Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Insomnia - an overview

"Have you got anything to help with sleep?" - This is one common question that people ask at the pharmacy. A simple question it may sound but there is really more to it than meets the eye...

Here's some questions for you to think about when finding your insomnia remedy:

1) How long have you had the insomnia?

Insomnia can be broadly classified into 3 types: Source: MedicineNet
  • Transient insomnia usually is due to situational changes such as travel, extreme climate changes, and stressful events. It lasts for less than a week or until the stressful event is resolved.
  • Short-term insomnia usually is due to ongoing stressful lifestyle or events, medication side effects or medical conditions and lasts for one to three weeks.
  • Chronic insomnia (long-term insomnia) often results from depression, digestive problems, sleep disorders, or substance abuse and continues for more than three weeks.

 2) The causes...

Is it mood or stress-related?
What medications are you on? Have you just started on a new medication?
Do you have poor sleep habits?
Is there any recent lifestyle changes disrupting your sleep pattern?
Do you have any underlying medical conditions that could be causing your insomnia? eg. heartburn, back pain etc...

Sleeplessness can also be the cause of a mix of physiological and psychological factors. If it is transient sleeplessness, it would often go away with adequate rest and the help of short-term sleeping-aid.

Here are some possible causes and risk factors.


3) What have you tried?

You may have tried things like melatonin, other sleep supplements or even sleeping pills expecting to have a quick remedy. Have you also tried any lifestyle changes eg. exercises or relaxation techniques and environmental changes to aid you in falling asleep? Find out through trial and errors what worked for you and what didn't. Remember there isn't such a thing as one size fits all. Over-reliance on sleeping pills for a 'quick fix' may cause dependence and make insomnia worse in the long run without truely treating the root cause of the problem.


You can read up more here - Sleep Hygiene

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