Q Dear Doc, I have had trouble sleeping. It takes forever to fall asleep and then, when I do, it is only a short while. I am now miserable during the days and make mistakes and fall asleep at work. Is there anything I can do, or any medication I can take to help me fall asleep and fall asleep.
A You seem to have insomnia. Insomnia is a problem that affects sleep, and people who have insomnia have problems falling or falling asleep, or they do not feel rested when they wake up.
Insomnia is not about how many hours of sleep a person gets. Everyone needs a different amount of sleep. Some people need some sleep and can work without difficulty after sleeping for a few hours. People who sleep less but have no resulting sleepiness or other symptoms of the day are called short sleepers and do not have sleep problems. You also need less sleep when you get older.
People with insomnia often complain:
– Feeling tired or sleepy during the day.
– Forget things or
– To be unhappy, worried, annoyed or depressed.
– Have less energy or interest in doing things.
– Make mistakes or get into accidents more often than normal.
These symptoms can be so serious that they begin to affect a person's relationships and working life. It is important to note that these symptoms can occur even in people who seem to have enough sleep.
Insomnia can have many causes
Short-term insomnia lasts less than three months and is usually associated with a stress factor. Possible stressors may include:
– Changes in sleep environment (temperature, light, noise).
– The loss of a loved one, a divorce or a job loss.
– New disease, surgery or pain.
– Use or withdrawal from certain drugs, illegal drugs or alcohol.
Short termlessness is often resolved when the stressor is dissolved.
There are also situations that interfere with your normal sleep cycle and cause insomnia such as jet lag and shift work.
Long-term symptoms (or chronic) insomnia last longer than three months and occur at least three nights a week. This type of insomnia occurs on other conditions such as:
– Mental problems, e.g. depression, anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder.
– Medical diseases, especially those that cause pain, stress or breathing difficulties.
– Neurological disorders, such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.
Insomnia can also occur on its own.
To improve your insomnia, you can follow what we call good sleep hygiene. That means you:
– Just sleep long enough to feel rested and take you out of bed.
– Go and get up and up at the same time every day.
– Don't try to force yourself to sleep. If you can't sleep, get out of bed and try again later.
– Have coffee, tea and food that only has coffee in the morning.
– Avoid alcohol in the late afternoon, evening and at
– Solve problems that you have before
– Work out several days a week, but not right before bed.
– Avoid looking at phones or reading devices that emit light before bed (tablets, laptops).
If these fail, you may need to work with a counselor or psychologist to deal with the problems that may cause you poor sleep.
There are medications to help with sleep, but you should only try them after you have tried the techniques described above. You should not use sleep medicine every night for long periods of time, so you may become addicted to sleep.
If, after reading this, you think you have insomnia and it interferes with you, read your doctor. He or she may have other suggestions on how to correct the problem, and also determine whether your insomnia is caused by psychological problems. In this case, you may be prescribed an antidepressant drug rather than a sleep aid. Antidepressants often improve sleep and can also help with other concerns.
An ordinary myth is to have an alcoholic drink before bed helps with sleep.
No! Do not use alcohol as a sleep aid. Although alcohol makes you sleepy first, it interferes with sleep later in the night.