Ten Facts About Insomnia

Girl with Insomnia
Courtesy Alyssa L. Miller Smile Productionz

We know how important it is to get a good night’s sleep. Let’s talk about when you can’t—a condition known as insomnia. I realize that I’ve written about natural remedies for insomnia without really talking about insomnia in depth. If you do some research yourself on the topic you’ll see a lot of varying information out there. Here are the top ten facts I’ve learned about insomnia:

What is insomnia and what causes it?

  1. It is defined as not being able to sleep for any length of time,
  2. Or not sleeping well for a prolonged period, like three months.
  3. It is not being able to fall asleep,
  4. Or not being able to stay asleep,
  5. Or not sleeping well.
  6. It is a symptom of depression and anxiety,
  7. Or it causes depression and anxiety.
  8. It is a psychological affliction,
  9. Or a physical affliction,
  10. Or a genetic pre-disposition.

Which fact about insomnia is true?

Yes.

In other words, I think all of the above is true, depending on the person. Studies are showing that there are many different types of insomnia and they all must be treated differently.

Treating Insomnia

For example, if you have insomnia (the kind where you aren’t sleeping well) because you suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea, (OAS) the cause is physical. The last thing your doctor should do is prescribe a type of sleep aid that slows down the central nervous system, as that would out you in danger of not waking up and gasping for air when your airway becomes restricted.

Or, say you can fall asleep but can’t stay asleep. If this is the problem, than it could be any number of factors. You could be suffering from allergies, under too much stress, experiencing hormone surges and the list goes on. Whatever the cause, a melatonin supplement, relaxing bedtime routine and many prescription sleep aids won’t help you, since your problem is a disruption in your circadian rhythm. Without getting to the cause, your insomnia will linger on.

The Catch-22 With Insomnia

The problem with insomnia is a catch-22. It’s necessary to somehow get enough rest so that you are mentally and physically able to wrestle with whatever underlying cause you have for not getting enough rest. You have to get insomnia under control in order to treat it. Sometimes, even your doctor diagnoses and treats the cause for your insomnia, your sleep cycle is still disrupted and desperately needs a reset. That is easier said than done.

The catch-22 with insomnia is a topic for next week, when I will talk about: Types of Sleep Aids.