Sunday, April 29, 2007

Insomnia or Sleep Deprivation

Insomnia is mainly associated with people who cannot sleep at all, however there are many types of Insomnia which prevent people from sleeping. Types of insomnia include; inability to sleep through the night, difficulty in falling asleep,waking early in the morning & being unable to sleep again & more commonly lack of quality sleep.

On average adults require between 7-8 hours of sleep per night, however this figure can vary from person to person. As people get older they may tend to require less sleep at night but then nap during the day. Young babies spend most of their day asleep whilst school age children require about 10 hours sleep per night.

Insomnia has many symtoms including: Lying awake a long time before falling asleep. Waking up several times during the night. Awaking early in the morning and then not being able to fall asleep again. Feeling tired & un-revitalised. Feeling irritable during the day. Inability to concentrate or function correctly during the day.

Insomnia may result from many factors including: Drug Use - Withdrawal from certain drugs can lead to insomnia, such as hypnotics -prescribed for short term insomnia, alcohol, antidepressants, diet pills, beta blockers & corticosteroids. Psychiatric Problems - Stress, depression, dementia or anxiety can lead to insomnia.

Physological Problems - Your environment may cause insomnia, noise, light, jet lag, snoring or movement by a partner & physical activity before bedtime ( sports or reading ). Physical Problems - Insomnia may be caused by physical conditions such as; headache, arthritis, hot flushes & parkinson disease. In treating insomnia drugs should only be used as a last resort as they have side effects & can be addictive.

The first cause of action in treating insomnia should be to eliminate any underlying causes. Steps you can take to eliminate these causes are: Restricting your intake of caffeine, alcohol & Nicotine. Taking regular exercise during the day. Keeping a good sleep environment - quiet & not too light. Educating yourself about sleep & relaxation.

Counselling - Talking to a professional may help you to get to the underlying causes of your insomnia. Preventative action you can take to stop insomnia occouring include: Do not eat a big meal before going to bed. If noise is a problem wear ear plugs. If you cannot sleep, get up and occupy yourself for a short time & then try again. Try not to nap during the day. Keep to a routine before bedtime so that you create a mindset for sleep.