Anti aging guide

Causes and Treatment of Insomnia in Aging



What causes insomnia and how to treat it with fewer side effects

Insomnia is a dissatisfaction with the amount or quality of sleep, not merely sleeplessness. Half of people aged 40-55 can’t sleep properly at night, either suffering from an inability to fall asleep, waking up frequently or waking up too early in the morning. If you are younger or older than this age group you may also be affected, but less frequently. We all suffer from sleeplessness every now and then but this is normal. Insomnia is when this inability to sleep affects our everyday life and we feel uncomfortable and disturbed by it.

In a study of 2,000 British family doctors, almost half admitted that they had no formal training in sleep disorders and the rest had fewer than five hours of training in sleep problems. It is estimated that insomnia costs the US economy an astonishing $100 billion a year.

People who catnap during the day and then don’t sleep at night may still be getting the normal total amount of sleep they need in 24 hours. Sleeping during the day has been discouraged by many doctors, but others think that it may be related to normal sleep-wake rhythms, so it is natural to catnap.

A recent survey has shown that young men who suffer from insomnia are more likely to suffer from depression when older. There is no information regarding women as yet.

As we grow older, the time we spend in bed increases whereas the time we are actually asleep shrinks. This is because the number and length of awakenings increases.

Just counting the causes of insomnia can make you sleepy:

  • depression
  • anxiety or excitement
  • pain
  • money worries or other stress
  • a cold or noisy bedroom
  • constipation
  • uncomfortable bed or pillows
  • restless legs
  • cramps
  • urinary problems
  • coughing
  • indigestion
  • the side effects of drugs

The standard treatment of insomnia is with drugs, the commonest being the benzodiazepines such as Temazepam, Diazepam and Nitrazepam. These help millions of sufferers. While many don’t experience any side
effects, others may suffer from daytime drowsiness or feel groggy in the morning. Newer drugs have even fewer side effects. Other conventional treatments include counseling or treatment of a particular cause of insomnia.

Complementary Treatments For Insomnia

  • the extract of valerian plant (Valerina officinalis) available in tablet or liquid form
  • aromatherapy treatments with chamomile, sage, lavender or marjoram on the pillow or to inhale before bedtime
  • infusions of chamomile, melissa, passionflower and hyssop
  • the homeopathic remedies coffea, aconite or nux vomica
  • melatonin
  • naturopathic treatments with healthy diet and exercise, warm baths, massage
  • Chinese herbs such as poria or fleeceflower
  • flotation therapy


Posted by Carol Hudgens - March 24, 2012 at 4:07 am