Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Know Insomnia Better

Insomnia is the inability to sleep, or to sleep satisfactorily, and is the most common sleep disorder. It may involve restless or interrupted sleep, a reduction in the usual time you spend sleeping or, in rare cases, complete wakefulness. Insomnia is a symptom rather than an illness in itself: in the majority of cases, sleeplessness has an underlying cause.

Insomnia may be caused by the following :

Emotional distress, especially from internalised anger or anxiety.
Overusing substances such as caffeine (in coffee, colas and some "energy drinks" like Red Bull), nicotine, certain medications and herbal remedies, and alcohol.

Disturbances in your body clock or circadian rhythm. This may be the result of an irregular sleep schedule.

Environmental factors - such as noise, extreme temperatures, bright lights and sleeping in unfamiliar surroundings - can cause transient and intermittent insomnia.

Medical conditions. Many illnesses, such as ulcers, depression, diabetes, kidney disease, heart failure, Parkinson's disease and hyperthyroidism, may lead to chronic insomnia.

Eating large meals close to bedtime.

Vigorous exercise close to bedtime.


Many sleep problems can be overcome by simple, commonsense measures :

Cut down on late-night snacks and late-evening heavy dinners. Some experts recommend that you should not eat at least three hours before bedtime.

Exercise. Even moderate exercise helps control stress and releases natural stimulants, decreasing the need for external stimulants such as caffeine. An exercise routine should help regulate your sleep cycles and make you feel sleepier in the late evening. However, avoid exercising vigorously too close to bedtime.

Don't use your bedroom, even less your bed, as a place for activities other than sleep and intimacy. Get into bed when you are ready to sleep and leave it when you wake, to avoid sending your body conflicting cues about sleep and waking life. If you wake up in the middle of the night and can't fall asleep within half an hour, get up and rest or read in a comfortable chair until you become sleepy. Establish a bedtime ritual of cues for going to sleep. These could include having a bath or drinking a glass of warm milk (milk contains an amino acid that is converted into a sleep-enhancing compound in the brain).

Cut down on daytime napping if it starts to affect your regular sleep patterns. Avoid napping within seven or eight hours of bedtime.

Avoid alcohol in the late evening.

If your insomnia persists, keep a diary of your sleep history. This may be helpful later in diagnosing an underlying cause.


Transient and intermittent insomnias may resolve on their own if they are due to a temporary disruption in your sleep schedule. However, if the insomnia is caused by a particularly stressful situation or pain from some physical condition; or if daily efficiency and quality of life are seriously impaired by sleeplessness, your doctor may prescribe short-acting sleeping pills. Anyone taking sleeping pills should be closely supervised to evaluate the drug's effectiveness and side effects. Take the lowest dose necessary to relieve your symptoms.

Source: www.health24.com

2 comments:

Eucalyptus said...

Can't sleep? Just eat honey. We can use honey as a tranquilizer & sedative for insomnia.

Eucalyptus said...

Can't sleep? Use honey as a tranquilizer & sedative for insomnia. Just try it.

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