B Complex aims to correct nutritional deficiencies that could have made the insomnia worse and Melatonin helps you to manage your internal circadian rhythm.
5-HTP, or 5-hydroxytryptophan, is a supplement extracted from the African shrub Griffonia simpicifolia used to manage depression and anxiety. As a result, it is often considered to help manage sleep disorders such as insomnia.
Consuming 5-HTP increases the production of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is an important chemical and neurotransmitter involved in managing mood. Low levels of serotonin have been associated with depression, poor sleep and appetite. In a publication in the Medical Science Monitoring journal, Weeks (2009) reported clinical research of herbal extracts of 5-HTP increased neurotransmitter activity which helped to improve relaxation while reducing anxiety. In 2016, Hong et al., reported on the improved sleep quality and time when receiving 5-HTP supplementation.
In a research study of 15 adults who experienced stress or anxiety, Emanuele et al. (2010) found improved self-reported better personal stress management after supplementing with 5-HTP in as little as three weeks.
Clearly, research on 5-HTP is promising and our formulation is designed to maximise the benefit of 5-HTP and to help you not only feel better, but as reported in the research, sleep better.
B Vitamins are strictly speaking not a supplement that promotes better mood or sleep. Instead, B vitamins are recommended as a preventative for insomnia. Current research from Lichstein et al. (2007) suggests that a vitamin B6 deficiency could disturb sleep or encourage the feeling of distress. As a result, supplementing with the Vitamin B complex aims to reduce this occurrence.
There are multiple vendors who offer Vitamin B supplements however our Vitamin B complex formulation is designed to help you not only correct the vitamin deficiency but also contains other ingredients such as Calcium Carbonate and Magnesium. These minerals help to maximize impact of the capsules and prevent deficiencies.
It’s good to start with a treatment but simply consuming medications or supplements will not solve insomnia. For most people, the Mayo Clinic recommends promoting good sleep habits. This includes –
- Keeping a consistent sleep-awake cycle
- Stay active with regular activity or sports
- Limit naps, caffeine, alcohol or nicotine
- Create a relaxing bedtime habit to reinforce good sleep habits
In conclusion, insomnia is a widespread problem for many people and if you feel like you have trouble sleeping, you’re not alone. Drowsy driving is responsible for over 1,500 fatalities in the United States annually and is in many instances, manageable. In this article, we’ve discussed what insomnia is, causes of insomnia, signs of insomnia, treatment of insomnia and offered a few suggestions on how to prevent insomnia going forward.
You should feel more informed, confident and realise that this is an alarming issue facing many others. By practicing more consistent sleep habits, consuming supplements or visiting a physician you’ll benefit immensely from getting better sleep quality. This includes –
- A night of well rested sleep (after consistently sleepless nights,)
- Working more efficiently (and avoid the dread of waking up while feeling mentally exhausted)
- Driving safer (for your wellbeing and the wellbeing of your community)
How will you use these suggestions to better manage your feelings of exhaustion and sleeplessness?
Emanuele E, Bertona M, Minoretti P, Geroldi D. An open-label trial of L-5-hydroxytryptophan in subjects with romantic stress. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2010;31(5):663-6. PMID: 21178946.
Hong KB, Park Y, Suh HJ. Sleep-promoting effects of the GABA/5-HTP mixture in vertebrate models. Behav Brain Res. 2016 Sep 1;310:36-41. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2016.04.049. Epub 2016 May 2. PMID: 27150227.
Lichstein KL, Payne KL, Soeffing JP, et al. Vitamins and sleep: an exploratory study. Sleep Med. 2007;9(1):27-32. doi:10.1016/j.sleep.2006.12.009
Scammell, T., Jackson, A., Franks, N., Wisden, W. and Dauvilliers, Y., 2021. Histamine: neural circuits and new medications.
Weeks BS. Formulations of dietary supplements and herbal extracts for relaxation and anxiolytic action: Relarian. Med Sci Monit. 2009;15(11):RA256-RA262.(Scammell, Jackson et al. 2018)
Disclaimer The Wellness Hacker aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling to improve their wellness using fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.