What can you do when you can’t sleep?

Anyone who’s laid awake at night knows how frustrating it can be to spend hours in bed looking at the ceiling, will slumber to come. And while the occasional sleepless night is completely normal, if difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep is prolonged for weeks or months at a time, it is classified as insomnia.

There are two types of insomnia – acute and chronic.  Acute, or short-term, insomnia lasts for a few days to a few weeks and can be related to an identifiable cause.  Some such causes can be medications, stress, aches and pains, caffeine, or changes in the sleeping environment.  Symptoms of short-term insomnia difficulty falling or staying asleep, waking up too early, daytime drowsiness, fatigue and mood changes. 

Insomnia that lasts a month or more is chronic insomnia.  Causes of chronic insomnia include depression and anxiety, chronic pain and stress.  Consistent chronic insomnia can take a toll on physical and mental health, increasing the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and Alzheimer's disease.  Major illness aside, at the very least insomnia can affect overall health and well-being, leaving the sufferer feeling fatigued and drowsy with low concentration and motivation.

If you think you may suffer from acute or chronic insomnia, talk to your AppleCare provider. Acute insomnia may not require treatment.  Typically, it may be cured by adjusting to more positive and consistent sleep habits. Treatment for chronic insomnia usually begins by treating any underlying cause, such as depression or anxiety.  If insomnia persists, behavioral therapy may be recommended to address the issue.

Something everyone (not just insomniac) should do for a better night’s rest is to create calm and relaxing bedroom.  Here are a few tips to make a tranquil sanctuary for sleep:

  1. No use of electronics in the bedroom
  2. Invest in a good mattress and bedding
  3. Read a book before bed
  4. Keep your bedroom cool/use a fan
  5. Declutter the room
  6. Wear comfortable, loose pajamas