WHAT CAUSES SLEEPLESSNESS AND INSOMNIA - HOW TO RELAX AND SLEEP BETTER
Insomnia is the perception or complaint of inadequate or poor-quality sleep because of one or more of the following: (1) trouble falling asleep (initial insomnia); (2) trouble remaining asleep through the night (middle insomnia); (3) waking up too early (terminal insomnia); or (4) unrefreshing sleep. All types of insomnia can lead to daytime drowsiness, poor concentration, and the inability to feel refreshed and rested in the morning.
Insomnia is not defined by the number of hours of sleep a person gets or how long it takes to fall asleep. Individuals vary normally in their need for, and their satisfaction with, sleep. Insomnia may cause problems during the day, such as tiredness, a lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, and irritability.
Insomnia can be classified as transient (short term), intermittent (on and off), and chronic (constant). Insomnia lasting from a single night to a few weeks is referred to as transient. If episodes of transient insomnia occur from time to time, the insomnia is said to be intermittent. Insomnia is considered to be chronic if it occurs on most nights and lasts a month or more.
How much sleep do we need
The amount of sleep each person needs depends on many factors, including age. Infants generally require about 16 hours a day, while teenagers need about 9 hours on average. For most adults, 7 to 8 hours a night appears to be the best amount of sleep, although some people may need as few as 5 hours or as many as 10 hours of sleep each day. Women in the first 3 months of pregnancy often need several more hours of sleep than usual.
The amount of sleep a person needs also increases if he or she has been deprived of sleep in previous days. Getting too little sleep creates a "sleep debt," which is much like being overdrawn at a bank. Eventually, your body will demand that the debt be repaid. We don't seem to adapt to getting less sleep than we need, while we may get used to a sleep-depriving schedule, our judgment, reaction time, and other functions are still impaired.
People tend to sleep more lightly and for shorter time spans as they get older, although they generally need about the same amount of sleep as they needed in early adulthood. About half of all people over 65 have frequent sleeping problems, such as insomnia, and deep sleep stages in many elderly people often become very short or stop completely. This change may be a normal part of aging, or it may result from medical problems that are common in elderly people and from the medications and other treatments for those problems.
What Does Deep Sleep Do For Us?
Although scientists are still trying to learn exactly why people need sleep, animal studies show that sleep is necessary for survival. For example, while rats normally live for two to three years, those deprived of REM sleep survive only about 5 weeks on average, and rats deprived of all sleep stages live only about 3 weeks. Sleep-deprived rats also develop abnormally low body temperatures and sores on their tail and paws. The sores may develop because the rats' immune systems become impaired. Some studies suggest that sleep deprivation affects the immune system in detrimental ways.
Symptoms of Insomnia
People will be unable to carry out their daily responsibilities either because they are too tired or because they have trouble concentrating due to lack of restful sleep.
Insomnia may cause a reduced energy level, irritability, lack of focus, attention disorders, anhedonia, disorientation, dark circles under the eyes, posture changes, and fatigue.
Causes of Insomnia
There are a number of possible causes of insomnia:
· Wake-sleep pattern disturbances
· Depression or major depression
· Jet lag
· Anxiety or stress
· Exhilaration or excitement
· Bed or bedroom environment not conducive to sleep
· Nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, food, or stimulants at bedtime
· Excessive sleep during the day
· Excessive physical or intellectual stimulation at bedtime
· Overactive thyroid
· Taking a new drug
· Inadequate bright-light exposure during waking hours
· Abruptly stopping a medication
· Medications or illicit drugs
· Withdrawal of medications
· Interference with sleep by various diseases
Transient and intermittent insomnia generally occur in people who are temporarily experiencing one or more of the following:
· Environmental noise
· Extreme temperatures
· Change in the surrounding environment
· Sleep/wake schedule problems such as those due to jet lag
What are possible treatments for insomnia?
Appropriate sleep habits are important in the management of insomnia. In some instances, changing sleep habits may correct the problem without the need for medications. Good sleep habits should include:
· Regular sleep times;
· Appropriate lighting;
· A comfortable bed and quiet room at a comfortable temperature;
· A bedroom that is not used for work or other activities that are not related to sleep;
· Avoidance of stimulants (e.g. caffeine, tobacco), alcohol, and large meals close to bedtime;
· Regular exercise but not close to bedtime or late in the evening;
· Relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises; and
· Avoidance of naps during the day.
· Use of an OTC sleeping pill or sleep aid.
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All our products are natural nutritional supplements, and should be used as such. We make no health claims. Seek advice from a health professional prior to use if you are pregnant, or have high blood pressure, heart disease, thyroid disease, diabetes, difficulty in urination due to prostate enlargement, or are taking an MAO inhibitor or any other prescription drug. Reduce or discontinue use if nervousness, tremor, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, or nausea occur. Keep out of the reach of children.
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