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Insomnia Treatment: Sleep Aids and Stimulants

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What is insomnia and what causes it?

Insomnia is difficulty falling or staying asleep, the absence of restful sleep, or poor quality of sleep. Insomnia is a symptom and not a disease. The most common causes of insomnia are:

Insomnia can also be caused by poor sleeping habits such as excessive daytime naps or caffeine consumption and poor sleep hygiene.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine estimates 30% of adults have some symptoms of insomnia, 10% have insomnia symptoms so severe they cause consequences such as daytime sleepiness, and less than 10% have chronic insomnia.

Insomnia may be classified by how long the symptoms are present.

  • Transient insomnia usually is due to situational changes such as travel, extreme climate changes, and stressful events. It lasts for less than a week or until the stressful event is resolved.
  • Short-term insomnia usually is due to ongoing stressful lifestyle or events, medication side effects or medical conditions and lasts for one to three weeks.
  • Chronic insomnia (long-term insomnia) often results from depression, digestive problems, sleep disorders, or substance abuse and continues for more than three weeks.

Transient insomnia may progress to short-term insomnia and without adequate treatment short-term insomnia may become chronic insomnia.

Some of the medications and substances that can contribute to insomnia are:

  • caffeine and coffee,
  • tobacco,
  • alcohol,
  • decongestants (for example, pseudoephedrine),
  • diuretics (for example, furosemide [Lasix], hydrochlorothiazide [Dyazide]) especially if taken in the evening or at bedtime,
  • antidepressants (for example, bupropion [Wellbutrin, Wellbutrin SR, Wellbutrin XL, Zyban], fluoxetine [Prozac]),
  • appetite suppressants (for example, sibutramine [Meridia], phentermine [Fastin]), and
  • amphetamines.
Insomnia also may be the result of withdrawal from:
  • benzodiazepines (for example, diazepam [Valium], chlordiazepoxide [Librium], lorazepam [Ativan]),
  • alcohol,
  • antihistamines,
  • amphetamines,
  • cocaine,
  • marijuana, and
  • other addicting drugs.

Insomnia can also result from poor sleep-related habits (poor sleep hygiene).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/17/2014

Patient Comments

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Insomnia Treatment - Natural Remedies Question: Describe the natural remedies and lifestyle changes you've tried for your insomnia.
Insomnia Treatment - Causes Question: Are you stressed? If known, discuss the reason(s) for or causes of your insomnia.
Insomnia Treatment - OTC Medicine Question: Which OTC medications have you used to treat your insomnia? In your opinion, what works or what doesn't?
Insomnia Treatment - Doctors and Prescriptions Question: Why did you go to a doctor for your insomnia? What medication or treatment did he or she prescribe?
Insomnia Treatment - Caffeine and Sleep Question: Do you drink coffee, tea, or soda with caffeine? Do they affect your sleep habits? Have you cut back on caffeine?
Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/sleep_aids_and_stimulants/article.htm

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