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Healthy Habits: Many ways to treat, cure insomnia

Mar. 15, 2013 @ 12:06 AM

Insomnia

Bedtime can be the most anticipated part of the day for many people, but it is not always because they look forward to a good night's rest. For those who have trouble falling and/or staying asleep, bedtime is just the first round of what turns into an all-night fight to get to sleep.

Whether it's a case of short-term insomnia caused by stress or a major life event or long-term insomnia that lingers for months or longer, it should be addressed before developing into more serious sleep problems. Signs and symptoms of insomnia include, trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep, trouble focusing on tasks, feeling tired or not well rested when waking, tired or sleepy during the day and feeling anxious, depressed or irritable.

There are many causes for insomnia. The National Institutes of Health lists the following as potential causes of insomnia:

Conditions that cause chronic (ongoing) pain, such as arthritis and headache disorders

Conditions that make it hard to breathe, such as asthma and heart failure

An overactive thyroid

Gastrointestinal disorders, such as heartburn

Stroke

Sleep disorders, such as restless leg syndrome and sleep-related breathing problems

Menopause and hot flashes

Curing or treating insomnia depends on each person. There are simple initial steps to take, including making changes to daily habit such as avoiding caffeine, tobacco and stimulants. If simple changes do not help, the next step is to talk with your physician. Insomnia can be treated in a variety of ways including lifestyle changes, cognitive-behavioral therapy and/or medications. Next week's feature will dig a little more into sleep disorders.

Healthy Habits 2013 is a partnership among Cabell Huntington Hospital, Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and St. Mary's Medical Center. We are a community working together to improve our health. Our goal is a simple one; to inform and encourage area residents on ways to improve their health. Join our conversation and "like" us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/healthyhabits2013.

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