Insomnia – Not a Performance Boost

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December 20, 2010

Insomnia – Not a Performance Boost

International movie star Angelina Jolie recently credited her ability to juggle parenting 6 children, a thriving career as an actress and her humanitarian work to having insomnia. In an interview with The Independent , Jolie acknowledged, "I really don't get much sleep, but I fortunately don't need much. Insomnia has become a bonus." Insomnia is not a bonus for most Americans – in fact, it is the most common sleep complaint and can be either acute, lasting one to several nights, or chronic, even lasting months to years. Insomnia can be a serious medical condition characterized by difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep (waking up often during the night and having trouble going back to sleep), waking up too early in the morning or feeling tired upon waking. Decreased work performance, depression or mood changes and an increased risk of automotive crashes are among the consequences of insomnia. But there is hope for Angelina Jolie and the millions of Americans suffering from insomnia– the condition is treatable. Treatment options include:

  1. Behavioral therapy is offered typically by a psychologist, psychiatrist or other health practitioner or counselor with specialized training.
  2. Stimulus control, which trains people to use their bed and bedroom for sleep and sex only.
  3. Cognitive therapy, which is conducted with a therapist who helps the patient with attitudes and beliefs that may contribute to poor sleep.
  4. Relaxation training, which often involves reducing tension and muscular relaxation techniques.
  5. Over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription sleep aids may also help with insomnia.

Talk to your healthcare professional if you have any trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep and to properly diagnose insomnia symptoms .