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6 Sites for Understanding and Overcoming Insomnia

January 12, 2009
by Christopher Coats
Nothing ruins a day faster than tossing and turning the night before. FindingDulcinea wants to make sure insomnia isn’t a worry that keeps you up at night. Read on to discover the roots of insomnia, and the many remedies available to treat it.

Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

Among the many factors that can affect our day-to-day health and well-being, there are few as important and consequential as a good night’s sleep. Miss an hour or two and an entire day can be lost. Lose more and you could be left feeling worn down and out of sorts for days or even weeks.

Sleeplessness affects a majority of the population, both young and old, and impacts our ability to function at work and at home. Chronic insomnia can lead to ailments far more serious than a drowsy morning, including heart disease and obesity.

Understanding Insomnia

The first step toward overcoming insomnia is to understand the condition and its impact on your health. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute offers a general explanation of insomnia, including causes, risks, signs and symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

Insomnia affects everyone differently, based on a sufferer’s age, health and sex. For instance, women tend to suffer insomnia more often than men. The National Women’s Health Information Center offers an explanation of insomnia aimed at women. You’ll find a detailed FAQ section outlining the different types of insomnia, and how it’s diagnosed and treated.

Finding the Roots of Insomnia

Once you understand what insomnia is and how it can impact your life and health, the next step on the way to a good night’s sleep is to figure out what is at the root of your own case of insomnia. Insomnia is often connected to psychological, lifestyle, environmental or physical factors in your life.

Mayo Clinic offers an overview of insomnia causes and provides a comprehensive analysis of possible triggers for sleeplessness. The Clinic points out that the likelihood of insomnia increases with age, and lists possible changes that may occur with age that affect sleep quality.

In addition to the usual causes for insomnia—stress, medications and caffeine, for example—there’s another culprit to be aware of: learned insomnia. The American Insomnia Association explains that learned insomnia is a vicious cycle in which your knowledge of the fact that you're having sleep problems becomes the cause of those problems.

Treating Insomnia

Whatever the causes of insomnia, it’s important to remember that insomnia is a symptom, not a diagnosis. Therefore, successful treatment is directed at the root cause, not the sleeplessness. To treat the wide variety of causes, there are also a variety of treatments, both medicinal and holistic, ranging from subtle changes in diet to comprehensive pharmaceutical remedies.

MedicineNet covers the over-the-counter sleep aids that are currently on the market, including the two most commonly used medications: antihistamines and melatonin. You’ll also find helpful information on prescription medicines with dosage details and side effects.

Hoping to find a remedy that doesn’t involve a prescription or over-the-counter pill? MSN Health & Fitness provides a list of 13 insomnia remedies that don’t include the use of medications. Suggestions such as avoiding alcohol, listening to soothing music and practicing relaxation techniques can help you get a good night’s sleep.

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