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Better sleep can improve your daytime activities

Friday, June 23, 2017

Better sleep can improve your daytime activities

Thirty-five to 50 percent of us are reporting symptoms related to insomnia. Sleeping well is important for good health but can be difficult to achieve regularly. Fortunately, help is available.

Acute insomnia is often tied to something that is happening in your life. Some people, 3 to 6 percent of us, may experience a lack of sleep or poor quality sleep for a period of time. In these patients, short-term use of medication may provide relief, if approved.

Insomnia is diagnosed based on dissatisfaction with sleep quality or sleep quantity. Symptoms may include difficulty falling asleep or remaining sleep, as well as waking up early. Lack of sleep can cause distress, poor daytime functioning and shifts in your mood. This type of disruption can occur at least three nights per week and continue for at least three months, despite adequate opportunity for sleep. Improving the quality and quantity of sleep usually is enough to restore normal daytime functioning.

Once considered only a symptom, insomnia is now classified as a disorder and is treatable and often “cured.” An inability to sleep well is considered by some experts to be a disorder of general hyperarousal (hypervigilance). Frequently, insomnia can cause you to feel as if you have not slept at all.

Historically, drug therapy has included the “Z” drugs such as zolpidem, zopiclone, eszopiclone and Zaleplon, all of which affect us by way of the central GABAergic system. Because of the potential side effects and risks of these drugs, most insurers and federal programs are reluctant to endorse these drugs as standards of therapy. Avoiding these drugs, which carry significant risks of injury and amnesia, is prudent at this time.

Novant Health Hallmark Care emphasizes the benefit of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). With a focus that includes changing negative thoughts, cognitive behavioral therapy is now considered first-line safe therapy for chronic insomnia. New techniques can be learned from a trained psychologist or interactive online programs.

Melatonin, a natural sleep enhancer, can often help you fall asleep and improve daytime functioning. This naturally occurring hormone is considered safe and effective as a treatment for insomnia. It is credited with having minimal risk and side effects, especially if taken at dark and not at bedtime.

Dr. Kenneth WeeksFor more information on insomnia, weaning schedules, or other sleep disorders, contact Novant Health Hallmark Care at 704-384-7910 or to schedule time to meet with Dr. Kenneth D. Weeks.