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Tired of Counting Sheep? Try These Insomnia Remedies

march 30 featured image.jpgYOU MAY BE SURPRISED to learn that sleep is almost as important as water for survival. We all need to spend about a third of our time getting
shuteye, but adults in particular have a hard time achieving it. If you suffer from insomnia, you do not have to lie awake every night. These tips will help you put away the sheep and get back on track.

What Is Insomnia?

Insomnia is pretty simple to understand. It concerns the inability to get enough sleep. Insomnia may involve difficulty getting to sleep, trouble staying asleep, or complications related to getting good quality sleep. About 60 million Americans cope with insomnia each year, although most of them struggle with it on an occasional basis. A shocking 10 percent of people cope with it at least three times a week every week, as a chronic condition. Many issues could cause insomnia, such as stress at work or home, diet, insufficient exercise, other chronic health problems or side effects of medications.

Insomnia Symptoms

It may seem like insomnia would be really easy to identify, but it’s not so simple. Sleep experts recommend that adults get 7-8 hours of sleep a night, but everyone’s needs are unique. Some adults who consistently get six hours of sleep feel well-rested when they wake up. Others may rise feeling sluggish after 8.5-9 hours. Common symptoms include:

    • afternoon sleepiness
    • difficulty waking quickly
    • dependence on caffeinated beverages
    • trouble concentrating
    • poor performance at work or school

tired man with insomniaConsistent patterns of insomnia may affect your ability to function throughout the day. If you feel like the Sandman is trolling you, it is time to seek treatment.

Insomnia Treatment

Although the causes of insomnia have a wide range of possibilities, the treatments overlap a great deal. A lot of the problem is psychological, meaning that you have to overcome the sense that you cannot sleep before you will be able to sleep.

For more serious or chronic cases of insomnia, experts suggest cognitive-based therapy (CBT) exercises to help sufferers retrain their brains for sleep. For anyone who deals with insomnia, it is best to establish a good sleep routine and solid sleep hygiene. Prepare to go to sleep at the same time each night and rise at the same time each morning. Eliminate distractions from your bedroom.

Natural Remedies for Insomnia

When you sit awake until 3 a.m. many nights, it can be really tempting to just ask your doctor for a prescription for a sleep aid, such as Ambien. Nighttime binge-eating and sleepy shenanigans aside, medications for sleep should be viewed as a last resort. Drugs that put you to sleep have a strong risk of dependence, meaning that your body starts to require them for sleep.

If improving the your sleep environment, such as the noise level, lighting and comfort of your sleep space, doesn’t make a big difference, try some natural remedies. Melatonin, the sleep hormone, may help your body understand that it is time for rest. However, you should plan to take it on a short-term basis only. Natural remedies like melatonin are largely unregulated, and may have side effects like drowsiness or sluggishness when you wake. If you find that nothing you try seems to be making a difference, ask your doctor for additional recommendations, including a referral to a sleep clinic for help.

Insomnia can be a vicious cycle that pulls you in every night, if you do not fight back. These treatments are intended to help you return to a sleep schedule that gives you the energy you need to get through the day. That way, you will never sit and daydream of coffee in an IV.

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