Insomnia, often referred to as a sleeping difficulty, restlessness or sleeplessness, is a sleep disorder. Insomnia happens when a person has one or more of the following symptoms:
- Trouble falling asleep, no matter how tired a person is
- Falls asleep but wakes up often
- Feels like he or she has not slept during the night
- Feels tired during the daytime
- Has unexplained bouts or fatigue
- Has a loss of concentration
- Experiences headaches; mild or severe
- Feels irritable or edgy
- Lacks motivation
According to statistics, approximately 30 million Americans experience insomnia. Approximately 51% of Americans experience insomnia because of stress or anxiety. (2008. Insomnia Statistics..these numbers might surprise you.)
Sometimes, there is no explanation as to why people get insomnia. Insomnia can occur in anyones life at any time. Sometimes, there are specific causes for insomnia. More than often, there are causes, but some people cannot figure out why they have insomnia.
Ultimately, there are ways to find out why insomnia has occurred, and there are ways to deal with this sleep disorder and cure it. Also, there are methods one can use to make sure the insomnia does not return.
Certain factors can be risks and cause a person to acquire a sleep order like insomnia. Certain types of medications, various environmental aspects, physical or emotional issues, vital events in life that can cause additional stress and other risk factors can bring on insomnia.
Medications that can cause insomnia are:
- Blood pressure pills
- Cold and allergy medications
- Asthma medications
Various Environmental Aspects:
- Noisy places or work environments
- Bright lighting, too much sun, some fluorescent lighting
- Tremendous changes in temperatures: cold or hot
Physical or emotional issues:
- Physical aches and pains
- Diabetes: fluctuations in glucose levels
Vital Events in Life that can additional extra Stress:
Diversity with work such aslosing a job, starting a new job, getting a promotion, losing pay, or anything else that happens with work that can add extra stress to a persons life
Changes at home with the family like divorce, separation, death, accidents, disabilities, relocating, and other family related happenings that affect how a person feels
As stated earlier, there is not always a logical explanation as to why a person gets insomnia. A person could be excited about something new in his or her life, or a person could be looking forward to an upcoming event and insomnia occurs pursuant to being excited or anxious about these events.
Test and diagnosis considerations:
When a person believes he or she has insomnia, a doctor can confirm this sleep disorder with a few basic exams and evaluations:
- A physical exam
- Review the patients medical history
- Evaluate a patients sleep patterns
Most doctors will ask a patient to keep a written record of sleep patterns for one to two weeks. This sleep pattern documentation is often referred to as a sleep diary. In this diary, a person will keep track of how he or she sleeps each time sleep is attempted, and he or she will keep a record of how he or she feels each day.
Sometimes, the patient might be asked if it is okay for the doctor to speak with his or her sleep mate, so that the doctor can get a better idea of what is happening with the patients sleep patterns and life.
Generally, doctors will advise a patient to try medically related options used as cures & remedies for insomnia, but a person is more than welcome to try herbal and home remedies if he or she wants to.
Different cultures use other methods when seeking cures & remedies for insomnia. Some of the cures & remedies for insomnia might be the same or quite similar and some of the methods used to cure insomnia might be a lot different. Each culture will try its own remedy to cure insomnia and there are many great options available to sufferers of insomnia nowadays.
Common Treatment Options
Herbal and Home Remedies
Chamomile tea is often used to help a person to fall asleep naturally and sleep all night. Chamomile is not only for bedtime. A person can drink this tea during the daytime, too, and the tea helps a person to relax. Chamomile tea is inexpensive and does not have any side effects.
Melatonin is a medication that a person can purchase without having a prescription. Melatonin is a natural sleep aid and is taken at least one to two hours before a persons scheduled bedtime. This medication is not addictive and is used by many people to help them get a good nights sleep, continuously. Melatonin costs approximately $12.00 per bottle. Since this natural medication is non-addictive, there are no known side effects with this medication.
Melatonin is a natural component that the body creates. Melatonin levels are affected by artificial lighting in rooms during the daytime. When a person sleeps at night, melatonin levels will normally remain at the levels they are supposed to. For those who sleep during the daytime because they work at night, melatonin levels will be irregular.
Melatonin is normally created by the body during the hours between 2 A.M. and 4 A.M. When people grow older, the body does not produce as much melatonin as it did when they were young children.
The pill form of melatonin has been proven to be very effective in assisting people with sleeping. Some people might feel a bit groggy the next morning. As with any medication, it is always a good idea to text the new medicine out and be cautious when operating any machinery and when driving an automobile, for the first few days. Even if a person does not feel groggy the next morning, he or she should keep in mind that some medications might affect the reflexes.
Statistics show that feeling groggy or have less control over reflexes is not seen in people who take melatonin. However; each person is different and some medications can do the opposite to people than what the medication says it will. For instance, some people might take a medication that has been invented to help a person sleep, and it might give them more energy instead.
These reactions to medications, herbs, and other sleep aids are rare.
Ambien is a popular name for a sleep aid that is a non-narcotic medication. This pharmaceutical medication has been invented to help a person fall asleep and to remain sleeping all through the night. People should be cautious while driving and while operating any machinery when they are using this medication as a cure or remedy for insomnia.
When a person uses Ambien, it should be taken at least one hour before a planned bedtime, and a person should plan on sleeping at least 8 hours. Also, a person should try not to head out of the house for a little while after waking up. This medication needs to have time to process through the body and will last for 8-10 hours. When a person has depression, Ambien can cause the depression to be worse.
