The Road To Understanding Insomnia Starts Here

First off, if you're having trouble sleeping right now and need help, click the links below for some immediate solutions.
If you're still reading, I thought I would take the time in this post to further help wrap our minds around insomnia. You see, contrary to popular belief, insomnia is a symptom, not a disease. It usually occurs in relation to a variety of medical, psychiatric and physiological disorders. Complaining of insomnia usually means you are upset by the following:
  • difficulty falling asleep
  • sleeping too lightly
  • having multiple spontaneous awakenings
  • early awakenings with an inability to fall back to sleep
It is important to assess the timing of insomnia in order to determine its' cause and origin. When you suffer from persistent sleeplessness it is crucial to define exactly how the condition is effecting you, being as specific as possible. This is why it is very important that each patient defines to the best of their ability what he or she means by the term “insomnia”.
Research has found that patients with insomnia show a variety of consistent features. They are more likely to have:
  • higher rate of depression and depressive and/or anxiety issues
  • longer daytime sleep latency (unable to rest during the day)
  • an increased 24 hour metabolic rate
  • more night to night variability in their sleep (irregular sleeping patterns)

A Natural Approach To Insomnia Cures

Most of the masses suffering from sleeping disorders like insomnia are not always ready to take the plunge and get a prescription sleeping aid, either due to the many side effects (outlined in this post), or because they have understated the problem. People often trick themselves into believing insomnia is a condition that can be handled "on their own", using insomnia cures such as warm milk or a hot bath. By doing so they are ignoring that the problem may be a simple physiological issue, and therefore completely beyond their control.

There is one hormone, melatonin, that is naturally produced within our bodies to trigger the sleep cycle. It occurs according to our body clock - or circadian rhythm - and is triggered by the fading daily light. With technology now allowing us to prepare synthetic versions of this hormone, we can now self-administer melatonin to make use of its' many health benefits. Conveniently for this article, one of the health benefits is it's known curative quality for insomnia.

Melatonin is said to have anti aging benefits, and it has also been touted as one of the most powerful non-narcotic solution for fighting against depression and anxiety. These surprising benefits are not endorsed by many medical organizations, due to a limited base of study. Having said that, anything is worth trying once or twice before going down the road to pharmaceuticals. So if you are wondering whether or not melatonin can help you fall asleep, let me do my best to show you how to get the most bang for your buck.

Taking Melatonin

When it comes to taking melatonin you need to be sure that you don’t overdo it, or you will interfere with the body’s own ability to create it. 1 to 3 mg is an optimum dosage, administering every second sleepless night. If you take too much for too long, your body is tricked into believing that melatonin is already in your system, and will shut down its' own natural production. Doctors normally recommend not to ever exceed 5mg of melatonin for more than one dosage, so that your naturally producing melatonin can stay regulated without interruption.

Why Is My Body Not Producing Melatonin?

As I eluded to before, melatonin begins production as light fades, during the normal sleep/wake cycle. The circadian rhythm is roughly a 24 hour cycle, wherein most of our physiological functions complete their daily routines, according to a natural rhythm. This cycle is not exclusive to us. Plants, animals, and even micro-organisms have a natural rhythmic cycle. Having said that, you may wonder why we sometimes fail to produce something that seems as natural as blinking. Outlined below are just a few of the reasons why this happens:

  • Exposure to an unnatural level of artificial light.
  • Using a sun tanning bed after 3pm.
  • Bright night time activities - such as clubbing, concerts, sports games, e.t.c...
  • Night lights, TV's, even low level lamps, when trying to sleep, can have a surprisingly negative effect on your body clock.
  • Shift work.

In order to combat this attack on your hormones and get a good night's rest, artificially increasing your melatonin with preparations like Alteril or Melatonex (click the links to purchase) can help normalize your production to a standard level, thus regulating your sleeping cycles and patterns. A normalized sleep/wake cycle can go along way to alleviate insomnia symptoms.

Although I mentioned that there is no standardized tests to prove melatonins' worth, in my experience it is a remarkably efficient insomnia cure - in certain cases. In fact there are times when it can seem like a miracle cure, due to it's obvious targeted nature. I can't impress upon you enough to at least try it first as a possible treatment, before rushing to the GP for a prescription solution. It may be that all you need is to normalize your hormones and not ever succumb to the potential dangers and side effects of pharmaceuticals.

