Insomnia is the inability to sleep through the night for most nights, for at least one month. Insomnia includes being unable to fall asleep, waking during the night or being unable to go back to sleep. Chronic insomnia is a serious health problem that needs attention. Most adults feel refreshed if they are able to get 8 hours of sleep per night. Other factors that may lead to insomnia are restless legs syndrome and sleep apnoea. Sleep apnoea is a condition where a person ceases breathing for a period of time, and is then awakened by their resulting lower level of oxygen, startled and gasping.
Causes of chronic insomnia: depression, anxiety, stress, grief, arthritis, asthma, hypoglycaemia, indigestion, muscle aches, Parkinson’s disease, caffeine consumption prior to sleeping, jet lags, drugs (e.g. appetite suppressants, anti-seizure medications), sedentary lifestyle and nutritional deficiencies.
Symptoms: decreased ability to perform tasks, personality changes, decreased productivity, inappropriate sleepiness and dozing off while talking or driving.
Who to consult: Dietician, GP, herbalist, homoeopath, meditation practitioner, naturopath, sleep therapist, pharmacist, psychologist, yoga practitioner.