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What is Insomnia by Haley Woodman

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Most Americans have some sort of issue when it comes to sleeping, whether it’s not being able to fall asleep, or waking up several times throughout the night. In some cases, these people suffer from a disorder called insomnia. When people are insomniacs, they have a difficult time falling asleep and usually wake up too early. Most of the time, they even have a sense of sleepiness after a night’s rest. There are two different types that doctors classify insomnia acute and chronic. Acute is short-term and often easily treated.  If the insomnia lasts longer than a month, it is considered chronic, or long-term.

Acute insomnia is caused by stress in everyday life including death, job loss, divorce, or new medications. Chronic on the other hand is caused by long-term illnesses like depression or anxiety, and also any kind of illness where the person experiences pain or discomfort. Other general symptoms of insomnia include general tiredness, irritability, and problems with concentration and memory. Also, it is difficult for insomniacs to focus or pay attention as they normally would.

There are many ways insomnia affects one’s everyday life other than generally being tired.  On a health level, it can affect your sense of ability to eat properly causing weight gain or loss.  Performance level and reaction time are two qualities that are important in any kind of job or schooling.  They can also be directly affected by loss of sleep.  There are many negative ways that insomnia affects people and a doctor should be consulted to prevent future health issues.

Doctors use a variety of physical exams, and also questions regarding medical and sleep history, to diagnose people with insomnia. Depending on how severe the case may be, different methods of treatment are used. The most common method that people usually try before consulting a doctor is taking sleeping pills. Melatonin is an over-the-counter sleep medication found in almost any drug store. There are relaxation exercises and behavioral therapy methods that doctors may use as well. Doctors also may suggest things to do at home, such as avoiding caffeine and eating large meals late in the day.  These different approaches could help develop good sleeping habits.

Insomnia is known to be more common in older age, yet it affects younger people as well. Women going through menopause or menstrual cycle are also at greater risk for becoming insomniac.  People experiencing any kind of change in sleep pattern, or if one is under a lot of stress, would also be considered at high risk for insomnia.  These factors in particular cannot be avoided, yet others like having an inactive lifestyle can be altered to try to avoid becoming an insomniac.

Insomnia is a serious condition and if not treated could lead to future health issues.  Many get confused between sleep apnea and insomnia, so it is recommended to see a doctor for proper treatment.



WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/insomnia-symptoms-and-causes

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MayoClinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/insomnia/DS00187



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