Insomnia

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Articles on Insomnia or Sleeplessness

Most people spend a third of their lives sleeping.  It is no wonder that complaints about difficulty getting to sleep, staying asleep, or getting enough rest from sleep are very common.  "Normal" sleep leaves one refreshed the next day.  Continuous laboratory measurement of brain waves, eye movements, and muscle activity discloses that different stages of sleep (for example, light, dreaming, or deep sleep) appear in predictable sequence each night.  People who sleep with satisfaction sleep about the same total number of hours from week to week.  Some people get along on six hours a night, while others need nine hours, although both may sleep "normally".  The elderly, in particular, are sometimes preoccupied by their apparent lack of sleep.  The normal 85-year-old spends about one fifth of the night in wakefulness.  This normal lessening in the soundness of sleep, however, does not correlate much with the complaint of insomnia.

 

Some doctors define insomnia as sleeping less than six hours a night or taking more than 45 minutes to fall asleep.  Others insist that only a record of sleep obtained in a laboratory can conclusively diagnose inadequate sleep.  There are people who sleep more than they think they do when studied in a laboratory that records sleep stages with electrical equipment.  However, I feel that if a person complains that he sleeps too little, he deserves to be helped, regardless of the recordings.  It does one little good to be told that his laboratory tests are normal if he nevertheless feels he sleeps poorly all the time.

 

  1. Common Causes of Insomnia

 

 

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