“But [Pooh] couldn't sleep. The more he tried to sleep the more he couldn't. He tried counting sheep, which is sometimes a good way of getting to sleep, and, as that was no good, he tried counting Heffalumps. And that was worse. Because every Heffalump that he counted was making straight for a pot of Pooh's honey, and eating it all.” - A.A. Milne
Like Winnie the Pooh, we’ve all had those nights where we can’t get to sleep - tossing and turning, sweating and stressing, bad dreams, no dreams, jittery, and jumpy. Usually, these nights only happen on occasion. But if a customer tells you that he or she is having trouble sleeping on a regular basis, it could be a more serious problem.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that causes its sufferers to have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. This inability to sleep usually lasts for about a month. WebMD lists the following symptoms of insomnia:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Waking up often during the night and having trouble going back to sleep
- Waking up too early in the morning
- Feeling tired upon waking
There are numerous factors that can cause insomnia, including a bad mattress, alcohol, anxiety, caffeine, stress, depression, medication, other environmental factors (such as noise, light, and temperature), and illness. Acute insomnia lasts a short period of time, whereas chronic insomnia can last for weeks.
Several factors may increase your risk of having insomnia, including being a female, being over age 60, having an existing mental health condition, being under a lot of stress, working nights/changing shifts, and frequently traveling across time zones.
Thankfully, insomnia is treatable. Tips for getting rid of insomnia include:
- Ensuring that you are sleeping on a quality mattress
- Avoiding naps during the day
- Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine before bed
- Eating at regular times during the day
- Maintaining a regular sleep schedule
- Using relaxation techniques
If adjusting habits or mattresses doesn’t work, there are different prescription treatments and over-the-counter medications available as well. It is important to get insomnia investigated and taken care of. Sleepiness throughout the day can lead to decreased productivity and increased liability for accidents. Lack of sleep can also contribute to weight gain and lowered immune system function.
For further reading on insomnia, check out: