Insomnia is a common condition in which the body's natural sleep/wake cycle is disrupted, either because the wake drive is too strong or the sleep drive is too weak. People with insomnia may have difficulty falling asleep (sleep onset insomnia) or staying asleep (sleep maintenance insomnia), and often wake up feeling tired and unrefreshed. Insomnia can happen to people of all ages and affects millions worldwide. About 30-40% of Americans report experiencing some degree of insomnia each year.
Symptoms of insomnia will vary based on the underlying cause, the severity of the insomnia, and numerous other factors unique to each individual person. Some of the most common symptoms are difficulties falling or staying asleep, not feeling well-rested in the morning, drowsiness or inability to conecentrate during the day, tension headaches, clumsiness, mood swings, irritability, and anxiety.
Insomnia may stem from a variety of causes. Mild cases can be the result of disturbances in the circadian rhythm caused by jet lag, temperature extremes, changes in work or sleep schedule, or bad habits. Insomnia can also be the result - or a symptom - of more serious issues. This includes psychiatric conditions like depression, anxiety disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases, and medical issues such as restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea, chronic fatigue syndrome, allergies, hypothyroidism, arthritis, asthma, chronic pain, and various gastrointestinal issues. Certain medications and biological factors, such as hormone fluctuations, can also interfere with sleep. It is important to know the underlying cause of your insomnia so that you can seek out appropriate treatment.
If you or a loved one has insomnia, it is important to treat it as soon as possible. What starts out as one or two seemingly isolated episodes can develop into a serious problem over time, and lack of sleep can negatively impact performance at work or school, impair the immune system, and lead to obesity and chronic diseases. People with anxiety or depression may have an especially hard time, as it is easy to fall into a feedback loop where insomnia increases the severity of the anxiety or depression, which makes it even more difficult to sleep, and so forth.
A number of medications are available for those with insomnia and other sleep disorders, though these can have side-effects and cause dependency. Because of this, more and more people are seeking out alternative remedies and non-drug options. We have compiled 26 such options in this book for your consideration - because everyone deserves a good night's sleep!