Can't Sleep? What to do about insomnia

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January 20, 2010

Can't Sleep? What to do about insomnia

You know you have insomnia when you have difficulty falling asleep, wake up frequently during the night, wake up too early in the morning and suffer from daytime sleepiness.

Although insomnia is a disorder in its own right, it is often a symptom of some other disease or condition. Stress, worry, pain and jet lag are some factors that contribute to insomnia.

There are many ways to treat and cope with insomnia. Creating a record of your sleep habits for two weeks and discussing your findings with your doctor is a good first step. Your doctor may recommend behavioral therapy or medication to help you with your sleep.

Behavioral therapy may include creating a sleep environment that promotes sleep and the use of relaxation techniques. Medical treatment is often in the form of prescription sleep aids that promote sleep and are called hypnotics. If your doctor chooses to prescribe a sleep aid for you, it will depend on your age, diagnosis, medical condition, and use of alcohol or other drugs.