Can’t sleep? Perhaps you’ve tried counting sheep or drinking a glass of warm milk to fall asleep. Or, maybe, you’ve taken over-the-counter supplements that promise you a good night’s sleep. If none of these remedies helped you sleep, consulting with a sleep specialist at Fairview Sleep Centers may provide some answers.
Symptoms of insomnia
- difficulty falling asleep
- difficulty staying asleep
- interrupted or broken sleep
- diminished daytime functioning
Is insomnia normal?
Having occasional insomnia is normal, but your insomnia might be abnormal if it occurs on a regular basis, or if it makes you so sleepy during the day that it prevents you from completing your normal routines and activities. This can place you at increased risk of depression and anxiety, which, if not addressed, can lead to other health problems. About 10 percent of the population has this type of insomnia.
What causes insomnia?
Possible causes for insomnia include “biological clock” problems, such as menopause, problems with circadian rhythms (Your body has its days and nights mixed up.), obstructive sleep apnea (Your airway collapses and momentarily stops breathing.), restless leg syndrome (RLS) and other medical and behavioral illnesses.
Self-help for insomnia
Sometimes simple changes in your daily sleep habits can relieve your insomnia. You may find some of these practical pointers helpful:
- avoid going to bed until you are drowsy, and get up at the same time
- limit napping
- avoid exercising in the late evening
- limit caffeine, especially after noon
- be sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and well ventilated
- limit fluids before bedtime
- avoid alcohol prior to sleep
- keep a sleep diary including:
- weekend vs. week day patterns
- do you have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep?
- keep a journal to document your worries
- remove your clock from the bedroom
How does insomnia develop?
- anxiety and/or depression
- changes in routine that throw our waking lives and sleep out of balance
- too much time in bed
- using naps and stimulants to counter sleep loss
- sleep aids
- counter-productive beliefs and attitudes
Treatments for insomnia
Treatment for insomnia can include medications, light therapy, behavioral changes and/or referral to a sleep specialist. Fairview has sleep centers throughout the metro area, staffed by sleep specialists who can diagnose and help you.
What Is Insomnia?