What You Need To Know
Insomnia is a very common sleep disorder that keeps you awake night after night and can lead to sleep deprivation.
~Difficulty getting to sleep and staying asleep. This condition continues night after night for a month or more.
~Waking up tired. People with insomnia often feel like they haven't slept at all.
~Morning headaches. This is often called the hangover effect, when, in fact, the person did no drinking the night before.
(Remember, insomnia is often not a disease in itself but a symptom of some underlying disease or problem.)
Stress or anxiety. Lying awake worrying about your problems.
Depression. Depression either causes insomnia or causes a need to sleep long hours in an attempt to get away from what is causing the depression.Also, while depression can cause insomnia, the reverse is also true. Insomnia can cause depression.
Chronic disorders. Sleep disorders, like sleep apnea, and diabetes, kidney disease, arthritis
Medications. Medications for other problems can cause insomnia
Caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants. Alcohol disrupts your sleep patterns.
Lack of exercise.
METHODS OF DIAGNOSIS
Personal observation. Watching how long and how deeply one sleeps. This can be done by a room mate or by one's own observations.
Having a physical. A thorough physical rules out other diseases or health problems.
Keeping a sleep diary. Writing down how long you sleep, where you sleep, if the sleep was deep, broken by dreams, etc.
Sleep Study. This may be suggested by your doctor, but it's rare in cases of insomnia unless some other sleep disorder, like sleep apnea, is suspected
Treat any underlying causes. If you suffer from a disease or disorder that is causing the insomnia, that must be treated first.
Reduction of stress or anxiety. Medication. Doctor prescribed sleeping pills. Herbal or hormone pills, such as melatonin.
Relaxation techniques. Meditation. Hypnosis. Soft music.
Improved lifestyle. Keeping regular hours. Cutting back on caffeine, smoking and alcohol. Making sure the bedroom and bed are comfortable places to be.