Just when do you regard an insomnia symptom as needing attention?
After family and friends give a lot of urging and encouragement, many people finally and reluctantly seek the help of a medical professional.
Isn’t is a strange quirk of human behaviour that often the individual who is in the front line encouraging someone else to seek medical attention fails to do so themselves when they are faced with the same problem.
How can you get a balance and know when to seek or recommend medical attention or just give the problem time and see if it rectifies itself?
Webster’s Dictionary defines insomnia as: “prolonged and usually abnormal inability to obtain adequate sleep.”
The U.S. National Institute Of Health categorizes insomnia this way:
Transient insomnia is just a temporary sleep problem lasting a few days or even a couple of weeks.
If the temporary sleep problem, lasting just a few days or at the most a couple of weeks, comes back at fairly regular intervals, it is known as intermittent insomnia.
Chronic insomnia is when a person is unable to obtain adequate sleep most nights which goes on for a month and longer.
So with those categories in mind, you can now see where your disturbed sleep pattern fits in.
If it falls into categories 1 and 2 it is unlikely to be serious.
This temporary bout with insomnia can often be alleviated by over the counter medications or some natural remedies to improve sleep duration.
Apart from a good bedtime routine, natural sleep enhancers include such things as an exercise routine, breathing exercises, chromotherapy, stress relievers, music, warm baths, lavender, valerian, chamomile, diet, vitamins and herbs.
These options may be sufficient for the minor insomnia symptom or symptoms you are concerned about.
Of course, any medication, whether it is over-the-counter or prescribed can have side effects and a user is wise to check with a medical practitioner, especially if the individual is already using other medications.
Chronic insomnia is as the category suggests – chronic! A person can be severely affected if they go for many weeks without proper sleep. It can have a major impact on one’s social life, quality of life in general, and of course, one’s level of performance at work.
Medical attention is strongly advised for chronic insomnia. A doctor may be able to identify an underlying medical or psychological cause for the insomnia symptom and set out a course of treatment that will deal with it.
You may be prescribed medicine, or the doctor may recommend other therapies such as reconditioning, relaxation, or sleep restriction.
In conclusion, use the 3 category strategy above to decide whether the insomnia symptom you or a loved one is dealing with is merely temporary. If it falls into category 1 or category 2, it can probably be overcome after a short time, either with the help of medication or some natural remedies.
If it appears however that category 3 describes the insomnia symptom you are experiencing, treat it seriously. Make an appointment with your doctor and deal with it right away.