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What is Insomnia?

What is Insomnia?

Insomnia is a condition that affects an individual’s ability to fall asleep or stay asleep for prolonged periods of time. Over 60 million Americans suffer from insomnia every year; conditions range from prolonged periods of sleeplessness to infrequent bouts with the condition. Generally speaking, women are more susceptible to insomnia than men. Approximately 40 percent of women in the United States suffer from insomnia, which is 10 percent higher than men affected by the condition.
Insomnia falls into three classifications: transient insomnia, acute insomnia, and chronic insomnia. As the name implies, transient insomnia lasts for only a short duration of time, anywhere from a few nights but never longer than a week. Transient insomnia can come on as the result of several factors: depression, change of sleep environment (jet lag), and stress. Acute insomnia is defined as the inability to consistently sleep well for a period of up to a month. The most severe classification of insomnia is chronic insomnia which is the inability to sleep well for over a month at a time. Chronic insomnia can be the result of another disorder (stress, depression, or anxiety) or can be the primary disorder itself. The effects of chronic insomnia are those associated with long-term sleep deprivation, and may include muscle fatigue, daytime sleepiness, weight gain and loss and blurred vision.

There are two patterns of insomnia.

Sleep-onset insomnia is the inability to fall asleep. Sleep-onset insomnia can come on as the result of anxiety—concerns over everyday situations and stresses, agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder or social anxiety disorder. Another cause of sleep-onset insomnia is delayed sleep-phase syndrome (DSPS). Delayed sleep-phase syndrome occurs in individuals whose sleep patterns differentiate significantly from societal norms. Individuals who suffer from delayed sleep-phase syndrome typically do not fall asleep until well after midnight. Although individuals who suffer from DSPS typically receive eight hours of sleep a “night” if provided the opportunity, they often have their sleep cut short due to time restrictions brought up by work and family.

The second pattern of insomnia is nocturnal awakenings. People who suffer from nocturnal awakenings wake up in the middle of the night and experience grave difficulty in going back to sleep. People suffering from disrupted sleep patterns caused by nocturnal awakenings may experience daytime sleepiness and muscle fatigue. Unfortunately, 90 percent of people who suffer from nocturnal awakenings report the condition occurring for at least six months or more.

Naturopathic tip: To help combat insomnia we recommend taking the SleepDrops range alongside a healthy lifestyle including a nutritious diet, regular exercise and stress-reducing activities.