Friday, February 7, 2014

Dealing with Chronic Insomnia

by C. Markus
Insomnia can be a debilitating disorder. The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute says that insomnia makes it hard to fall asleep, stay asleep, or both.1
According to the Harvard Medical School, there are three types of insomnia:transient, which lasts less than a month; short-term, which lasts 1-6 months; and chronic, which lasts longer than 6 months.2
The Mayo Clinic says the causes of insomnia can include stress, a mental health disorder, changing work shifts, travel, age, or female hormones.3
The Harvard Medical Center comes to much the same conclusion, linking insomnia to psychological causes and saying that chronic insomnia is usually learned through conditioning. 4
If you suffer from chronic insomnia, the best thing to do is recondition yourself to associate your bed with sleep and sleep only.
Use these simple tips from the Mayo Clinic to help overcome chronic insomnia:5
  • Use your bed for sleeping only; this will lead you to associate your room with sleep and only sleep, helping you fall asleep quicker.
  • Go to bed only if you are tired; if you do not feel sleepy, you will have a harder time falling asleep.
  • Wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day, and try to avoid napping as much as possible.
  • Limit your caffeine intake throughout the day, which can go a long way in helping you sleep easier.
  • Make sure your room is dark by blocking out any lights, and maybe even invest in blackout curtains.

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  1. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, “What Is Insomnia,” U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
  2. Havard Mental Health Letter, “Overcoming Insomnia,” Harvard Medical School.
  3. Mayo Clinic Staff, “Insomnia: Risk Factors,” Mayo Clinic.
  4. Havard Mental Health Letter, “Overcoming Insomnia.
  5. Mayo Clinic Staff, “Lifestyle and Home Remedies,” Mayo Clinic.