If you suspect there’s a biological component to your insomnia, you’re probably right. Although talk about insomnia is mostly confined to situational triggers as well as habits and attitudes that keep insomnia alive, all models of chronic insomnia assume the existence of predisposing factors. Some of these factors may be inherited at birth.
What evidence is there for genetic involvement in insomnia, and where might it lead? A review published recently in Brain Sciences brings us up to date.
Let’s say you go to the doctor hoping to get a prescription for sleeping pills to relieve your insomnia. You’ve been through cognitive behavioral therapy and it has helped. But there are nights when you’re wound up so tightly that nothing—push-ups, meditation, a hot bath—will calm you down enough so you can get a decent night’s sleep. What then?
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recently released a clinical practice guideline for the medical treatment of chronic insomnia in adults. Here’s what the academy now recommends.
About 44% of people with insomnia also have a mental illness such as depression or generalized anxiety. So it’s no surprise that in healthy female college students there’s a relationship between sleep and mood, or affect.
But just what that relationship is—and how normal variations in sleep and affect might morph into insomnia and/or a mood disorder—hasn’t been established. Here’s what researchers at Kent State University and Henry Ford Hospital have found out.
If you have chronic insomnia, you may have developed anxiety about sleep. I had lots of sleep-related anxiety until I went through sleep restriction. Once my sleep stabilized, the anxiety disappeared.
Studies have shown that cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) is modestly effective at controlling anxiety. It’s FDA approved and widely used in the armed forces for anxiety, PTSD, insomnia, and depression.
Back when my insomnia was chronic, I had a lot of scary dreams. They left me with a pounding heart and fear that could keep me awake for a couple of hours.
Surprisingly little is known about the dreams of people with insomnia. So when a new article about insomnia sufferers’ dreams came out in Sleep Medicine, I snapped it up.
I went to my family physician for a routine physical last week. I hadn’t had one in a while, so I decided to get the exam and requisitions for the usual blood work.
This doctor is one whose opinions I respect. But I never hesitate to speak up when information I have leads me to question those opinions. One topic we’ve had discussions about is insomnia and sleeping pills.
Rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep) is when most dreams occur. Episodes of REM sleep also help defuse negative emotions and improve the learning of motor skills.
Until recently, insomnia wasn’t thought to be a problem of REM sleep. Insomnia, the thinking went, was caused mainly by phenomena occurring—or failing to occur—during quiet, or non-REM, sleep: insufficient deep sleep, for example, or wake-like activity occurring in other stages of non-REM sleep, resulting in insufficient or poor sleep.
In the past few years, though, REM sleep has become a suspect in the quest to identify what causes people to wake up frequently in the middle of the night and too early in the morning. (This type of insomnia is called sleep maintenance insomnia). Here’s more about this intriguing proposition.