3. Early morning waking
occurs in depression.
4. Phase/shift disorders
normal sleep duration but at abnormal times of the day.
5. Cyclical insomnia
due to drugs or alcohol abuse.
How is insomnia treated?
Acute or short tern insomnia may not require treatment. If your insomnia makes it hard to function
during the day because you are sleepy and tired, your G.P. may prescribe sleeping pills
for a short period of time. The rapid onset, short acting medications now available do not have
as many side effects of older medications. Some medications become less effective after several
weeks of use and long term safety and effectiveness of sleeping tablets is not yet known.
Treatment for chronic insomnia includes first treating any underlying conditions or health problems
that are causing the insomnia. Your G.P. may prescribe sleeping tablets or behavioural
therapy which focuses on changing habits which may exacerbate the insomnia. Such as reducing
external noise factors, this can mean insulating windows against noise or using earplugs,
or changing pillows and bedding if this prevents you from sleeping, avoidance of caffine
during the evening and not using any form of stimulants. Most medications including those
available over the counter have side effects and must be used with caution.
Natural treatments for insomnia include: acupuncture, herbal remedies, reflexology, aromatherapy,
hypnosis and relaxation therapy. These techniques are much less damaging to
the body and do have a limited success but none has shown consistent results with all types
Circadian rhythm and melatonin.
The body's’ circadian rhythm
(biological body clock), which
determines when you sleep and
when you wake is controlled by a
hormone call melatonin– which in
turn is released by the pea sized
pineal gland buried deep in the
brain. As with other hormones,
levels of melatonin decrease with
age, so that by age 60 your body
produces half the amount of melatonin
it did when your were age 20.
The pineal gland is sensitive to outside influences such as environmental pollution, stress, illness
and other hormonal changes these can reduce the levels of melatonin produced by the
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