How much sleep you need each night is an individual decision. Some people feel refreshed after five hours of sleep; others need 10 or more. If you're feeling fatigued or irritable during your waking hours, insomnia may be the cause.
Insomnia is most often caused by a change in your daily routine and doesn't usually last more than a few days, though chronic insomnia can be related to a more serious problem.
Causes of Chronic Insomnia
- Illness that causes pain, nausea, or shortness of breath
- Anxiety or depression
- Stress that causes muscle tension, headaches, or indigestion
- Caffeine in coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate, over-the-counter cold medicines, or diet pills
- Bedtime snacks that are heavy, spicy, or high-fat
- Exercise before bedtime
- Sleeping pills, alcohol, or other sedatives that produce "rebound" insomnia when they wear off
- Insufficient activity during the day
Insomnia Prevention and Treatment
If you're having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, try these home remedies:
- Avoid caffeine, especially in the evening.
- Stop smoking with help from our tobacco cessation clinic.
- Use relaxation techniques or take a warm bath.
- Get regular exercise, but avoid strenuous exercise within 2 hours of bedtime.
- Have a quiet, transitional time before bedtime.
- Limit fluid intake 2-3 hours before bedtime.
- Don't take naps.
- Reduce noise and light in your sleep environment.
- Develop a routine. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, including weekends.
- Avoid studying, reading, or eating on your bed.
- If you lie awake more than 15 minutes, get up and read or watch TV until you feel sleepy.
If your insomnia continues or worsens after 5 to 7 days, make an appointment with the IU Health Center Medical Clinic.