What if you couldnít fall asleep or stay asleep? Imagine how frustrating it would be to have a good nightís sleep elude you. Maybe you donít have to imagine. If you have Attention Deficit Disorder, the chances are high that you have battled insomnia at some point in your life. What do you know about insomnia?
Insomnia can be classified by its reasons for onset and duration. When most people think of insomnia, they think of the type that lasts for years. People cannot go to sleep a lot of the time. If they are able to get to sleep, they canít stay asleep. This type of insomnia is called chronic insomnia when it lasts for more than a month. Acute insomnia lasts for less than a month. Sometimes lifeís stress can cause sleep problems. When these last less than a week, it is called transient insomnia.
Insomnia goes beyond just not being able to fall asleep. There are several types of insomnia. Primary insomnia is insomnia for no discernable reason. It is not associated with health problems. Secondary insomnia is associated with health problems, sometimes involving pain. Insomnia can cause problems getting to sleep. Some folks with insomnia can get to sleep, but they donít stay asleep. Sometimes with insomnia, people have a poor quality of sleep and are chronically tired. Another group of people may perceive that they have insomnia, but when they keep careful records of the time it takes to get to sleep and how much sleep that they have had, they find that they do not really have insomnia.
A sleep journal is helpful when you have insomnia. It might aid in pinpointing reasons why the problem is occurring. A medical professional who is trying to unravel the riddle of your insomnia could be guided by careful documentation of the insomnia.
The latest research shows that adolescents with ADHD have a greater prevalence of sleep problems than their peers who donít have Attention Deficit Disorder. In one study, 17% of children in the study who were diagnosed with ADHD had primary insomnia. It was believed that the lack of sleep exacerbated their negative symptoms of ADHD. These included impaired school performance and inattention.
Another study with over 3,000 participants shows that there may be a genetic factor in insomnia. They found that the risk of having insomnia was 67% higher if a member, or several members, of the family had insomnia. When more members of the family had insomnia, then the risk for having insomnia rose with each successive member.
What can be done about insomnia? There are several common sense things that you might do for sleep problems:
* Develop good sleep hygiene. This is called a sleep routine. Start preparing to go to sleep several hours before your bedtime. Stop drinking caffeine earlier in the day. After dinner, floss and brush your teeth. Let your mind and body know that it is time for bed.
*You might practice some relaxation imagery or meditation if you have trouble with intrusive thoughts.
* Make sure that the room is restful. This means that the bed, pillows, and covers are comfortable. Adjust the room temperature. Open a window for a bit of fresh air.
*Wear comfortable night clothes. If your body is sticky from the dayís work, then have a warm shower or bath.
* Take time to relax. When you are having major difficulty getting to sleep, soaking in a hot bath for about half of an hour can be helpful. It helps the blood vessels open up, and lets your body feel relaxed and ready for sleep. Towel off quickly, get into your pajamas, and go right to bed.
* Sometimes a light, low calorie snack helps, but be sure to brush your teeth afterwards.
* Take the television, video games, and computers out of the room. Make your bedroom a room for sleeping. I know that this is hard for teens, but it is important. When the games are calling to you, sleep can lose out.
* Try resetting your internal sleep clock if you are unable to change your work hours. When you are up all night, you need to continue to stay up until it is time to go to sleep the next night. No naps, please! Then follow the above steps, and see if you are able to reset your internal sleep settings. Be careful operating heavy machinery and doing complex tasks that require either judgment or timing. In other words, don't drive, make life-changing decisions, sign legal papers, or take skiing lessons when you are sleep deprived!
* If you have problems with noise in the house or outside the house, get a white noise machine. A noisy household made me sleep deprived. I turn our white noise generator on before bedtime, and I sleep well.
Why should you be concerned about insomnia? The body is a wonderful biological machine with chemical processes that go on throughout the day and night. When you donít get adequate sleep, the chemical processes go out of sync. The body cannot repair itself if you donít get enough sleep. Stress hormones can go out of control, which can perpetuate insomnia. This can lead to falling asleep at the wheel when you are driving. Inattention at work can put your job at risk.
Maybe you sleep better during the day and are lively at night. Some people with Attention Deficit Disorder seem to be wired that way. What can you do when your biological schedule is opposite from the rest of the worldís? This may sound drastic. Rearrange your schedule to sleep when it suits you. I know several people who work the night shift because they donít sleep well at night. Their internal sleep clock is set for the daytime hours.
Insomnia is a psychological and physical hazard. It affects all parts of our lives. If what you have done to help your insomnia has not helped, consult a medical professional. There may be an underlying health problem that you are not aware of. Also, medical professionals have some pharmacological aids that might help you work through the insomnia. Donít just suffer in silence. Insomnia is not an imaginary problem. It is real. You deserve the quality of life that enjoying a good nightís sleep can bring.
If noise is the problem, a white noise machine might be the soothing solution. Ours is invaluable. Here is a link to find out more.
Marpac 980A Sound Screen Sleep Conditioner White Noise Generator Dual Speed