Insomnia or Not? Understanding Sleep Disorders

Almost 30% of Britons report that they do not get enough sleep on a regular basis. Many chalk it up to insomnia – literally meaning a lack of sleep – but they may, in fact, be suffering from a different sleep disorder altogether, they just do not realize it.

Insomnia is indeed the most common sleep disorder experienced by men and women the world over. They find it immensely difficult to fall asleep at all, even though they may feel very tired. This can be caused by any number of different factors – stress, poor diet, emotional upset – and at times may seem to have no underlying cause at all.

In the short term common sleep-inducing medications can help but for those with chronic insomnia, they are of less use, as they can worsen the condition rather than remedy it. For these people, other solutions have to be found. Many find that OTC sleep aids like breathing strips, anti-snoring devices, sleep pillows and other similar products help too.


Those who suffer from other sleep disorders often do not understand that there is more to their woes than simple insomnia. Sleep apnea is an interruption of breathing during sleep, normally due to a defect in the windpipe. Sufferers can wake more than 100 times a night in some cases leaving them feeling in the morning as if they haven’t slept a wink.

Sleep medications can be dangerous for these patients, as breathing stops completely for a few seconds each episode and it is often the waking that triggers it to begin again. Instead, patients diagnosed with sleep apnea are told to make use of a c-pap or bi-pap machine, which forces air into the windpipe to stop it from closing. There are also a number of new surgical procedures designed to remedy the problem.

Narcolepsy is less common but can be far more disruptive than other sleep disorders. These patients fall asleep at inappropriate moments throughout the day, leading them to believe perhaps that they did not get enough sleep the night before. This is often not the case though, as for narcoleptics even if they have slept solidly for eight hours at night the daytime “sleep attacks “still occur. Scientists believe this is a genetic disorder although some cases may be triggered by illness or injury.

More often these days doctors are referring patients for sleep studies before dispensing the old standbys – sleeping pills – to help a patient who believes they are suffering from insomnia to ensure that they receive the correct treatment for their problems. So if your sleepless nights are many, before you do anything else making an appointment to discuss the issue with your GP is a must, even if it turns out to be nothing more than simple insomnia after all.

And if it is simple insomnia? Resist the temptation to rely on sleeping pills, as they are a habit that is very hard to break and can be very bad for your health. Try a few natural sleep aids instead – like the ones you’ll find here – and check out some of the better sleep tips on this blog, we’ve got a lot of them.


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