Sleep and Insomnia: How to effectively manage insomnia
Sleep is a core physiological function that impacts many other important areas of functioning, including our energy, mood, appetite, motivation, concentration, and efficiency. The average adult needs 6 to 9 hours of sleep. Consistently getting less than 6 hours per night leads to a range of health consequences, and consistently getting more than 9 hours leads to excessive lethargy and fatigue. Unfortunately, one-third of people struggle with chronic sleep difficulties that affect their sleep, the most common sleep problem being insomnia. Here are some facts about sleep and insomnia to help you get started on your journey toward better sleep.
What is Insomnia?
Insomnia is characterized by difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep and/or early morning awakening. Individuals with insomnia feel unrefreshed upon awakening and feel fatigued during the day. Insomnia can be acute (short term) or chronic (long term).
How to Manage Insomnia (acute)
Acute Insomnia – meaning it’s short term, typically tied to a short-term life situation or circumstance, and sleep generally improves when the stressor has resolved. Acute insomnia can often be effectively managed by implementing good sleep hygiene principles.
How to Manage Insomnia (chronic)
Chronic Insomnia – meaning it’s lasting a few weeks or even a few months. The most effective treatment for chronic insomnia is cognitive behavioural therapy (or CBT) – which focuses on targeting thoughts and worries about sleep as well as treating other anxiety or mood issues that may be contributing. CBT is delivered by psychologists and clinical counsellors.
If you’re looking for support with ongoing sleep problems and wish to speak to a counsellor, sign up for a referral with Dr. Joti Samra, R.Psych & Associates.
If you’re dealing with chronic insomnia, it’s always wise to see a family physician to rule out any physiological contributors. However, keep in mind that sleep medications, while effective in the short-term, often make chronic sleep problems worse in the long-term – and CBT and sleep hygiene is the best-recommended approach.
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