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What is insomnia? Insomnia is when a person has any sleep related difficulties, mainly falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early in the morning. Each of these can be extremely irritating and can affect the way that the rest of your day plays out. This is because when you do get up you are still tired and not refreshed. Over a period of time people who suffer from insomnia tend to develop mood disorders, they lack motivation, the inability to concentrate, lack of energy, and constantly being tired.
People need adequate sleep in order to maintain a healthy and productive life. It has been said the people spend about 1/3 of their lifetimes sleeping. That certainly seems like a lot of time but proper sleep is needed for a healthy human body including the vital organs and the brain. The brain really works some magic while a person is asleep. Without sleep the brain begins to lose its ability to function.
While the amount of sleep that a person gets does not seem to be quite as important as the quality of sleep that they get, the two are still completely related. Insomnia has very grave effect over a period of time, both physical and psychological. Impaired mind functioning, accidents, anxiety and depression, stress, heart attacks, and headaches are common consequences of insomnia. Health can deteriorate as the person gets mentally and physically weaker, becomes more irritable, and develops a wakened immune system that can lead to all kinds of illness.
Sleep occurs in a very unique manner. When it is time for sleep, the retina in the eye sends a message to your brain; your brain in turn sends a message to another part of the brain to produce the hormone melatonin, this in turn causes a drop in body temperature and the person begins to feel signs of sleepiness. While this is going on, the brain starts to deactivate three of the brains chemical messengers that are responsible for keeping one alert, histamine, norephinephrine, and serotonin. So it is very important that the brain gets its rest so that it can function properly on a daily basis.
There are various types of insomnia and various causes as well. Insomnia can be broken up into primary and secondary. Primary insomnia means there is absolutely no medical, physical, or emotional reason for the insomnia. Secondary insomnia means there is a reason for the insomnia is it medical, psychological or physical. Generally, secondary insomnia is treated by a physician and primary insomnia is treated with behavioral therapy.
The behavioral therapy often includes things such as sleep hygiene, progressive muscle relaxation, stimulus control, cognitive restructuring, and sleep restriction and scheduling. These have been very successful in treatment centers across the country.
It is imperative that a person get relaxed prior to attempting to go to sleep. Reading a book, watching some TV, or anything relaxing is a great start when attempting to get some sleep but if you lay there and find that you lost all interest in sleeping, get out of bed and do something else until you feel tired again. Laying there, tossing and turning is not going to do anything but make matters worse.