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Posted by: Georgi 

Insomnia is a health condition that is more prevalent than many people realize. Statistics show that over 40million people in the US alone suffer from chronic insomnia (a condition that lasts for over 30 days). Further, 20million people suffer from alternating periods of insomnia. There is enough evidence to believe that women are more at risk of suffering from insomnia than their male counterparts, so are overweight/ obese people and adults.

It is further estimated that over 75% cases of chronic insomnia is as a result of chronic pain disorder, and would mostly occur in people with psychiatric conditions. Mental health problems tend to have a direct relation with insomnia. Conditions such as anxiety, depression, and stress are all related to insomnia and on the other end of the equation; insomnia is known to worsen depression and stress. It is no wonder that over half of the people suffering from insomnia blame it on anxiety and stress.

Do you find yourself under intense stress thus finding it hard to fall asleep, stay asleep as you would normally? Do you wake up frequently than normal or wake up way before your normal wake-up time? Chances are quite high you are suffering from a condition known as stress-induced insomnia. If you suffer from extended insomnia periods, you risk compromising your efficiency and performance in class, at work and makes you slow to reactions such as driving.

Prolonged insomnia cases also lead to obesity, compromised immunity and will make you more susceptible to long-term life threatening diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease.

Causes of insomnia in senior citizens
- Depression
- Too much stress
- Alcohol
- Caffeine
- Chain smoking
- Physical pain or discomfort
- Napping frequently during the day
- Jet lag
- Too much time spend in bed
- Going to sleep very early in the morning
- An uncomfortable sleeping environment

Diseases associated with insomnia
- Restless leg syndrome
- Diabetes
- Hypoglycemia
- Kidney disease
- Hyperthyroidism
- Asthma
- Arthritis
- Sleep apnea

When one is anxious or stressed over something, they tend to lie awake during the night as they try to wrestle in an effort to find a solution to their problem. This could become a habit which could lead to chronic insomnia. While depression is a known cause of insomnia, some people who are depressed can also respond with an opposite reaction by sleeping too much so they don’t face their problem, or in an effort to escape from the reality.

Lifestyle choices such as poor eating habits i.e. eating a very large meal when you are just about to retire to bed can also lead to insomnia. Still on point, eating a large meal of spicy or greasy foods can also worsen the condition. Caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine are known drugs where alcohol is a known depressant that will interrupt and disrupt a normal sleeping pattern. Nicotine and caffeine on the other hand are stimulants that will keep you awake for the better part of the night.

Did you know that lack of exercise can also lead to insomnia? By exercising, you are improving your quality of sleep while at the same time relieving your stress. Something as simple as walking, swimming, jogging, taking the stairs etc can significantly improve the quality of your sleep. Pain in different parts of the body, carrying on excess weight, otherwise known as ambulatory restrictions such as complications while walking, climbing or going down the stairs, and sitting are common examples of ambulatory restrictions.

How to treat insomnia
Luckily, there are several ways you can treat insomnia. There are so many Over-the-counter medications, and also prescription medications that have proven effective in treating insomnia and related symptoms. Alternatively, if you are not into using sleep medications, you can opt for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), a therapy that has proven very effective in treating depression and related conditions.

One thing though that you should is that insomnia on itself isn’t a disease but it is always a symptom of a serious underlying health condition. As such, there are several lifestyle changes and some home remedies that you can use to treat and cure this condition.
- First you should stick to a regular bedtime schedule so your body can be trained when it is time to sleep
- Avoid stress and anxiety and worry as much as you can. Well, this is easier said than done but you can always go for relaxation and meditation techniques such as yoga
- Workout early in the day so you can reduce stress throughout the day as you prepare for a deep sleep later on in the night
- Take good care of yourself by getting support from friends and family, reducing your intake of alcohol, nicotine and caffeine especially a few hours before bedtime.

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