Weighted Blanket for Insomnia
What is Insomnia?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by difficulty in sleeping or staying asleep which can result in severe health complications. Insomnia increases the risk of depression and high blood pressure and can affect an individual’s quality of life.
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, an estimated 70 million Americans suffer from a sleep problem and nearly 60% have a chronic sleep disorder. Many of these are insomnia sufferers.
What are the types of Insomnia?
There are two types of insomnia - primary insomnia and secondary insomnia. Primary insomnia is characterized by sleep problems that are not linked with other health problems while secondary insomnia happens when the sufferer has sleep problems due to other health conditions such as depression, cancer, heartburn, pain; or when the individual is taking certain substances like drugs and alcohol.
Insomnia can be differentiated depending on the length of time it occurs and its frequency. Individuals with transient insomnia can experience episodes lasting from one night to three night while acute insomnia sufferers might suffer for up to several weeks. Chronic insomnia happens when a person has insomnia for at least three nights in a week, for a month, or longer.
What are the causes of Insomnia?
Insomnia can be caused by a number of factors such as:
- Environmental factors (extreme temperatures, noise, light)
- Jet Lag or frequent switching of work shifts
- Emotional or physical discomfort
- Acute or Chronic stress
- Severe illness
- Side effects of certain drugs
- Chronic pain
- Substance abuse (alcohol and drugs)
What are the symptoms of Insomnia?
Symptoms of insomnia may vary from person to person, but these are the prevalent indications that an individual has insomnia:
- Sleepiness throughout the day
- Fatigue brought about by difficulty sleeping
- Frequently awakening during the night
- Difficulty going back to sleep when awakened
- Mood swings and irritability
- Difficulty concentrating on work or school
- Substance dependence (sleeping pills/alcohol)
- Memory lapses
How is Insomnia diagnosed?
Checking the symptoms online isn’t enough. If the sufferer has tried changing their sleeping habits, has had trouble sleeping for several months, or if their inability to sleep is affecting their daily life, it’s best to check with a general practitioner.
A doctor can check and do assessments and evaluations depending on sleep history, medical history, and physical examinations. Sleep patterns can be monitored and a sleep diary may be given to track patterns of sleep.
Another option would be to go to a sleep specialist where they can run tests to identify the root cause of insomnia.
What are the effects of Insomnia on the body?
If insomnia isn’t treated, consequences can be moderate to severe. An individual with insomnia can have daytime drowsiness that can cause fatigue and compromised reaction times. Mood can be affected and other complications such as depression and anxiety can be caused by poor sleep.
Stress and lack of sleep stimulates the production of cortisol in the body thus causing rapid weight gain which can also lead to other medical complications, and 27% of people with sleep disorders gain weight.
Daytime activities such as working and going to school can be affected due to fatigue and memory lapses and one primary cause of death through vehicular accidents is due to drivers falling asleep at the wheel.
What are the treatments for Insomnia?
It’s important to identify the underlying cause of insomnia to be able to treat it effectively. Depending on the severity of the condition, something as easy as changing sleeping habits can cure episodes of insomnia.
Transient and acute insomnia may not require treatment. Chronic insomnia should be treated to reduce the severe effects that might cause complications:
Taking Medications and Supplements. A doctor can provide a prescription for sleep medications but it is not advisable for long-term use. Supplements such as melatonin and valerian can also be bought over-the-counter.
Changing Lifestyle. Stress, anxiety and trauma can be caused by relationships, work, and school. Incorporating healthy activities such as exercising and having a proper diet can improve the lifestyle of a person with insomnia. Therapy can be provided to promote a positive way of dealing with stressful situations.
Improving Sleep Habits. Having a relaxing and calming environment and a bedtime routine can improve quality of sleep. These are some of the things an individual can do to create an environment conducive for sleeping.
- Have a regular sleep schedule - by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, a person’s biological clock will get used to the nightly schedule and help create a regular sleep rhythm.
- Avoid using electronic devices during bed time - the blue/white light from a screen can prevent the body from producing the needed amount of melatonin to help an individual go to sleep.
- Prior to going to bed, phones and tablets should be put away from the sleeping area to avoid usage during night time. It’s best to choose an activity that promotes relaxation such as mediation, reading a book, or listening to music.
- Try not to nap within the day - Having long naps within the day will make it difficult to get to sleep at night.
- Use sleeping aids - Environmental factors such as light, temperature, sound, and comfort are important in providing good quality sleep. Using an eye mask to block out light or earplugs to block out sound are some of the sleeping aids one can use to sleep.
How can Miran Blanket help Insomnia Sufferers?
Miran Blanket is an effective and non-invasive way to treat insomnia. A weighted blanket can provide deep pressure touch stimulation (DPTS) which is a type of therapy that insomnia sufferers can benefit from.
With its glass microbeads coated in polyester distributed all over the blanket, Miran Blanket has the added weight that can soothe the nerves and induce feelings of relaxation and calm. This signals the brain to produce serotonin and dopamine which fights off anxiety and restlessness for better quality sleep.