Insomnia is more than just simply not being able to fall asleep at night. Waking frequently during the night, or waking extremely early are also common in insomnia sufferers. While most of us have dealt with insomnia at some time or another, it is estimated that over 30% of the general population are true insomniacs. That is, they have recurring difficulty getting tosleep, or staying there.
There are two general types of insomnia. Secondary insomnia is usually brought on by a temporary situation, such as stress, illness, noise, or medication. This type of insomnia often goes away after a week or less, without any form of medical treatment. Making changes in diet, such as avoiding caffeine and not eating late in the day, can help relieve secondary insomnia.
Primary insomnia is more of a chronic problem. It is may last several weeks or more. Long term stress or grief can cause it, or something as simple as a change in work hours. This type of insomnia causes distress during the day, impairing quality of life. Medication may be necessary, though over the counter medications are not recommended. Counseling may help in some situations.
Dealing with either type of insomnia can be frustrating. The simplest remedies should be tried first. In addition to changes in eating habits, avoiding strenuous exercise in the evening may help. Establishing a regular sleep schedule is important. Simply taking a hot bath may be enough. Medication should be a last resort, as many can become habit forming.