It is not uncommon to now and then to have trouble getting a good night’s sleep. The key here is now and then. If you find yourself finding it difficult almost every night to sleep, you may have a sleep disorder.

The five most common sleep disorders are:

  • Insomnia
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Narcolepsy
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • REM Sleep Behavior Disorder

For this article, I will address the sleep disorder of Insomnia.

Insomnia is when you are experiencing difficulty getting to or staying asleep. There are two types of Insomnia – Short-Term and Chronic.

Short-Term Insomnia can occur after a traumatic life event – losing a loved one or relationship problems. Additionally, jet lag and shift work may cause disturbed sleep.

Chronic Insomnia is when you have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep for a minimum of one month. You may feel exhausted during the day and have trouble concentrating.

Common symptoms of Insomnia include:

  • Can’t sleep even if you are tired
  • Don’t get enough sleep to feel rested and refreshed
  • Experience restless sleep and are exhausted when you wake up
  • Poor concentration
  • Irritable
  • May suffer from headaches, tense muscles, and gastrointestinal issues

Making simple changes to your lifestyle may help you sleep better.

  • Keep regular bedtime, wake up time every day, and try not to nap during the day.
  • Avoid big meals or too much fluid later in the evening.
  • Stay active.
  • Avoiding alcohol before bed. Drinking alcohol may make you sleepy, but you are more likely to wake up later in the night and have a hard time falling back asleep.

If you find these lifestyle changes don’t help, contact your primary care provider. They can help to provide you with an official sleep disorder diagnosis. Your provider may send you to a certified sleep physician for additional testing.

Kim Davis, APRN-CNP
Ringling Family Care

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