A little less than half of the United States population has a sleeping disorder. There are numerous types of sleeping disorders. The two most common are sleep apnea and insomnia. Up to half of the population suffers from insomnia and approximately 18 million people suffer from sleep apnea. One of the least common is narcolepsy. About 200,000 people suffer from that disorder. (SleepNet, 2004)
Insomnia is the most common sleeping disorder in the United States. The dictionary defines insomnia as a condition in which a person regularly experiences an inability to fall asleep, to stay asleep, or to feel adequately rested by sleep.(Websters, 1994) There are three different forms of insomnia. Transient insomnia only lasts for a few days. A couple causes for transient insomnia are jetlag or stress. Short-term insomnia is the second form. It can sometimes last from two to four weeks. It can also be a result from stress or medication side effects. The third form, and the most complex, is Chronic Insomnia. It can last for a month or longer. Most of the causes for chronic insomnia are from a physical disorder. Such as arthritis, kidney disease, asthma, etc. (Hockenbury & Hockenbury, 2003)
Symptoms for all three forms are the same. They include sleeplessness, anxiety, impaired concentration or memory, headaches, shortness of breath, daytime fatigue, and/or irritability. (O'Hanlon, 2001)
There are treatments for all three forms of insomnia. Short-term or transient insomnia can be treated by the use of short acting sleeping pills. This may improve sleep and daytime alertness. Chronic insomnia can be treated by sleeping pills as well but it is not recommended since it is a long term illness. There are behavioral techniques you can use instead of medications. One is a sleep restriction program, which maintains the amount of sleep you get each night. At first the person is to only get a few hours of sleep during the night. Gradually, the time would increase until the person reaches a more satisfactory night sleep. Reconditioning is another program a person with insomnia could use. It will recondition the person to associate their bed and bedtime with sleep. The person is to only use their bed for sleep and to only go to bed when sleepy. If they can not fall asleep, the person should get up and stay up until sleepy, and then return to their bed. Over time, the person's mind will be conditioned to affiliate the bed and bedtime with sleep. The person should also avoid daytime naps and wake up and go to bed at the same time each day. Another program to use is the Bright Light program. If you are having trouble getting to sleep early, then when you wake up you should try to get as much bright light exposure in the morning. Doing this will reset your internal clock to an earlier time at night for sleep. If you are having trouble staying awake at night and waking up too early in the morning then you should try to get as much bright light exposure in the evening as you can. This will reset your internal clock to go to sleep later and wake up later. You should avoid early morning light if you are using this method until you have balanced your sleeping pattern. Another method is relaxation therapy. A person is to try to have an empty mind when going to sleep. This will help reduce or eliminate anxiety and body tension. The muscles are able to relax and the person would be able to have a restful night of sleep. (SleepNet, 2004)
There are a few things you should try to avoid if you have insomnia. You should not consume caffeine, tea chocolate, cocoa, colas, or any fizzy drinks four to six hours before bedtime. You should also avoid drinking an alcohol or smoking cigarettes two hours before bed time. (SleepNet, 2004)
Sleep Apnea is defined as a disorder of breathing during sleep. There are two forms of Sleep Apnea. Obstructive and Central Sleep Apnea. (Hockenbury & Hockenbury, 2003) The cause of this condition...
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