Ambien has a few side effects that can occur:
- Trouble with memory
- Slight change in personality: A person can become aggressive or more ambitious
Some allergic reactions that can occur are:
- Breathing troubles
- Tongue swelling
- Throat swelling
These side effects are rare but can be fatal. Whenever a person reacts to a medicine that does not feel right, it is highly recommended that he or she seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Mild side effects are:
- Morning grogginess
- Feeling dizzy
- Mild headaches
These side effects are rare and occur with short term use of this medication. Ambien is usually only prescribed for 7-10 days, to begin with, and then it can be used longer if necessary. Even though it is in a non-narcotic remedy, it can be addictive. Any medication can be addictive, even if it is made from natural components. Ambien costs approximately $170.00 for 30-10 mg tablets.
When it comes to pharmaceutical cures & remedies for insomnia, there is a wide selection to choose from nowadays. Somabien, Ambitropin, SomnaSlumber, Lunexor, Ambiplex, RestAid, AmbeSleep, Ambiatol, Sleep Aid Oil, and Sleep MD are the top ten pharmaceutical sleep aids listed as being effective with helping people to sleep better. The price range for these ten medications is around $16.00-80.00.
Sometimes, people will need surgery for medical conditions that are causing them pain, which is causing them insomnia. Also, a lot of people suffer from insomnia after having surgery. As mentioned here, there is a wide variety of options, pharmaceutical, herbal, non-addictive and psychological methods that can be used as cures & remedies for insomnia.
If a person has a disorder like restless leg syndrome, he or she might need to have surgery for a condition, and doctors generally offer sleeping pills and/or pain pills to patients after surgeries.
If a person wants to use non-addictive methods so that he or she does not become addicted to sleeping pills or pain pills, he or she can try some of these methods or seek therapy and ask a doctor about other alternatives.
Other Methods of Treatment
Valerian is a widely known medication that other cultures have used and have found effective in aiding with sleep. Valerian can be used in traditional environments as well. This treatment is considered to be an herbal supplement.
It is advised that a person asks his or her doctor before using this remedy for insomnia. A doctor that has specialized in herbal medicine is more suitable to consult with.
Some other names used for Valerian are Valeriana officinalis, radix valerianae, Indian valerian, red valerian, and vandal root.
Valerian has not been evaluated by the FDA. This herbal medication has been used to treat a variety of disorders or medical conditions.
People who suffer from insomnia, anxiety, headaches and abdominal pain, menopause and other medical or emotional conditions have used Valerian and have seen improvements as a result.
Some side effects when taking Valerian for a long period of time are:
- Hyper activity
- Pupils dilating
- Heartbeats becoming irregular or other problems with the heart
As with all medications, it is good to ask a doctor before using new medications, especially if a person is already taken prescription drugs or using any other form of herbals cures & remedies for insomnia or other conditions. The average price for Valerian is approximately $22.00.
Additional Remedy Options
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a very popular psychological remedy that has been used to treat insomnia. Studies show that it has been very effective for people who have had emotional upsets that are the underlying reason for the insomnia. This treatment is usually one of the first ones that doctors suggest to patients as a treatment for insomnia.
Many people balk at the idea of going to therapy. People want quick fixes for insomnia, but cognitive behavioral therapy has proven itself over the years and people who tried it did begin to sleep better and form healthier sleep patterns.
Medicine and science have both tried to adapt a program that involved cognitive behavioral therapy and a medication as cures & remedies for insomnia, but there are no statistics that will show how well the combination works. There are statistics, though, that prove that long term cognitive behavioral therapy has been effective and lasts indefinitely.
Choosing the Right Option
Sometimes the quick fixes are not always the best choice. The quick fixes will work right then and there, but a person cannot take some medications forever, and when a person does use a quick fix medication, natural herb or other remedy for insomnia, and they stop taking it or doing that treatment, often times, the insomnia returns again.
Cognitive behavioral therapy could take a little longer to work, but it is a therapy and treatment that will work for a long period of time.
- Always strive to improve sleep habits and create healthy habits for sleeping
- Avoid napping on the bed or in other areas where you sleep at bedtime: napping on a sofa or in a lounger is better, as the bed is for bedtime
- Obtain a regular schedule for sleeping and stick with it
- Try to get up at the same time each day, even on days off
- Improve the environment of the home or office: oil burners with relaxing scents, new paint on walls, and so forth
- Keep a diary or write poems
- Make the bedroom as comfortable and quiet as possible and alleviate light from entering the bedroom
- Keep the home at 68-70 degrees while sleeping: 60 degrees is good, too. People sleep a lot better when it is cooler and it is healthier.
- After attempting sleep for a half an hour or so, get up and walk around or watch some TV for a bit and try to sleep again
- During enough water or other clear liquids during the daytime, do not drink or eat after 7 P.M., and try exercising for at least 30 minutes per day, but not too close to bedtime, as energy breeds energy
- Eat healthier meals and on a regular schedule
- Talk about problems or write about them when they arise
When people have insomnia, it can be mild or chronic, lasting a short time or for a long period of time. It is recommended that a person consult with a doctor to get confirmation for his or her insomnia diagnosis and before trying any medications or herbal and home remedies to cure insomnia. A doctor might prescribe other remedies for insomnia, too, like surgery or cognitive behavioral therapy.
Some medications should not be used for long periods of time, whether they are non-prescription or prescription, especially if they do not seem to help the sleep disorder, or if they only work once in a while. No one needs to suffer with insomnia and not find a cure or remedy, as there are a variety of options for everyone and something will work. Each person is different, so what works for one might not work for another.
Insomnia can be treated with a variety of herbal medicines, prescription medicines, therapy or other alternatives, and insomnia can be prevented. No matter what is happening in life or why insomnia occurs, there are several options and tools for people to treat this sleep disorder and to overcome it.