For so many people, having sound and refreshing sleep at night is a mirage. They may go to bed and drift to sleep almost immediately, but they soon wake up a few hours later. And they may remain awake for the rest of the night especially at a time when a ‘normal’ person should be enjoying a deep sleep.
For some people too, no matter how tired they are, sleep still eludes them, and they need all the tricks in the book- including taking sleep inducing drugs to be able to sleep. Yet, it goes without saying that being able to sleep well is essential to physical health and emotional wellbeing.
Experts say insomnia is a common problem that takes a toll on the energy, mood, health and ability to function during the day. They claim that chronic insomnia can even contribute to serious health problems while simple changes to lifestyle and daily habits can put a stop to sleepless night.
Prof. Lawrence Robinson of Cornell University and Dr. Segal warn that as we age, we often experience normal changed in out sleeping patterns.
According to them some people may become sleepy earlier, wake up earlier, or enjoy less deep sleep. Although those changes, they claim may not be normal part of ageing, as disturbed sleep, waking up tired every day and other symptoms of insomnia may depend on other factors than a normal part of ageing.
They are of the view that sleep is just as important to our physical and emotional health over the age 50 as it was when we were younger. Indeed, a recent study by the National Institute for Family Health suggests that healthy older people may require about one and half hours less sleep than younger adults, or an average of seven and half hours per night. The study indicates that older adults sleep less even when given the opportunity for more sleep because of age-related changes in the ability to fall asleep or remain asleep.
General practitioner, Dr. Maureen Keke, says many reasons are responsible for insomnia. She warned that if you are under a lot of stress, and if you are depressed or anxious, sleep may elude you. She noted that those who have recently gone through certain traumatic experience and those on some medications that changes sleeping patterns may find it difficult sleeping when their body demands rest. While some health problems may also snatch your sleep, keke stated that the crowded and noisy environment where many people live, especially in African cities and urban centers where noise pollution in rave, is a contributing factor to sleeplessness.