Just about everybody has had occasional nights when they could not sleep because they are restless, stressed or have been drinking too much coffee or alcohol. While occasional nights of sleeplessness are irritating. chronic insomnia can affect health, diminish energy and mental alertness, affect the mood and cause behavioural problems that affect relationships and career.
If you are bothered by chronic insomnia, a physician should be consulted to make sure that sleeplessness is not caused by a medical condition. A Cognitive Behaviour Therapist may be able to help identify issues that affect sleep and guide you to restful nights. Good sleep hygiene can help to relieve sleeplessness.
Sleep is essential for a healthy mind and body. People who are sleep deprived take longer to recover from stress and more likely to develop medical problems, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Insomnia is a serious disorder that prevents getting a good night’s sleep.
Insomnia may be caused by stress or a medical condition such as restless leg syndrome or sleep apnea. There are a number of medical conditions that can cause poor sleep, including Parkinson’s disease, depression, and asthma and heart trouble. For this reason, a physician should be consulted if you have consistent problems getting sleep.
According to information on the Mayo Clinic website as estimated 42 million people turn to sleep aids to treat their insomnia. Sleeping pills are temporary fix for insomnia. Sleep aids are appropriate to help the patient get through periods of pain and grief. Sleeping pills are a temporary aid, but many people take the pills for months and even years.
While sleeping pills have their place, overuse of the sleep aids can cause serious problems where they are taken for long periods in higher than normal doses. Sleeping pills can mask the origin of the problem, preventing medical intervention into serious disorders. Sleeping pills can cause grogginess or rebound insomnia, interact with other medication and lead to behavioral issues.
Natural sleep is the most restful and healing sleep. Sleeping naturally is restorative and normally provides enough REM sleep (dreaming time) to improve memory, learning and mood.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
People with insomnia may benefit from the help from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. In CBT a trained therapist teaches you to deal with beliefs, behavior and sleep hygiene issues that prevent a good night’s sleep. Following are some tips that a therapist may teach you about sleep hygiene, from the Mayo Clinic website.
1. Arise at the same time every day, even on holidays and weekends when you may be tempted to sleep in.
2. Go to bed only when you are ready to fall asleep. If you do not doze off within 2-0 to 30 miles, get up and do something else until drowsy. You could get up and read a book until sleepy. Many sleep experts recommend not reading in bed, keeping the bed just for actual sleep.
3. Start winding down an hour or two before bedtime. Start a routine of relaxing activities that signal the body that it is time to rest. Turn down the lights; turn off the TV and the computer. A warm bath is a relaxing activity that can help to promote sleep.
4. Avoid napping during the day.
5. Exercise regularly. Some people find that exercising to close to bedtime keeps them awake, but whether with is true for all people is not known.
6. Get as much natural sunshine as you can during the day.
7. Avoid coffee or any caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, especially later in the day.
A good night’s rest is essential for a healthy body and mind. If you are not getting good nights sleep, evaluate your habits to see if you can make changes to help you get adequate rest. If the insomnia is chronic, consult a physician.
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