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Sleep Disorders: Insomnia

By Cameron Elliott

Sleep disorders is a broad category encompassing of variety of conditions that affect sleep. Insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome are the most common, but sleep disorders also include sleep walking, hypersomnia, and night terrors. There isn't enough space to provide an in- depth explanation for each, so starting with insomnia, the four most common ones will be explored properly.

Literally meaning "no sleep, insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders: everyone has lain awake all night, has woken up in the middle of night, has woken up hours too early. Insomnia takes its toll on your health, on your peace of mind, on your wallet. When you don't sleep enough, you're tired and irritable, unable to concentrate. You lose money by getting in accidents because you're exhausted, by being unable to work.

There are two types of insomnia: acute and chronic. Acute insomnia is temporary, lasting no more than a month, caused by the situation or environment: after traveling and being jet lagged, after losing your job. It occurs when relationships end, when you lose someone close to you. As the situation gets better, as things return to normal, you begin to feel better, and you sleep.

Chronic insomnia is more serious, lasting a month and more. Chronic insomnia can be the result of a larger condition, a symptom of an underlying condition. Illnesses, other sleep disorders, and psychological or physical conditions can all wreak havoc with sleep. In this case, talk to your doctor. The right treatment will help the larger condition, which will in turn help you sleep.

Chronic insomnia can also be a condition by itself, not simply one side effect of something else. This type of chronic insomnia can be the result of biological factors like having a too high body temperature, changes in your metabolism rate, or increased brain metabolism.

Of course, insomnia, chronic, or acute, could always just be the result of poor sleep habits: smoking cigarettes, drinking caffeine, sleeping odd hours. And, depression and stress are major causes of insomnia.

Treatment of insomnia can be as simple of following tips for sleeping well, practicing good sleep habits. Sleeping aides can help, but talk to your doctor first. Not sleeping quickly gets old: if you're sleeping poorly, talk to your doctor, follow the tips for sleeping better.


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