Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is characterized by difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep. People with insomnia may have difficulty falling asleep, some wake up often during the night and find it challenging to fall back to sleep, they may wake up too early in the morning and most feel fatigued upon waking.

There are two types of insomnia: primary insomnia and secondary insomnia. Primary insomnia means that a persons sleep problems are not associated with any other health conditions. Secondary insomnia comes from something else, usually a health condition like asthma, depression, arthritis, or cancer. Secondary insomnia can also occur because of pain, medication, or a substance like alcohol.

Insomnia may last a long or short period of time and varies in how often it occurs. If your insomnia only occurs for a short time it is considered acute insomnia. Insomnia can last a long period of time in some individuals, which is chronic insomnia. People that suffer from chronic insomnia experience the symptoms at least three nights a week for a month or longer. Insomnia will come and go in certain individuals, with periods of time where a person experiences no symptoms.

Treating insomnia may require a visit to the physician for a sleeping medication or it may just call for a change in your sleep habits. For starters, you want to keep your bedroom free of clutter and distractions. Make sure you are sleeping on the correct mattress for you needs and sleep style. Use your bed only for sleeping; keep the computer out, leave the television off, and only read pleasure books.

Try to establish a regular sleep-wake cycle. Get up at the same time every morning (including weekends) and go to bed at the same time every night. Do not take naps during the day, as it will make it challenging to fall asleep at night. If you can’t get to sleep in the first half of an hour in bed, go do something else outside of the bedroom, then try again.

Limit your consumption of caffeine and alcoholic beverages. Remember, caffeine is in chocolate and tea, not just coffee and soda. Cigarette smoking can worsen insomnia. Do not work out right before bedtime; try to get your exercise in at least three hours before its time to go to bed, as you may be overly stimulated otherwise. Be sure to establish a wind down period in the evenings just before bed and we hope you begin to sleep better.