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By: Lauri Leadley, CCSH, RPSGT- Clinical Sleep Educator|Sleep Coach

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Lauri Leadley, CCSH, RPSGT

As a professional sleep coach, I cannot sufficiently underline the importance of quality sleep. Unfortunately, many people avoid seeking professional help in the hope that their problem will rectify itself with time.

If a sleep disorder is transient in nature, which can happen in several cases, the condition can improve or completely disappear. However, there are certain conditions which require a professional diagnosis and treatment plan.

One such condition or sleep disorder is insomnia. While the condition is fairly common, and affects nearly 40 million Americans, the number of people who seek professional help for the condition is dismal.

Here’s a simple checklist on insomnia:

  • Do you find it difficult or struggle to fall asleep?
  • Do you find it difficult to continue to stay asleep throughout the night?
  • Do you wake up too early in the morning even if you have had only a couple of hours of sleep?
  • Are you unhappy with your sleep quality and quantity?
  • Are you experiencing any of the following: fatigue, mood swings, poor concentration levels, low energy, and a drop in productivity?

If you have ticked most of the points on this list, then you might be suffering from insomnia and it is in your best interest to consult with a professional sleep coach about your condition.

Acute Insomnia vs. Chronic Insomnia

Based on the duration or how long the condition lasts, insomnia can be classified as either acute (temporary or very brief) insomnia or chronic (minimum three nights a week and lasting three months) insomnia.

In the case of acute insomnia, the condition can be brought on due to an immediate stressful situation or event such as an exam, an important meeting, an upcoming deadline, or even an emotional or stressful occurrence or news.

Most people have experienced this kind of sleep disruption which is temporary in nature and usually resolves itself.

Chronic insomnia on the other hand can have several underlying factors. Some of these factors include:

  • A health (such as chronic pain) or psychiatric (depression or anxiety) condition – also known as comorbid insomnia.
  • Certain kinds of medication.
  • A change in work schedule (such as switching to night shifts).
  • Poor sleeping habits.
  • Or it can develop as a secondary symptom of a more serious sleep disorder such as sleep apnea.

If a person struggles to fall asleep the condition is known as onset insomnia. People who fall asleep but tend to wake during the night and find it difficult to go back to sleep suffer from what is known as maintenance insomnia.

Treating Insomnia with a Professional Sleep Coach

As is the case with any physical and mental condition which can only be addressed after a diagnosis, the key to treating insomnia also depends on accurately diagnosing the factors and triggers leading to the condition.

A professional sleep coach will investigate a number of factors such as your physical and mental health history, medication(s) that you take, your sleep history, your sleep patterns and whether you are suffering from other sleep disorders, as well as external factors which include a work/study environment.

Based on your specific condition, a professional sleep coach might advise steps for better sleep hygiene which include:

  • Going to bed at a decent hour.
  • Improving your immediate surroundings (removing distractions – light, sounds, switching off your phone and other devices) to make it easy to fall asleep.
  • Cutting down on high calorie food/snack intake and high energy, caffeinated drinks or alcohol before bedtime.

If the condition is more serious, then the treatment plan could include cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) which essentially helps patients better manage their thoughts and actions or behaviors while introducing them to relaxation and stress reduction techniques as well as sleep schedule management.

On top of this, medication for insomnia might also be prescribed after considering other factors such as prevailing health conditions and how well a patient responds to the sleep improvement techniques mentioned above.

Key Understanding

A number of factors can trigger insomnia. In most people the condition resolves itself fairly quickly, if the triggers are temporary in nature. If insomnia continues for an extended period, then it is best to seek help from a professional sleep coach.

Valley Sleep Center – We Can Help You Sleep Better!

If you suffer from insomnia or if you are unsure about your sleep disorder, connect with us at Valley Sleep Center for an accurate diagnosis and an effective treatment plan. For a consultation with sleep coach Lauri Leadley, please email us at sleep@valleysleepcenter.com.