Insomnia - Getting The Help You NeedWritten by Donald Saunders
Experiencing an occasional sleepless night every now and again is normal and transient insomnia affects all of us from time to time, especially when we are under personal or professional stress, or our schedule changes significantly as a result of jet lag or shift work. But prolonged insomnia, lasting for perhaps six months or more, is another story.
If you have been unable to sleep every night, or most nights, for an extended period, then you may well suffer from serious insomnia.
If left untreated, such chronic insomnia can lead to a variety of significantly more serious conditions, including headaches, high blood pressure and even an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. What’s more, sleep disorders such as this can cause a loss of mental clarity and difficulty in concentrating. Insomnia and related sleep problems have also been linked to depression and other serious psychological and emotional problems.
Fortunately, addressing problem, and getting help you need for a better night’s sleep, can prove relatively straightforward. Whether you suffer from initial insomnia (trouble falling asleep), middle insomnia (difficulty staying asleep), or late insomnia (waking up too early), a process of simple adjustments to your daily routine, exercise, diet and sleep schedule will gradually result in a new pattern of healthful and fulfilling sleep.
A variety of natural sleep remedies (herbs, vitamins and minerals), when used appropriately, can prove an extremely effective tool in overcoming insomnia and generating a better night’s sleep. In fact, a few notable herbs and natural remedies have been medically recognized as natural equivalent of several well-known artificial sleep aids and sleeping pills, and have been lauded for their effectiveness.
If you still find yourself struggling, even after making basic lifestyle changes and using proven natural remedies for insomnia (not to mention allowing an appropriate amount of time for these changes to take effect), you do need to seek advice of a doctor. In this case, you could be suffering from more severe insomnia or a related sleep disorder like sleep apnea, narcolepsy or restless legs syndrome, all of which require guidance of a medical professional.
The following questionnaire will help you determine your level of insomnia. Simply answer “true” (T) or “false” (F) to each question:
Narcolepsy - The Management of a Common Sleep DisorderWritten by Donald Saunders
Narcolepsy, a chronic and commonly diagnosed sleep disorder, affects over a quarter of a million Americans each year (approximately one person in every two thousand). Characterized by body's inability to properly regulate sleep, narcolepsy's most obvious symptoms can include cataplexy (involuntary loss of muscle control), "automatic" behaviors (performing regular, mundane tasks by rote), hallucinations and paralysis during sleep.
However, narcolepsy is most commonly associated with onset of "mini sleeps" or "sleep attacks" during day. These narcoleptic episodes (often referred to as EDS or excessive daytime sleepiness) occur when individual is suddenly overcome by urge to sleep. The resulting state of narcolepsis can pass within a few seconds or it can last for more than half an hour.
Relatively recent medical research identifies narcolepsy as a genetically based sleep regulation disorder that usually emerges during middle and late teenage years. However, strong evidence also suggests that some forms of condition can be caused by head trauma or brain injury. Regardless of cause, because characteristics of narcolepsy can also be symptomatic of other, similar sleep disorders, a thorough medical evaluation (often including a variety of overnight sleep tests) is required for a correct diagnosis.
Although scientists continue to close in on genes connected with onset of narcolepsy, treatments for narcoleptics still vary widely. Common treatments include use of approved prescription drugs, such as modafinil and selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors like fluoxitine and sertroline, to treat excessive daytime sleepiness.
In large part however management of narcolepsy depends upon what appears most effective for individual, and because no cure exists at this time, available treatments primarily address sleep disorder's symptoms.