Patient Education

Millions of people with chronic sleep problems dream of returning to the days when they could sleep like a baby. Research shows 40 percent of individuals have difficulty sleeping a few times per week, while one in three individuals say insomnia strikes nearly every night. Although insomnia is the most common complaint, other sleep disorders can have adverse effects and may initially go undiagnosed.

When insomnia Becomes Serious
As we all know, transient insomnia can follow a stressful event in life, such as death in the family. Insomnia is actually considered to be a physiologic response to grief. However, in some individuals, this problem can turn into a chronic insomnia (defined as sleeplessness that lasts for three months or more), and they may develop habits that perpetuate their inability to sleep. For example, an individual may begin to fear going to bed and will actually have “performance anxiety” associated with his or her inability to sleep. The thought of nighttime then turns into a nightmare itself. It is recommended that anyone with transient insomnia seek medical attention before the condition becomes chronic, as the latter is more difficult to treat.

Lack of sleep can have serious consequences. Research has shown that people who are sleep deprived perform as poorly on driving tasks as those who are operating at the legal alcohol limit.

Insomniacs that have sleep problems fall into three categories:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Problems with sleep maintenance
  • Early rising (waking up at 3 a.m., for example)