Enduring the sleepless struggle

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Tossing and turning all night, wondering when you’re going to fall asleep is never fun. Falling asleep in class is not a joy, either. These are just a few of the turmoils that insomniacs, such as myself, have to endure.

Before seeing a doctor, I didn’t want to address the state of my insomnia, not convinced that it was a big issue. Who really thinks that being awake for a few hours is a serious problem? That was my rationale. As I soon learned, it was a serious issue. When my insomnia began to interfere with my academic performances and attendance in my early morning classes, I knew that I had to confront the issue.

Insomnia, which is defined as a habitual sleeplessness and an inability to sleep, estimated to effect 3.3 million Canadians ages fifteen and older in 2002. The amount of sleep for an individual can fluctuate from losing five to eight hours of sleep a night.

The causes of insomnia can vary from a variety of sources. The cause of insomnia can be short-term factors, such as jetlag and changes in environment or psychological causes like stress, depression and anxiety. And for some, insomnia can just be a natural imbalance.

When I finally got my insomnia checked out by my doctor, she had determined that my body did not know how to reproduce melatonin. Melatonin is a naturally occurring compound found in humans, which helps to standardize sleep.

Although I now take a natural remedy to jumpstart the melatonin intake in my body and my sleep is improving, insomnia is still a very real issue that needs to be properly addressed, especially for students.

Studies have shown that insomnia often develops for university students, who are often overwhelmed with academic stress and social pressures while simultaneously adjusting to a new environment. The transition from living at home, where the environment is familiar, to living either in a residence or student housing, can often be stressful for both the body and mind. This leads to unnerved sleep disturbances that have the potential to become a serious issue.

If trouble sleeping continues to be an issue for longer than three to four weeks, it is recommended that a visit to the doctor be made. When lack of sleep persists for an extensive time period, it begins to interfere with a person’s daytime activities and ability to function in their working environment. Even if the cause of the insomnia is a result of an underlying personal or psychological issue, it still needs to be addressed as it has the potential to be a root cause of the sleep disorder.

A person will not be hospitalized for most types of insomnia. However, accidents may still be a result of incompetent coordination and attention lapse seen with slumber dispossession.

Not all sleep disorders have to be resolved through the use of doctor visits and a plethora of questionable prescriptions. There are several cognitive behavioural therapies that have been proven to further improve distorted sleep disorders.

Try to avoid drinking caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea and soft drinks in the late afternoon, as caffeine will only increase the possibility of being up all night. To avoid bringing worries into bed, meditation and muscle relaxation therapies are excellent natural sources of falling asleep. By relaxing as much as possible, sleep will be easier to maneuver.

I’m not saying that insomnia is an easy thing to handle; it has both physical and emotional effects. I’m also not saying that insomnia is the hardest thing to handle either. If you address the symptoms early and consult a doctor, insomnia will be easy to defeat.

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