Insomnia

insomnia2Ask yourself the following questions: Do you wake up during the night and find that you can’t go back to sleep? Do you lie in bed, tossing and turning for hours at night? Do you dread going to bed because you feel like you never get a good night’s sleep?

 

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you might have insomnia.

 

What is insomnia?

 

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that occurs when you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.

 

Who is at risk for Insomnia?

Anyone may have insomnia, but it is more common in groups such as:

  • Older adults
  • Women
  • People under stress
  • People with certain medical and mental health problems

 

What causes Insomnia?

Some sleep disorders or other medical problems can cause insomnia or make it worse.

 

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a common sleep disorder that causes your airway to collapse part of all of the way while you are sleeping. When your airway collapses, air can’t get through and you often wake up. Very often, you don’t remember waking up and falling back asleep. However, you may also wake up and be unable to fall back asleep. Some people with OSA also have trouble falling asleep at night.

 

Restless Legs Syndrome happens when you feel like you have to move your legs. You may also feel burning or itching inside your legs, which can make it hard for you to fall asleep at night.

 

Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in North America. People with depression often have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Signs of depression include lacking interest or not enjoying activities that usually make you happy or feeling like you have no energy and are worn out.

 

Chronic pain from another medical problem such as arthritis or cancer can cause or make insomnia worse

 

How is Insomnia treated?

 

Medication can be used to treat insomnia. Prescription or over the counter medication can help you fall or stay asleep. Speak to your heather care provider about any sleeping pills you have been prescribed or purchased over the counter. Modern sleeping pills provide safe and effective treatment for insomnia. However, many sleeping pills are not meant to be used long term and might have negative side affects. Your health care provider can help if you want to stop using a sleeping pill safely.

 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) is a non-medication treatment for insomnia. CBT-I addresses the thoughts and behaviours that keep you from sleeping well and helps you learn new strategies to sleep better. CBT-I can include techniques for stress reduction, relaxation, and sleep schedule management. Many people combine medication and CBT-I. Although insomnia is common, most people can find a treatment that works for them.

 

Tips to help with Insomnia

 

Avoid Caffeine

Caffeine stimulates the brain and interferes with sleep. Regular use during the day can lead to sleep problems at night. If you are having trouble falling asleep, you should not drink more than 200 milligrams of caffeine a day, about the amount of 2 cups of coffee. Do not have any caffeine after lunch.

 

Turn off electronic devices

The artificial light generated by a laptop, tablet or cell phone screen can interfere with your body’s sleepiness cues. Turn off all electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.

 

Make a cozy sleeping environment

Keep your bedroom dark. You may want to put up blackout curtains or use an eye mask. Try to keep your bedroom temperature comfortable. Most people prefer a bedroom around 20 degrees Celsius, but lower or raise the temperature as you feel necessary.

 

If your symptoms don’t go away after trying these tips, your health care provider can help you find the treatment that is right for you.

 

SOURCE: The American Academy of Sleep Medicine- www.aasmnet.org

 

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