Are You Struggling for Shut-Eye?IN HOLISTIC HEALTH
Constant tossing and turning. Thoughts racing. Eyes that won't seem to stay shut. If this struggle for sleep sounds like your or a family member's nightly routine, you or your loved one may have insomnia. The good news: Some simple modifications to the way you or a loved one prepares for bed may help you find the repose you or your family member requires.
Insomnia can be acute or chronic, but both types are defined by individuals' inability to fall or stay asleep. While acute insomnia is typically caused by events or tensions that fade over time-thereby causing insomnia to cease-chronic insomnia results from long-term, underlying causes, such as depression, heartburn or sleep apnea.
If you suspect you or a family member has insomnia, make an appointment to see your family's primary care provider (PCP) in two weeks. During this two-week period, keep a sleep journal noting when you or your loved one falls asleep and wakes up, the quality of your or your loved one's sleep, and what you or your loved one does before bed. After your PCP evaluates the sleep journal, he or she may refer you or your family member to a sleep specialist for further investigation or to a psychiatrist for cognitive behavioral therapy. Your family's PCP also may recommend changes to your or your family member's bedtime routine (See "Natural Solutions to Sleepless Nights."). By changing the way you or your family member approaches falling asleep, you or your loved one may open the door to a future of refreshed sleep.
|Natural Solutions to Sleepless
Many people find relief from insomnia not at a pharmacy or in a physician's office, but in the changes they make to their sleep hygiene. To help log enough sleep per night, try taking some of the following actions:
• Adjust the thermostat in your home at night to ensure your or your family member's bedroom is at a comfortable temperature for sleep.
• Become a bedtime creature of habit. If you or your family member enjoys reading a chapter of a novel before bed, do so every night, and soon you or your loved one will associate the routine with sleep. Go to bed and wake up at the same times every day when possible.
• Purge bedrooms of technology-such as the TV and cell phones-to make it a quiet, dark sanctuary for sleep.
• When evening arrives, cut out caffeine, large meals and multiple glasses of water.
Sources: familydoctor.org, nhlbi.nih.gov, womenshealth.gov© 2013. True North Custom Media. All Rights Reserved.