In the crime thriller Insomnia (2002), Al Pacino plays an LA homicide detective sent to a small Alaskan town to investigate a local teen’s murder. Wracked by guilt over accidentally killing his partner, the detective spends sleepless nights peering out his window. Here, the sun never sets.
But for most insomniacs, who do not endure constant sunlight or severe guilt, dark nights won’t do. Insomnia is very common in the U.S. According to the American Insomnia Association, “Occasional insomnia is experienced by more than a third of American adults, and chronic insomnia is known to effect more than one in ten.” Of this number, women are most often affected.
In my quest for sleep, I’ve learned several things from DivineCaroline contributors along the way:
- Not all sleepers are alike. The number of hours of sleep we need varies, so it’s important to determine for yourself what you need to best function during the day.
- Find and follow a sleep regime. There are so many ways we can get a good night’s sleep, from good sleep hygiene to cognitive behavioral therapy.
- Determine what kind of sleeper you are. Understanding the basics will help you determine ways you can help yourself—and what to tell your doctor.
- Go to your doctor. If sleeplessness is affecting your work, relationships, or ability to feel normal, see a doctor. As I learned, insomnia can sometimes be caused by anxiety or it can be a symptom of depression.
- Find ways to relax. There are many ways to reduce anxiety and stop being a worrier. I try to take a fifteen-minute walk each day to clear my head and I have started doing at-home spa treatments to help relax. I’ve also incorporated running into my life again.