Sleeping Pills. Insomnia Cure Or Bad Medicine?

Sleeping disorders are more and more common in today's adult population. For complex reasons such as long working hours, and other economic stresses, it is now estimated that almost 25% of the adult population suffers some kind of sleeping difficulty. Slumber issues without the necessary insomnia cures can wreak havoc on a person's life by making them visibly irritable at work, by not allowing their body a chance to revitalize itself, and by making it increasingly harder to stay alert during the day - especially when driving long distances or performing otherwise complex and potentially dangerous tasks.

As pharmacological treatments evolve, people now turn to prescription sleeping aids as a quick "get it and forget it" fix to assist them in getting the sleep they need. Taken correctly and as prescribed, there is no reason to believe they can’t be extremely beneficial to you. Taken habitually however, or over-medicating from the prescribed dosage, these medications can have extremely hazardous side effects that can enhance the insomnia, instead of providing relief. Below you will find a comparison between the risks and benefits of prescription sleeping aids so that you can be well informed and well armed before heading off to your doctor.

The Benefits of Sleeping Aids

For starters you need to understand that sleeping pills are not bad. They are not spawned from the lab of some evil corporation, and they do not necessarily cause you to become a drooling, addicted mess. They also do not - necessarily - cause hangover-like symptoms, which is a very common complaint. Having said that, they can be all of that and more, when not used correctly. The truth is that prescription sleeping pills have helped millions of American every year who suffer from sleeping disorders, such as transient and chronic insomnia. It is a multi-million dollar a year business because they are an effective - but temporary - relief.

Sleep inducing meds are used to slow down the neurological activity in your brain, enabling you to fall asleep much easier then you would naturally. They depress the central nervous system which inevitably causes the sleepy feelings to take hold and facilitate unconsciousness. It is said that with people with strong neural activity routinely find it harder to fall away to slumber, some regularly complaining of chronic bouts of insomnia. Sleeping pills are extremely effective at slowing down this neural activity - thus inducing sleep.

When you’re taking sleep medications you are most likely to fall asleep, in most cases, within 15 to 30 minutes - with the added benefit of preventing frequent awakenings during the night. These awakenings exist as a form of insomnia in and of itself, and the condition can be just as frustrating as the initial onset of insomnia. This is normally because it is harder to get back to sleep after waking abruptly. Having said that, sometimes frequent awakenings are a result of other medical conditions, such as sleep apnea, and worth a proper diagnosis.

The Risks of Sleeping Pills

As effective as these medications can be, they still come with side effects. It's a virtual guarantee that over time your body will begin to build a tolerance to them, leaving you to require consistently higher dosages to get the same result you experienced from the initial administration.

One psychological component of dependency to sleep medication is that you begin to feel it's impossible to sleep without the drug. This is based within the physiology of the drug's co-relation to your ever increasing tolerance. At this point the exacerbated condition becomes "hyper insomnia", and will continue until your body has successfully weaned from the medication.

In effect, by treating the symptom of insomnia and not the cause of said condition, you will have become more and more dependent on an increasingly less effective drug. This is why treating insomnia with prescription pills is normally used as strictly a short term solution (between 3 and 5 days). The insomnia itself must be investigated with other diagnostic methods (such as a polysomnogram/ sleep study), for more healthy and appropriate treatments to begin.

Weaning from a dependence to sleeping pills can also cause feelings of depression, along with the aforementioned hyper insomnia. These medications were never meant to be taken long term, except in the most egregious cases, because the metabolism of the brain becomes less responsive to the effects, very quickly. The other withdrawal symptoms range from dry mouth, increased daytime drowsiness, and nausea. There are certain drugs now in development, that are said to have no quantifiable dependence/abuse side effects. One such medication is already on the market and is branded as Lunesta, otherwise known as Eszopiclone. While this new treatment shows promise, it's effectiveness and corresponding side effects are still being studied.

As you can see, prescription sleeping pills can be of great benefit to you - for short term treatment, or they can cause you more trouble then they are worth - if you don’t have the discipline to use them as directed. Visit Insomnia Cures if you feel like you need more information on sleeping pills, or for any questions or comments about the horrible condition of insomnia. Remember, your ultimate goal should be to become completely independent from prescription drugs, thus tackling the condition and not the symptom.