Put Your Sleep Problems To Rest

Along with regular exercise and a healthful diet, sleep is a key component of good health.  Suffering from a lack of adequate sleep can lead to serious illness and injury, depression, problems concentrating, and significant fatigue.  Insomnia literally means no sleep.  According the National Sleep Foundation, insomnia refers to the inability to get the amount of sleep you as an individual need to wake up feeling rested.  Inability to sleep can be a problem in its own right or caused by underlying conditions such as anxiety; stress; pain; digestive problems; or a sleep disorder such as restless legs syndrome or sleep apnea.  Insomnia can also be caused by certain medications including those used to treat asthma, heart disease, and thyroid disease.  Symptoms of insomnia include:  difficulty falling asleep; waking up frequently during the night; difficulty returning to sleep; waking up too early in the morning; un-refreshing sleep; daytime sleepiness; difficulty concentrating; and irritability.

Can’t Sleep a Wink?

If you are experiencing trouble sleeping, try keeping a sleep diary that you can share with your doctor.  Note your sleep habits and patterns, sleep environment, and specific sleep-related problems.  Your physician will likely consider your full medical history and conduct a physical examination.  He or she may be able to determine whether there is an underlying cause and diagnose the problem.  In some cases, a referral to a sleep specialist may be necessary.