Constant tossing and turning. Thoughts racing. Eyes that won't seem
to stay shut. If this struggle for sleep sounds like your or a family
member's nightly routine, you or your loved one may have insomnia. The
good news: Some simple modifications to the way you or a loved one
prepares for bed may help you find the repose you or your family member
Insomnia can be acute or chronic, but both types are defined by
individuals' inability to fall or stay asleep. While acute insomnia is
typically caused by events or tensions that fade over time-thereby
causing insomnia to cease-chronic insomnia results from long-term,
underlying causes, such as depression, heartburn or sleep apnea.
If you suspect you or a family member has insomnia, make an
appointment to see your family's primary care provider (PCP) in two
weeks. During this two-week period, keep a sleep journal noting when you
or your loved one falls asleep and wakes up, the quality of your or
your loved one's sleep, and what you or your loved one does before bed.
After your PCP evaluates the sleep journal, he or she may refer you or
your family member to a sleep specialist for further investigation or to
a psychiatrist for cognitive behavioral therapy. Your family's PCP also
may recommend changes to your or your family member's bedtime routine
(See "Natural Solutions to Sleepless Nights."). By changing the way you
or your family member approaches falling asleep, you or your loved one
may open the door to a future of refreshed sleep.
Natural Solutions to Sleepless Nights
Many people find relief from insomnia not at a pharmacy or in a
physician's office, but in the changes they make to their sleep hygiene.
To help log enough sleep per night, try taking some of the following
Article courtesy of My Health Publisher.
- Adjust the thermostat in your home at night to ensure your or your
family member's bedroom is at a comfortable temperature for sleep.
- Become a bedtime creature of habit. If you or your family member
enjoys reading a chapter of a novel before bed, do so every night, and
soon you or your loved one will associate the routine with sleep. Go to
bed and wake up at the same times every day when possible.
- Purge bedrooms of technology-such as the TV and cell phones-to make it a quiet, dark sanctuary for sleep.
- When evening arrives, cut out caffeine, large meals and multiple glasses of water.