What Can You Do About Insomnia?

July 26, 2010 by  
Filed under Sleep

One of the most common sleep problems is insomnia. It may be difficult for you to fall asleep even when you’re tired. Or you fall asleep, but then wake frequently through the night. Maybe you have trouble getting back to sleep once you’re awake. Or wake too early in the morning. Some other symptoms of insomnia include not feeling refreshed by sleep, feeling tired or irritable during the day, and not being able to concentrate during the day.

However, insomnia is usually a symptom of another problem. Some medications can cause insomnia, such as antidepressants or blood pressure medications. Some medical conditions can cause insomnia, such as asthma, allergies, or kidney disease. Psychological problems which may be related to insomnia include depression, stress, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. And sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, RLS, or narcolepsy can cause insomnia.

You may find it helpful to use a sleep journal. Track when and where you fall asleep, what you eat and drink, and daily stressors. Things to look for include: caffeine consumption, daytime naps, irregular sleep habits, and late night TV/Internet habits. Look for connections between journal; entries and sleep problems.

There are habits you can adjust to help you fall asleep more easily. Stop taking daytime naps. Establish a regular sleep schedule for going to bed and getting up, even on weekends. Make sure you bedroom is dark, cool, and quiet. Avoid stress at bedtime. If you’re going to watch TV, avoid watching exciting action shows. Studies show that light comedy is best for encouraging sleep. Avoid caffeine. A warm bath may help you relax. Proponents of aromatherapy recommend lavender for it relaxation properties.

Relaxation techniques can be helpful. Establish a calming, quiet bedtime routine, such as quiet reading. Deep breathing and meditation are two other relaxation techniques you can try.

For many people, these simple techniques can help to relieve insomnia. However, you may need to see you doctor if your insomnia doesn’t respond to any of these strategies. You should also see your doctor if your insomnia is significantly interfering with your work or school, if it is getting worse, if you have physical symptoms such as shortness of breath or chest pain, if you suspect that the insomnia is a side-effect of medication, or if you suspect sleep apnea (a condition where you stop breathing during the night).

Insomnia can be scary, frustrating and inconvenient. It can also be an early warning system to help prevent bigger problems in the future.

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