Insomnia is a common complaint characterized by having trouble with how much or how well you sleep. You might go to bed at the usual time, but instead of getting sleep, you find yourself thinking a lot of things or tossing and turning. Some complain of recurrent periods of wakefulness or repetitive early morning awakenings.
Insomnia is not defined by the number of hours sleep you get or how long it takes you to get to sleep. Each person’s sleep needs differ, and if those needs are not met, a number of problems may arise.
Insomnia sufferers usually awaken feeling unrefreshed and they feel tired during the day. Inadequate sleep can lead to mood changes, lack of motivation, decreased attention span, trouble with concentration and increased fatigue. Insomnia may take a toll on your work performance as well as quality of life.
Insomnia can vary in severity and duration. It may last a few nights for some people, while others may struggle with insomnia for several months or years. According to the National Center for Sleep Disorders Research at the National Institutes of Health, about 30-40% of adults report some symptoms of insomnia within a given year, and about 10-15 percent of them say that they suffer from long-term or chronic insomnia.
Being deprived of sleep may affect your physical and mental functions, hence insomnia must be approached as any health challenge. If you're among the millions who suffer from insomnia, you need to know that there are various ways to counteract it. Increasing your awareness on the basic facts about insomnia is an important step towards rejuvenating your health.
Insomnia may occur in several forms. Identifying which type of insomnia you’re suffering from will help your health care provider determine which treatment options would suit you best.
Lee-Chiong, T. 2008 Sleep Medicine: Essentials and Review. Oxford University Press.
National Blood and Lung Institute. 2009. Sleep Disorders: Insomnia (Online)
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/inso/inso_whatis.html accessed 10.23.09
Morin, C. 2000. The Nature of Insomnia ans the Need to Refine our Diagnostic criteria. Psychosomatic Medicine (Online)
http://www.psychosomaticmedicine.org/cgi/content/full/62/4/483 accessed 10.22.09
National Sleep Foundation. 2005. Can't Sleep? What to Know About Insomnia (Online)
http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-related-problems/insomnia-and-sleep accessed 10.22.09
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