What is sleeplessness and is it serious?

Sleeplessness as defined in the dictionary is just another word that is often used for intermittent insomnia. Intermittent sleeplessness refers to those occasional nights when you have trouble falling asleep, or turn and toss all night long. This lack of quality sleep can affect you the next day with trouble concentrating, daytime drowsiness, and that feeling of just not being rested or refreshed — feeling as if you just need a good nap.

Human beings and other animals as well as plants, have internal biological rhythms. These rhythms are controlled by a biological clock and work on a daily time scale. This biological clock affects everything including alertness, body temperature, hormone release, appetite, and most importantly, the timing of sleep. If there is anything which disturbs this timing then a person can have a night of sleeplessness or restless sleep. Drinking too much caffeine, minor aches and pains, smoking, being too cold or too hot – all can for the time being cause insomnia. Jet lag often causes sleeplessness for many business people as can worry over a problem from home or work.

A couple of nights of sleeplessness can make you feel tired and unable to concentrate the next day. But please realize that as long as insomnia does not happen every night, it rarely the type of insomnia that can cause serious problems. Also, a life-threatening health problem is rarely the cause of short-term troubles with sleep. But since insomnia is often a symptom of numerous illnesses and medical issues, it is important that if this type of insomnia continues for two weeks, you should consult your family physician.

Here are several guidelines that can help with sleeplessness or insomnia. Begin going to bed and getting up at the same time everyday. Never eat a large meal before going to bed. Never do taxing exercising in the several hours before bedtime as exercise wakes the body up.

Worry or stress should be turned off at bedtime. A good tip for doing that can be to do a visualization exercise such as the following: If you work with computers, imagine entering your problems or the cause of your stress into the computer into a document, then save the problems on the hard drive, just as you would do at work. Then visualize turning your computer off for the night and closing the office door. Sounds rather stupid doesn’t it but guess what — it works!

Sleeplessness is most often just a short-lived experience, with one or two nights of sleeplessness, and then a person returns to normal sleep. But always remember that if it continues for more than 2 weeks — make an appointment to see your family physician.