Insomnia
 


Insomnia 
is incredibly common; it is unusual for an individual to have never experienced insomnia. Between 35% and 50% of the general population have complaints of insomnia. Approximately 6% of the general population, which is a big number, meet the true criteria for insomnia, based on Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) and International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) criteria for the diagnosis of chronic insomnia.

Chronic insomnia can be divided into different categories, and each has its own characteristics. We also need to look at who has insomnia. Of individuals who have chronic insomnia, 10% have an insomnia that is independent of other disorders. Of people with insomnia, 90%, have chronic insomnia that occurs in conjunction with other medical, psychiatric, or sleep disorders. We no longer use the term "secondary insomnia,” attributing it to an underlying illness.] However, there is an association between insomnia and underlying disease, and we find that treating insomnia, even in individuals who have other diagnoses, can lead to an improvement in those diagnoses. The best data comes from patients with major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Any kind of psychosocial stressors people may have -- such as being separated, divorced, or widowed, or undergoing a major life change -- is likely to result ininsomnia. Individuals who consume substances such as tobacco, alcohol, or caffeine in excessive amounts can also develop insomnia. Finally, there are a number of prescription medications that can interfere with sleep. It's important to figure out what are the root of the problem.

Whether it is due to stress, anxiety or even a medical condition, there are many factors behind insomnia but the outcome is always the same of feeling tired, moody and unhappy the very next day. If left untreated insomnia can even lead to depression and poor health. Taking steps to get more hours' rest every night is vital to one's  well being.

WHY ALCOHOL ISN'T THE ANSWER TO INSOMNIA
A regular false impression is that drinking two or three alcoholic drinks will assist you to get to sleep. While alcohol may help you go to sleep, it does not assist you to stay asleep. Much too often those few nightcaps may cause you to wake up repeatedly during the night, resulting in feeling tired, lethargic, and be unable to concentrate the following day. Consequently it leads to a vicious cycle of feeling tired throughout the day and then treating it with alcohol consumption.
In contrast to what many might think, insomnia and alcohol are not a good combination. Alcohol and its impact on sleep loss is often underestimated. Although a few alcoholic drinks might actually lead to sleep and make a person fall asleep faster, it is almost as if the sleep won't count. It is not the right level of sleep; with the other factors of drinking alcohol combined, you may as well have stayed up considering the lack of benefits of alcohol induced sleep. In other words, alcohol induced sleep doesn't benefit the body or mind at all. As a matter of fact, most people who have a dependency on alcohol have frequent sleep problems, even after they stop drinking. Beyond any withdrawal period, a person's sleep patterns may never go back to normal, and as a result they may battle insomnia for a long time.

YOUR BODY FINDS IT HARDER TO REJUVENATE WHEN YOU DRINK
For your body to revitalize itself, it must reach a deep level of sleep. But alcohol consumption prevents you from getting to this deep level.. So while alcohol helps you to go to sleep, it prevents your body from refreshing itself when you do and in addition dehydrates you. As a result, the body will wake for water due to the dehydration and your body will not be able to fall into the REM cycle of sleep, which is the deep level of sleep that all people need. No alcohol will ever reduce a person's insomnia and, in reality, it will make it worse. Gradually you may even develop a dependence on alcohol to get to sleep, which means you have an alcohol addiction to overcome together with insomnia.
Tipping back a couple of beers late into the evening is not the smartest solution to treat sleep loss. You have to figure out what is causing your sleeplessness. You can do this yourself or with the guidance of your therapist who can help you discover the triggers and work at reducing them. Remember that drinking won't enable you to get a quality night's sleep, but will instead cause the problem to worsen and the following day, along with feeling tired and irritable, you will have extra discomfort from the alcohol. 

START A SLEEP DIARY TO IDENTIFY THE ROOT CAUSE OF YOUR INSOMNIA
The right way to treat sleep problems is to figure out the underlying cause. You can do this by recording a journal and logging when you last ate or drank, whether there is something worrying you, or whether you took medication. You can then see what is causing your insomnia and find an answer. 

ADOPT A GOOD SLEEP HYGIENE HABIT
It is also a good idea to adopt good sleep hygiene techniques, such as not drinking coffee or alcohol, not watching TV in bed or exercising late in the evening; when you end up lying conscious at nights thinking 'what will help me sleep', consider trying the tips in this post so that you can stop counting sheep and instead take more time experiencing lucid dreams in addition to getting more zzzs.

Sleep hygiene

Sleep Hygiene aims to control the environment and behaviors that precede sleep. This involves limiting substances that can interfere with proper sleep, particularly within 4–6 hours of going to bed. These substances include caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. Sometimes a light bedtime snack, such as milk or peanut butter, is recommended. The environment in which one sleeps, and the environment that directly precedes sleep, is also very important. Patients should engage in relaxing activities prior to going to bed, such as reading, writing, listening to calming music or taking a bath;  they should limit stimulating activity such as watching television, using a computer or being around bright lights.

Relaxation training

Relaxation training involves practices that can help people to relax throughout the day and particularly close to bedtime. It is useful for insomnia patients with difficulty falling asleep. However it is unclear whether or not it is useful for those who tend to wake up in the middle of the night or very early in the morning. Techniques include hypnosis , guided imagery and meditation. 


COGNITIVE THERAPY: AN ANSWER TO INSOMNIA

Cognitive therapy and Cognitive Behavioral therapy can be targeted at insomnia. When dealing with insomnia, cognitive therapy may target dysfunctional beliefs and attitudes that may be at the root of sleep disturbances.

Cognitive therapists will directly question the logical basis of these dysfunctional beliefs in order to discovert their flaws. If applicable, the therapist will arrange a situation for the individual to test these flawed beliefs. For instance, many insomniacs believe that if they don't get enough sleep they will be tired the entire following day. They will then try to conserve energy by not moving around or by taking a nap. These responses are understandable, but can exacerbate the problem, since they do not generate energy. If instead a person actively tries to generate energy by taking a walk, talking to a friend and getting plenty of sunlight, he or she may find that the original belief was self-fulfilling and not necessarily true.

Worry is a common factor of insomnia. Therapists will work to control worry and rumination with the use of a thought record, a log where a person writes down concerns. The therapist and the patient can then approach each of these concerns individually.