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Another Sleepless Night?
eCureMe dives into the strange world of Insomniacs.

December 28th, 2004

By Sal Roach

Look across the skyline of America and the likelihood is that, at any given hour at the night or early morning, you will see many lights on with sleepless silhouettes. Behind that light, people are pacing back and forth into their kitchens, tossing and turning in their beds or trying to watch enough television to get to sleep.

Insomnia affects over 20 million Americans each year, causing a nation of sleepwalkers to take over the cities of America.

Let’s see what we can do to stop some of it and get you all tucked in for a decent night’s sleep.

Another Sleepless Night?

In the majority of cases, the reasons for the inability to put your head to the pillow are usually stress, a change of environment, side effects from medication a drastic change in climate or, simply enough, an uncomfortable place to sleep.

Before going to the doctor to get a prescription to help you out, most health care physicians would like to know the level of insomnia that you are experiencing, so keeping a diary or journal of a sleep patterns for a two week period is a good idea - so that patterns can be dissected and treated.

Stress is generally the leading cause of this disorder. Going to sleep means that one has to lay down with their own thoughts, which can be as stressful as or more stressful than the actual event that is causing problems.

There is nothing you can do about what is worrying you at 2’oclock in the morning, so you need to allow yourself to let your problems drift into the night and not take them with you into the dark. Mediation or drinking a cup of tea, something ritualistic that brings about a relaxing state, is encouraged when dealing with stress related insomnia.

Also, the problem could be as simple as drinking too much coffee in the daytime. If you have any coffee drink after 4:00 P.M., that last cup of the day could be costing you hours of sleep on the back end. Since most people cannot give up their coffee and are rather ritualistic when drinking it, try switching to small cups of half decaf when drinking your 3rd or 4th cup of the day.

If you are looking for a prescription, sedatives, tranquilizers, and other anti-anxiety drugs are usually prescribed by health care professionals, but they always warn the patients to go easy and take them in small doses, as incorrect digestion of sleeping pills can cause side effects that carry over to the next day, and could cause more sleeplessness if not careful.

Health care agencies and clinics are now experimenting with behavioral therapy, in which one changes the mind naturally.

Do not sit on your bed or go into your bedroom unless you are going to sleep. Designating and area just for sleep can make that experience more unique and easier to accomplish.

If your diet consists of high sugar foods and your physical activities are limited, you may not be straining your body enough in the daytime, and your insomnia could be a reaction telling you that "I’m just not tired. You need to work me a little harder."

The body and the mind need a delicate balance between them to be happy and rested so that they can rejuvenate themselves over the evening.

Yoga and meditation in the morning or evening, even if it’s only for 15 minutes, can almost guarantee you a decent night’s sleep. Also, know that getting 8 hours of sleep is nice, but not necessary. Often times we look at the clock and see how late it is, causing more stress and an even greater inability to get some sleep. In reality, a good 6 hours is enough sleep to give you the proper energy for the next day.

While alcohol and cigarettes may seem like a way to relieve stress and relax, they are both actually stimulants, and can make those sheep seem like an infinite group jumping over endless fences in vain attempts for slumber.

If you find yourself looking at the clock to see how late it is, try moving to clock to a place where you can’t see it. Adjust your bedroom so that it is a temple to calmness. Create a conducive environment for you to relax and sleep.

Relaxing with your eyes shut is as important as what you do with the lights on.

If you are feeling lonely, perhaps you can find some comfort in the fact that all over the world, there are people looking out their windows into an unforgiving night feeling the same way you do.

You are not alone.

Essentially, the whole world sleeps together, now feel like part of the family and get some Z’s.

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