142011Dec
INSOMNIA

INSOMNIA

  Insomnia is a condition characterized by any combination of difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, waking too early in the morning and   feeling unrefreshed the next day. According the National Sleep Foundation, almost half of adult Americans report they have experienced difficulty falling asleep at one point in their lives. Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, affecting about 12% of the population at any given time, or about 32 million people. More women than men are affected. Older adults become less efficient with their sleep and can experience more frequent insomnia. Transient, or short-term, insomnia can often be treated quite easily or resolve spontaneously on its own. Chronic, or long-lasting, insomnia can often be more difficult to resolve. This chronic insomnia is often associated with many other medical and psychological illnesses including depression. It can also occur in patients with other sleep disorders such as restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea (difficulty breathing in sleep with associated snoring), and narcolepsy.

Symptoms of insomnia may include anxiety, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, drowsiness, forgetfulness, irritability, headache, low energy, weight gain, and increased blood pressure. Your sleep specialist may ask several questions to assist them in choosing the most appropriate treatment option for you. Often, treatment entails only embracing better sleep hygiene, or better “sleep habits”. Often only a brief course of over-the-counter or prescription medication is necessary. For chronic insomnia, the best treatment is often a combination of medications and cognitive behavioral therapy (non medication relaxation techniques and reinforcement of better sleep habits). Your sleep specialist physician can advise what is best for your individual case, including the risks and rationale of various medication supplementations. We also evaluate the newest research medications available for the treatment of sleep disorders including insomnia.

In order to ensure good sleep, it is important to have a good sleep habits. Often, simple changes in your daily routine can improve your sleep. Here are a few tips:

In order to ensure good sleep, it is important to have a good sleep habits. Often, simple changes in your daily routine can improve your sleep. Here are a few tips:

  • Avoid caffeine with 10 hours of bedtime. Avoid alcohol and smoking, especially one to two hours before bedtime.
  • Exercise regularly. Strenuous exercise should be avoided three hours before bedtime.
  • Don’t take naps, or limit them to no more than 30 minutes.
  • Establish pre-sleep rituals, like a warm bath or a few minutes of reading.
  • Go to bed only when you are sleepy, and use your bed for sleep only, not as an office or a place to watch television.
  • Get up about the same time every day, regardless of when you fall asleep.
  • If you can’t sleep, don’t stay in the bed fretting. After 10- 15 minutes, go to another room and read until you feel sleepy.

Contact your physician if you:

  • Remain unable to fall asleep.
  • Can’t stay asleep.
  • Sleep at night but constantly feel sleepy during the day. You may have a separate medical problem that is preventing normal sleeping patterns.

Timothy L. Grant, M.D., A.B.S.M.
Medical Director Neuroscience Consultants Sleep Diagnostic Center
Medical Director of Sleep and Neurologic Research at Miami Research Associates
Medical Director Baptist Hospital of Miami Sleep Education Series  Insomnia is a condition characterized by any combination of difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, waking too early in the morning and feeling unrefreshed the next day. According the National Sleep Foundation, almost half of adult Americans report they have experienced difficulty falling asleep at one point in their lives. Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, affecting about 12% of the population at any given time, or about 32 million people. More women than men are affected. Older adults become less efficient with their sleep and can experience more frequent insomnia. Transient, or short-term, insomnia can often be treated quite easily or resolve spontaneously on its own. Chronic, or long-lasting, insomnia can often be more difficult to resolve. This chronic insomnia is often associated with many other medical and psychological illnesses including depression. It can also occur in patients with other sleep disorders such as restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea (difficulty breathing in sleep with associated snoring), and narcolepsy.

Symptoms of insomnia may include anxiety, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, drowsiness, forgetfulness, irritability, headache, low energy, weight gain, and increased blood pressure. Your sleep specialist may ask several questions to assist them in choosing the most appropriate treatment option for you. Often, treatment entails only embracing better sleep hygiene, or better “sleep habits”. Often only a brief course of over-the-counter or prescription medication is necessary. For chronic insomnia, the best treatment is often a combination of medications and cognitive behavioral therapy (non medication relaxation techniques and reinforcement of better sleep habits). Your sleep specialist physician can advise what is best for your individual case, including the risks and rationale of various medication supplementations. We also evaluate the newest research medications available for the treatment of sleep disorders including insomnia.

In order to ensure good sleep, it is important to have a good sleep habits. Often, simple changes in your daily routine can improve your sleep. Here are a few tips: