Your Natural Sleep Routine by Dr. Millie Lytle ND, CNS.

Your Natural Sleep Routine by Dr. Millie Lytle ND, CNS.

Written by Millie Lytle ND, MPH, CNS

If you have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep, you may have insomnia. There are two types of insomnia – sleep onset disorder or sleep maintenance disorder. If you experience either of these, there is good news; you are not alone and natural remedies might greatly help you.

What is Insomnia?

The term insomnia is both a symptom and a cause. Lack of sleep is a symptom of a greater emotional or lifestyle problem, and it is also a risk factor for even more chronic problems to come1. Thus, insomnia has been thought of as both a symptom and a sign. In order to be diagnosed with insomnia, sleep difficulty must occur at least 3 times per week and must be a problem for at least 1 month. A general consensus, developed from population-based studies, report that approximately 30% of a variety of adult samples drawn from different countries report one or more of the symptoms of insomnia: difficulty initiating sleep, difficulty maintaining sleep, waking up too early, and in some cases, nonrestorative or poor quality of sleep. If this sounds like you, and you have been diagnosed with insomnia, it may be worth looking at options on how to get a better nights sleep. Many people use medication to be rid of the symptoms of insomnia. Chronic insomnia is even more prevalent and affects approximately 30% of the general population. Severe insomnia that leads to perceived daytime impairment or distress as a function of the insomnia symptoms results in approximately 10% prevalence of insomnia1. Approximately 40% of adults with insomnia also have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder – most notably depression1. Insomnia impairs cognitive and physical functioning and is associated with a wide range of impaired daytime functions across a number of emotional, social, and physical domains. Compared with good sleepers, people with persistent sleep disturbances are more prone to accidents, have higher rates of work absenteeism, diminished job performance, decreased quality of life, and increased health care utilization. Various risk factors associated with increased prevalence of chronic insomnia include older age, female gender, and comorbid (accompanying) medical and psychiatric conditions.

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