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Insomnia

Insomnia is characterized by an inability to sleep and/or to be incapable of remaining asleep for a reasonable period. Chronic insomnia is defined when you have problems falling asleep, maintaining sleep, or experience nonrestorative sleep that occurs on a regular or frequent basis, often for no apparent reason. Insomniacs typically complain of being unable to close their eyes or "rest their mind" for more than a few minutes at a time. It is often caused by fear, stress , anxiety , medications , herbs , caffeine or sometimes for no apparent reason. Although 7 1/2 hours of sleep is about average, some people do well on four to five hours of sleep. Other people need nine to 10 hours of sleep each night. Fatigue, at any age, leads to diminished mental alertness and concentration. Lack of sleep caused by insomnia is linked to accidents both on the road and on the job. Insomnia affects all age groups. As many as one in 10 Americans have chronic insomnia, and at least one in four has difficulty sleeping sometimes. But that doesn't mean you have to just put up with sleepless nights. Some simple changes in your daily routine and habits may result in better sleep.

Nearly everyone has occasional sleepless nights, perhaps due to stress, heartburn, or drinking too much caffeine or alcohol. An estimated 30-50% of the general population are affected by insomnia, and 10% have chronic insomnia. Although most of us know what insomnia is and how we feel and perform after one or more sleepless nights, few seek medical advice. Many people remain unaware of the behavioral and medical options available to treat insomnia. Most people over 70 need less than 6 hours sleep per night; and they tend to be light sleepers. Stress most commonly triggers short-term or acute insomnia. If you do not address your insomnia, however, it may develop into chronic insomnia.

Causes of Insomnia

The common Causes of Insomnia :

  • Some medications (for example those used to treat colds, allergies, depression, high blood pressure and asthma) may interfere with sleep.
  • Emotional or physical discomfort.
  • Illness.
  • Significant life stress (job loss or change, death of a loved one, divorce, moving).
  • Environmental factors like noise, light, or extreme temperatures (hot or cold) that interfere with sleep.
  • Interferences in normal sleep schedule (jet lag or switching from a day to night shift, for example).
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease causes repeated awakenings during the night due to unpleasant sensations resulting from stomach acid flowing upward into the throat while asleep.
  • Stimulants like caffeine , nicotine , sugar, certain medicines, or other pills/drugs
  • Dehydration causes stimulants, hormones, and cellular waste to build up in the blood rather than being flushed out, causing irritation, aches, and headaches (and hyperactivity in the case of stimulants). Drinking a cup or two of water can cause sleepiness within an hour or two.

Symptoms of Insomnia

Some Symptoms of Insomnia :

  • Daytime fatigue or sleepiness
  • Waking up too early
  • Difficulty falling asleep at night
  • General tiredness.
  • Daytime irritability
  • Waking up during the night
  • Sleepiness during the day.
  • Problems with concentration or memory.

Treatment of Insomnia

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (altering behaviour and thinking patterns).
  • Education about sleep and relaxation.
  • Taking a warm bath or drinking a glass of warm milk (milk contains a chemical that is converted to a sleep-enhancing compound in the brain) before bedtime.
  • It is often possible to break the cycle of insomnia by deliberately staying awake for an entire night.
  • Avoid large meals and excessive fluids before bedtime.
  • nightime breathing problems are more likely in smokers.
  • Other activities that can create a relaxed mood include taking a warm bath, having a milky drink, or listening to soothing music
  • Take regular exercise, but avoid strenuous activity immediately before going to bed.

 


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