Do you struggle to sleep at night?
Or to stay awake during the day?
Do you want to stop taking sleep medications?
Or are you relying on caffeine to get through your day?
Do you find yourself irritable or moody?
Are you having trouble thinking as clearly as you once did?
Are you unable to lose weight despite your best efforts?
All of these can be signs of a sleep problem!
Can’t Sleep? You may have Insomnia
What is insomnia? It is the repeated difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep through the night that causes daytime impairment. This occurs despite the opportunity for adequate sleep.
Ten percent of Americans suffer from insomnia, but only about 1 in 20 insomniacs ever seek out treatment for their sleeping difficulty. Here at The Institute of Naturopathic Sleep Medicine it’s been astounding how long clients have suffered from insomnia – an average of over 15 years!
Insomnia can cause many daytime symptoms, including impaired attention and concentration, mood problems and irritability, and even physical symptoms such as headaches. Other research shows that insomniacs are 2.5 times more likely to have motor vehicle accidents.
How does Insomnia, develop?
Frequently there is an initial stressor that causes a person to not sleep as well. This could be either a happy event such as a wedding, or a stressor such as a job change. It is normal to have disrupted sleep for a short while. This is called acute insomnia.
Chronic insomnia is defined as lasting more than one month. In this case the person has frequently developed thoughts and habits that perpetuate the insomnia, even after the initial event is over.
What are treatment options?
The primary goal is to treat the underlying cause of the insomnia. There are both prescription drug treatments and behavioral treatments for insomnia. When insomnia is due to a medical or mental disorder the underlying disorder must also be treated.
Behavioral treatment for insomnia is a well-thought out approach that addresses several contributing factors in a systematic way. The therapeutic components include:
- Relaxation techniques. Example: Focusing only on the breath, breathe in slowly for a count of three, out for a count of three.
- Stimulus Control therapy. Example: Be in bedroom only when drowsy or asleep.
- Sleep Restriction therapy. Example: Limit time in bed just to the time spent asleep. In other words, no long periods of lying in bed trying to sleep.
- Education about sleep. Example: Waketime determines when you will get sleepy, so setting a consistent waketime will allow you to fall asleep easily at bedtime.
Research has shown that behavioral treatment for insomnia is more effective than prescription drug treatment, even two years after treatment. For all those people suffering from insomnia, this can enable them to sleep well again.
At The Institute of Naturopathic Sleep Medicine, Dr. Darley provides naturopathic care for sleep disorders, especially insomnia, insufficient sleep, circadian rhythm problems, and sleep movement disorders. Treatment is guided by the unique Naturopathic Principles of Treat the Cause, Doctor as Teacher, and using the least force medicine that will be effective. To read more about our approach to specific sleep problems, click on the ‘Services for Adults’ page.
For those of you who are out of state, you can have the benefits of good sleep by having a phone or Skype consultation with Dr. Darley. Contact her by phone or email to schedule your appointment.
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Use this button for Followup Phone Consults.