How to Cure Insomnia

By: Juliet Cohen

Insomnia is a sleep disorder. Sleep is a state of consciousnesses, which gives your body time to rest and build up your strength. It is characterized by an inability to sleep and/or inability to remain asleep for a reasonable period. Insomnia affects all age groups. Among older adults, insomnia affects women more often than men. The incidence increases with age. Insomnia can be a symptom of physical disorders, although for most of us it's the result of tension, stress and anxiety -- and of course the more anxious we get about our insomnia, the worse it gets. It is often caused by fear, stress, anxiety, medications, herbs, caffeine, depression, bipolar disorder or sometimes for no apparent reason. An overactive mind or physical pain may also be causes. Insomnia may be classified by how long the symptoms are present.

Transient insomnia usually is due to situational changes such as travel and stressful events. It lasts for less than a week or until the stressful event is resolved. Short-term insomnia lasts for 1-3 weeks, and long-term insomnia (chronic insomnia) continues for more than 3 weeks. Chronic insomnia often results from depression or substance abuse. It is important to know that nearly everyone has problems sleeping at some time or other and it is thought that a third of people in the UK have bouts of insomnia. Newborn babies can sleep for 16 hours a day, while children of school age need an average of 10 hours. Adults usually need, on average, 7 to 9 hours sleep a night. As we get older, itís normal to need less sleep. Most people over 70 need less than 6 hours sleep per night; and they tend to be light sleepers.

Three types of insomnia first is transient insomnia second is acute insomnia and last is chronic insomnia. It is not defined by the number of hours you sleep every night. Poor sleep quality can occur as a result of sleep apnea or major depression. Transient insomnia lasts from one night to a few weeks. Most people occasionally suffer from transient insomnia due to such causes as jet lag or short-term anxiety. Acute insomnia is the inability to consistently sleep well for a period of between three weeks to six months. Chronic insomnia is regarded as the most serious; persists almost nightly for at least a month. Chronic insomnia can lead to mental health problems such as depression, or misuse of alcohol or other medicines in order to gain sleep.

Sleep apnea is a condition that occurs when a sleeping person's breathing is interrupted, thus interrupting the normal sleep cycle. With the obstructive form of the condition, some part of the sleeper's respiratory tract loses muscle tone and partially collapses. People with obstructive sleep apnea often do not remember any of this, but they complain of excessive sleepiness during the day. Central sleep apnea interrupts the normal breathing stimulus of the central nervous system, and the individual must actually wake up to resume breathing. Sometimes perimenopausal (the time leading up to menopause) women have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep; hot flashes and night sweats often can disturb sleep. Pregnancy also can affect how well a woman sleeps.

Treatment of insomnia should be individualized based on the nature and severity of symptoms. Most cases of insomnia inability to sleep or inability to sleep well at night. Lormetazepam, a short-acting benzodiazepine widely used for the treatment of insomnia. Rozerem is the very first insomnia treatment medication on the market that acts as a melatonin receptor agonist. Rozerem is just one of the many insomnia medications available on the market today. It is important that you discuss with your health care provider if prescription medications are right to treat your insomnia. Benzodiazepines drugs are relatives of diazepam (Valium) marketed as sleeping aids. Other drugs such as ethchlorvynol (Placidyl) are likely to produce neurologic side effects when taken.

Barbiturates were formerly the standard sleeping pills, sold under such names as Seconal and Nembutal. Nonpharmacologic treatments for insomnia are considered effective if they decrease sleep onset latency or increase total sleep time by 30 minutes. Most treatment studies use patient-reported sleep diaries to measure outcome. Criteria used include total sleep time, sleep-onset latency, and number of nocturnal awakenings. A meta-analysis of 48 individual studies of behavioral therapy found stimulus control therapy to be effective and to be superior to progressive relaxation, imagery training, and paradoxical intention. Develop a regular sleeping schedule. Avoid daytime naps and stimulating activities just before bedtime. Avoid alcohol- it is a leading cause of poor sleep. Drink a cup of warm milk.

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Juliet Cohen writes articles on health doctor and skin disorders. She also writes articles on health disorders.

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