Are you looking for help for insomnia?

A sleep disorder (somnipathy) is any disruption in the sleep patterns of an individual. While some sleep disorders may leave you feeling unrefreshed, a number of symptoms are more severe including excessive sleepiness, snor¬ing, difficulty falling asleep during normal sleeping hours and abnormal be¬haviors such as restless leg syndrome.

There are many types of sleep disorders, from insomnia to narcolepsy. Most all of these disorders will cause some of the above listed symptoms.

Insomnia may mean you have a hard time going to sleep or that you have a hard time staying asleep. Usually, you will know if you are experiencing insomnia because you will remember tossing and turning or being awake at night. Insomniacs typically complain of being unable to close their eyes or “rest their mind” for more than a few minutes at a time.

Insomnia can be caused by fear, stress, anxiety, medications, herbs, caffeine, depression, or other mental conditions and sometimes occurs for no apparent reason. A physical pain or overactive mind may also be causes. Finding the underlying cause of insomnia is usually necessary to cure it.

There are behavioral treatments for insomnia. One of these relaxation techniques is practiced by tensing certain muscle groups and then totally relaxing them. Another relaxation method calls for an individual to repeat a set of visualizations to induce a state of relaxation.

It is also good to be aware of and manage the amount of stress in your life which can allow you to more easily relax at night when it’s time to sleep. Stimulus control therapy reassociates the bed and bed¬room with sleeping by limiting the amount of time spent in the bedroom for non-sleep activities. So take your television, computer and office out of the bedroom.

Reducing the use of stimulants and depressants and avoid¬ing big meals just before bed can help reduce the risk of insomnia episodes.

There are several other-the-counter (OTC) sleep aids that have helped many with their insomnia but as with any other medication, there are also side effects. Children and others can be helped with occasional insomnia, by taking a baby aspirin, but there are also people who are sensitive or allergic to aspirins, so care should even be taken with them.

There are several herbs that are known to be beneficial for people having sleeping problems. One common herbal sleep aid is Valerian which has been recognized for years in Europe as being helpful with insomnia. It is sold in the United States as a dietary supplement. There is no agreement on how this sleep aid works, but studies have shown that it does help with insomnia, as well as stress, and often as an aid in helping people who are trying to discontinue the use of benzodiazepines (a class of prescription medications for anxiety and panic attacks). There are side effects that have been reported, so before taking this herbal aid, a person should discuss taking Valerian with a pharmacist, especially if they are taking any prescription medications. The root is the part that is used in herbal sleep aids, and side effects of headaches and night terror, have been reported. The oil of this root is reported to have the odor of cat urine, so the most popular way to take Valerian is as a pill, rather than a tea made from the liquid.

Melatonin is a sleep aid to help people fall asleep — especially people who suffer from the insomnia caused by shift work or jet lag. Melatonin is a hormone found naturally in the body when serotonin, another hormone, is exposed to decreased light at night. It has side effects and most of the literature recommends it not being used by people with depression, schizophrenia, autoimmune diseases, or other serious illness. Pregnant and nursing women and children should also not use melatonin.

Other common OTC sleep aids such as Sominex, or Nytol can also be tried by adults but, again, a person should discuss with a doctor before taking any of these sleep aids especially if the person suffers from and is being treated for depression, or other mental health problems as well as persons being treated for Parkinson’s disease. Most of the OTC sleep aids contain antihistamines which are known to cause some lingering side effects such as dry mouth, and excessive drowsiness.

To help cure insomnia, it is best to try the natural methods to relax before turning to any type of drugs, whether over-the-counter or prescription medications.