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Insomnia
 is the inability to fall asleep or remain asleep and waking up not feeling refreshed. Insomnia refers to the inability to get restorative sleep.

Insomnia is a disorder on its own, but often can be a symptom of some other disease or condition. Half of all those who have experienced insomnia blame the problem on stress and worry. In the case of stress-induced insomnia, the degree to which sleep is disturbed depends on the severity and duration of the stressful situation. Sometimes this may be a disturbing occurrence like loss of a loved one, stress or loss of a job, marital or relationship discord or a tragic occurrence.

Insomnia can also occur with other sleep disorders such as jet lag, shift work and other major schedule changes and in some cases; sleep apnea.

Symptoms

  • Difficulty Falling Asleep
  • Waking up Frequently During the Night
  • Difficulty Returning to Sleep
  • Waking up too Early in the Morning
  • Unrefreshing Sleep
  • Daytime Sleepiness
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Irritability

Treatment

There are a number of treatment options in managing Insomnia. At the outset, a health care professional will evaluate your sleep experience, sleep schedule, and your daily routine along with a medical history and physical examination. After a complete examination and medical history treatment options may be considered.

Behavioral Treatment

Because of the close connection between behavior and insomnia, behavioral therapy is often an important part of any treatment for insomnia. This is because people with insomnia may begin to associate certain sleep-related stimuli with being awake. A combination of several behavioral treatments is typically the most effective approach. Some examples of behavioral treatments are:

  • Stimulus Control Therapy: creating a sleep environment that promotes sleep
  • Cognitive Therapy: learning to develop positive thoughts and beliefs about sleep
  • Sleep Restriction: following a program that limits time in bed in order to get to sleep and stay asleep throughout the night

Relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation, reducing evening light exposure and guided imagery may be especially helpful in preparing the body to sleep. Exercise, done early in the day, can also be helpful in reducing stress and promoting deeper sleep.

Medication Treatment

Behavioral therapies alone may not be enough. Supplementing behavioural therapies with medications may be undertaken to achieve best results. Sleep medications for the treatment of insomnia are called sedative / hypnotics. They should only be taken when:

  • The cause of your insomnia has been evaluated
  • The sleep problems are causing difficulties with your daily activities
  • Appropriate sleep promoting behaviors have been addressed