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Insomnia is very common, however rather than being a condition it is actually a symptom of something else. There are several types of insomnia. Some have trouble falling asleep, while others have trouble staying asleep or waking up too early. Sleep problems can be short-term, lasting a few days or weeks, or chronic, lasting for several months or more. Insomnia is only considered a problem if it interferes with your life.

Depending on your age, a minimum amount of sleep is needed to be fully functioning.

– Newborns – 13-17 hours

– Toddler – 9-13 hours

– 10 years – 10-11 hours

– 16-65 years – 6-9 hours

– Over 65 years – 6-8 hours

About 50% of people will experience insomnia at some point in their lives. However, it usually has an underlying cause.

Common causes of insomnia include:

  • air travel
  • anxiety or depression
  • certain medical conditions (eg. reflux, Parkinson’s)
  • nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol
  • not being active enough
  • pain from arthritis or other medical conditions
  • poor sleep habits
  • shift work
  • stress

Since insomnia is a symptom and not a condition itself, your doctor will want to determine what is causing it. This can include a general examination, a questionnaire, sleep tests, and blood tests, whatever your doctor sees fit to best diagnose your condition and solve why you are experiencing insomnia.

Here are some things you can do to help prevent and treat insomnia:

  • develop a regular bedtime routine
  • don’t use the bedroom for daytime activities
  • don’t consume coffee or chocolate before going to bed
  • don’t go to bed thinking about work or stressful matters – read a book for a while if this helps reduce stress
  • learn to replace worrying thoughts with positive ones
  • drink warm milk, or have a warm bath before bed
  • exercise during the day – if exercising at night keeps you awake, move it sooner.

If you have any questions, speak with your Pharmasave Valleyview Pharmacist.