While many people will experience the occasional sleepless night, people with chronic insomnia deal with sleeplessness on a consistent basis. Unlike a temporary sleep problem caused by extra stress or an illness, chronic insomnia can last for years and does not necessarily link to any particular situation or problem. For people with chronic insomnia, every night can be a battle to get the rest their body requires.
Insomnia is characterized by an inability to go to sleep or to sleep through the night. Most adults require about eight hours of sleep per night; for a person suffering from insomnia, this level of rest seems impossible to achieve. While it is easy to imagine how tired a person can be after one night of sleeping poorly, the difficulty of handling daily life while suffering consistent or chronic insomnia is often understated. People with chronic insomnia may never feel completely awake; their job performance, memory, and even motor skills can suffer after a prolonged spell of sleepless nights.
The causes of chronic insomnia vary, and the condition may be caused by a combination of different factors. Many prescription medications can cause sleeplessness, as can caffeine, alcohol, and certain drugs. A high-stress lifestyle can also greatly contribute to chronic insomnia. Some illnesses or sleep disorders, such as the inability to maintain Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, can also contribute to the condition. In order to determine the cause of long-term insomnia, many patients seek help from doctors and sleep clinics.
By carefully studying sleep behavior, clinics may be able to offer explanations and solutions to people suffering from chronic insomnia. Solutions may require lifestyle changes, such as giving up coffee, and may include the use of sleep aids such as prescription drugs. Most importantly, medical professionals can help determine if the cause is primarily physical or psychological. If psychological, treatment such as hypnosis or cognitive behavior therapy may be recommended. If physical, solutions may require lifestyle changes, such as giving up coffee, and may include the use of sleep aids such as prescription drugs.
There are many ways to improve a person's lifestyle in order to promote healthy sleep. Cutting out caffeine and other stimulants can be extremely helpful in regulating rest. Many experts recommend that a person's bed should be used only for sleep or sex; eating and drinking, or in bed can potentially disrupt sleep. Additionally, care should be taken to make the bedroom a restful, orderly space where relaxation is simple. Daily exercise can also help by ensuring that the body is truly tired at bedtime.
If sleeplessness has become a constant struggle, it may be unwise to ignore the condition. A constantly exhausted person cannot function correctly, and may be a danger to themselves or other people. If stress-reducing techniques do nothing to improve sleeplessness, consider visiting a doctor as soon as possible. While a cure for chronic insomnia cannot be guaranteed, determining the cause of the condition can certainly help manage it. For the exhausted person, even a few more hours of comfortable sleep can seem like a dream come true.