What is Insomnia?

Insomnia is difficulty initiating and/or maintaining sleep, or the perception of poor sleep. Insomnia could include: difficulty falling asleep, waking up too early in the morning, or waking up often during the night time. If you or someone that you know suffers from insomnia, make sure to see a physician to see if there is a physiological cause that needs to be ruled out.

Causes of Insomnia

Acute insomnia includes:

New stress ( such as a death of a loved one or changes in work)
•Jet lag
•Drug or alcohol use
•Emotional or physical discomfort.
•Uncomfortable room temperature
•Excessive or unpleased noise in the room
•Some medications (such as anti-depressants) may interfere with sleep.

Causes of Chronic or Long-Term Insomnia
•Other mental illness such as schizophrenia

Other Causes of Insomnia
•Stimulants associated with poor sleep include caffeine and nicotine used prior to bedtime.
•Some people use alcohol as a way to help them to sleep. This just disrupts sleeps patterns.

Insomnia Treatment

Treatment for chronic insomnia involves first treating any primary states/triggers or health conditions that are causing the insomnia.

•Try not to take naps during the day, unless directed by your doctor
•Learn to relax. Do some deep breathing or muscle relaxation. Soothing music could be useful as well
•Avoid stimulants like caffeine, nicotine, chocolate, and alcohol late in the day.
• Create a routine. For example, read a book prior to going to bed. Try to go to sleep at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning.
•Use your bed for sleep or sex only
•Reduce fluids after dinner time
•If you’re having ruminating thoughts in bed, get up and journal so that it gets off your mind and goes down on paper. You could also try writing a “to do list” so you don’t have to worry about those things.
•Don’t force yourself to sleep. Go to bed when you are sleepy
•Make sure you make your bedroom as relaxed as you can for yourself. For example, make sure the room temperature is comfortable.
•Get regular exercise. Refrain from exercising a couple hours before bedtime since exercise is stimulating.

Author's Bio: 

I provide therapeutic services for adults, teens, children, couples, and families. I believe in people's ability to learn about themselves. I help them discover the critical connections between their past and present, their core beliefs, and the impossible expectations of their perfect self that restrict their freedom to be who they really are! I believe people have the answers to their own life challenges, but that life events, stress, tragedy, illness, or other factors, at times, interfere and block the ability to find the answers needed. As your therapist, I will work with you to help you remove those blocks and enhance your true potential.

I received my Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University, and a Bachelors degree in Psychology and Women's Studies from UC Santa Barbara. I have a wide range of experience with a variety of populations and cultures. I have a lot of experience working with trauma (sexual, neglect, emotional, physical abuse, etc), grief & loss, depression, anxiety, relationship issues, self esteem issues, etc.