• Another Sleepless Night? Insomnia CAN Be Cured

    Saturday, February 24th, 2024

    by Dr. Gregory Brown

    Do you often have trouble sleeping? You may have a condition known as insomnia. Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Insomnia may be mild or severe, depending on how often it happens and how long it continues.

    insomniaThe main causes of insomnia are pressure at work, family or marital problems, background noise, general stress or a physical ailment causing pain and preventing sleep. Jet lag from frequent long-distance travel can also contribute to sleeplessness.

    Types of Insomnia

    There are two types of insomnia: primary and secondary. Primary insomnia is where your problems sleeping are due not to health problems or pain, but rather from stress or other factors. If you are unable to handle stress well, there is a good chance you will have trouble falling asleep.

    Secondary insomnia is related to health problems like chronic pain, certain medications, or other ailments likes restless leg syndrome. Restless Leg Syndrome (also known as RLS), interrupts sleep with an itchy, prickly and often painful sensation in the legs.

    Chronic vs. Acute Insomnia

    If your sleeping problem happens for just a short time it is usually acute insomnia. However, if trouble falling asleep persists for a long period of time, then you are suffering from what is known as chronic insomnia. For example, if your sleeplessness occurs several times a week for a month or more, then your insomnia is chronic in nature.

    Symptoms of Insomnia

    If you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms, then you are definitely suffering from insomnia. These symptoms include trouble sleeping, or waking up in the middle of the night and being unable to go back to sleep.

    Other signs of insomnia are waking up very early in the morning, falling asleep during the day, trouble concentrating and feeling irritable. Insomnia sufferers cite irritability, poor concentration, mood problems, a lack of energy and frequent headaches as regular occurrences.

    Treating Insomnia

    It is important that you see your doctor or a health professional as soon as possible. As a first step, you will undergo a complete physical exam. The doctor will also do a complete medical history and evaluate your sleep patterns.

    You will then be asked to keep what is known as a “sleep diary” over the next ten days to two weeks. Write down all the details of your sleep patterns and related issues like what you had for dinner, whether you were feeling stress on that day, and etc.

    By doing this sort of detailed analysis of your lifestyle, the medical professional will be able to make recommendations to help you overcome insomnia. Normally, lifestyle and dietary changes are sufficient, but in certain cases insomnia medication will be prescribed.

    Cures for Insomnia

    Sleeping disorders like insomnia can often be cured by learning how to better manage stress and other negative outside influences. In addition, regular exercise and changes in diet can also be of help. A peaceful and healthy night’s rest can be yours if you take the time to learn more about the circumstances which are preventing you from sleeping well.

    Here are a few helpful insomnia cures for you to try:

    • Warm baths are a great way to relax your body. Don’t stay in the water too long, however. When you feel yourself relaxing, it’s probably time to dry off and head for bed.

    • A massage just before going to sleep can be a great way to help you relax and sleep better. Ask your spouse or significant other to massage your neck, shoulders and back before bed.

    • Soft and soothing music may help lull you to sleep. There are many insomnia CD’s available online. They offer a combination of music, voice and other soothing sounds.

    • A glass of warm milk fifteen minutes before going to bed works wonders on your nervous system. This is a tried-and-true cure for insomnia that has worked for hundreds of years.

    • If you don’t like milk, try hot camomile, catnip, anise or fennel tea instead. All of these contain natural ingredients which help you fall asleep. Most health food stores or nutrition websites will also have special herbal tea blends to soothe your nerves and support better sleep.

    • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and tobacco during your waking hours. All of these tend to stimulate the brain and body, which has a negative effect on sleep.

    • Get regular physical exercise during the day. Some form of physical exertion will help balance your metabolism and allow sleep to come more easily.

    • Make sure you sleep in a well-ventilated room. Fresh air will do wonders for the quality of your sleep!

    • Keep a regular sleep schedule, night after night. Going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning teaches your body and your brain when to sleep and when to be awake.

    • Avoid taking naps during the day. Napping messes with your body’s sleep clock – try to stay awake all day and then go to bed at your regularly scheduled time.

    Hopefully the above insomnia tips will help you to fall asleep sooner and sleep better throughout the night. A restful night’s sleep is one of the most important things we can do to maintain our health. Making sleep a priority is a big step toward curing your insomnia.

    (published December 23, 2010)