Most of us would say we’d like to get more rest in a typical week. But for nearly one out of three people, insomnia – an interruption in the circadian rhythm of sleeping and wakefulness every 24 hours – is a very real problem each year. According to WebMD, women suffer from insomnia twice as often as men, and these problems increase as we age.
There are three categories of insomnia. Transient insomnia is a relatively brief experience of sleep disturbance often associated with travel or relocation. Short-term insomnia may last two to three weeks and may be the result of worry or stress. Chronic, prolonged insomnia may suppress the body’s immune system and make us more succeptible to disease.
About 50 percent of insomnia cases relate to psychological factors. Depression, anxiety disorders and poorly-managed stress may result in insomnia. Physical conditions such as restless leg syndrome, chronic pain, and menopause also have caused debilitating sleep disturbance. Personal lifestyle choices – such as overconsumption of caffeine, sedentary behavior, or an erratic social schedule – may contribute to insomnia.
One should always consult a physician when dealing with sleep challenges. Medications may be prescribed to help patients return to a regular pattern of rest. Meanwhile, many patients respond well to psychotherapy, relaxation training, regular exercise, and dietary changes. Ensuring proper “sleep hygiene” also is an important step in preventing insomnia. Experts recommend keeping your bedroom dark, limiting mental stimulation right before bedtime, and keeping the room free of televisions, computers, and phones.
Our Counselors are always available for consultation regarding healthy sleep habits and other mental health issues.