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Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep? Insomnia is a sleep disorder that has been found to affect millions of individuals worldwide. In fact, about 30 to 40% of Americans every year share that they have experiences insomnia. It is often easy to tell someone who has shared they cannot sleep at night to just take some medication or just fall asleep however, people who have insomnia cannot fall asleep even if given the opportunity or if they are immensely tired. If you experience insomnia a day or two there’s not to much to worry about however, if it is constant and continues to happen for a couple of days, it is strongly recommended to see a doctor.

Now, what causes insomnia?

Often, it is common to find that there is another medical condition that is causing the insomnia however, other factors that influence such disorder can be any disruptions in the circadian rhythm, psychological issues, hormones, or other factors such as sleeping with a snoring partner, genetic conditions or pregnancy, for example. Environmental noise, job shift changes, bipolar disorder, depression, psychotic disorder, anxiety disorder, chronic pain, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, or estrogen have shown to influence such disorder as well.

How long can insomnia last?

Acute Insomnia:

Such insomnia is often brief and is caused by life circumstances. For example, an individual may experience acute insomnia when they are too worried or stressed on a given mind because they have a final the next day or after receiving some bad news. This type of insomnia tends to be short and it tends to resolve without the need of going into treatment.

Chronic Insomnia:

In this case, individuals experience sleep disturbances for at least three nights a week and may often last up to three months. With chronic insomnia, it is recommended for individuals to seek therapy and may be cause by environmental factors or other medical conditions, for example.

What are the symptoms?

  • Trouble falling & staying asleep at night
  • Constant wakening during the night
  • Irritability, depression, or anxiety
  • Have a hard time socializing
  • Excessive worry about being able to sleep
  • Daytime fatigue or sleepiness
  • Low energy 7 difficulty concentrating
  • Decreased performance in daily life activities

Insomnia Facts:

  • Most common sleep disorder in the United States
  • Increased prevalence rate in women and older adults

How can insomnia be treated?

There are non-medical treatments such as:

  • Relaxation training (teaches individuals different techniques to relax all muscles from different areas of the body)
    • Breathing exercises
    • Mindfulness
    • Meditation techniques
    • Guided imagery
  • Stimulus control (build association between bedroom and sleep)
    • For example, going into the bedroom only when feeling sleepy
  • Sleep restriction
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
    • Maintain a bedtime & eliminating afternoon naps, for example

Medical Treatments include:

  • Benzodiazepine hypnotics
  • Non-benzodiazepine hypnotics
  • Melatonin receptor agonists

How can I battle my insomnia?

  • Make sure your bedroom is dark, cool, and quiet
  • Maintain & stick to a sleep schedule
  • Turn off all screens at least an hour before your bedtime
  • Avoid stressful situations before your bedtime
  • Avoid naps, drinking too many liquids, alcohol, big evening meals, and caffeine before bedtime