A complex but common sleep problem, Insomnia treatments vary and the cause effects far more people than you would think. Insomnia is defined as a difficulty in either getting to sleep, staying asleep throughout the night or both. At some point in their lives, everyone has found it difficult to fall asleep but when the condition persists and is considered chronic, serious problems can happen.
Fatigue is a major cause of accidents and impaired efficiency. Suffers of Insomnia can find themselves more prone to infection, irritable and less able to deal with the demands of day to day life.
Statistics suggest that as many as one in three of us will have experienced insomnia in the previous year, and as many as one in ten of us will experience the chronic form.
Typical causes include stress and anxiety, physical pain, medication, the overuse of such stimulants as alcohol, tobacco and nicotine, depression and noise. Shift work can disrupt natural biorhythms, and some medicines may have similar side-effects.
There is no misery quite like the misery of tossing and turning in your bed in the small hours of the morning. Sufferers can do a number of things to help themselves. Examples include :
- Training your body by going to sleep and getting up at a regular time
- Ensuring that your bedroom is dark, quiet and comfortable
- Avoiding stimulants close to bedtime, and overindulgence in food and drink
- Taking a milky drink or herbal tea made from such substances as valerian or camomile. The latter are also available in tablet or capsule form.
- Making an effort to relax through visualisation, breathing exercises or meditation
- Clearly identifying the real cause of the sleeping difficulty - advice or counselling may help
Medication is available but this best reserved for the short-term treatment of insomniac episodes triggered by such genuine life crises as bereavement or depression.