Can’t remember when you last had a good night’s sleep?
Sleep problems are commonly experienced across the life span, by adults, teens and young children. At times we have trouble sleeping well due to a period of high stress, or because we are out of our usual routine. For children, it can be due to illness, developmental milestones, transitions and anxieties. For most people, these times will pass and their sleep will get back into a healthy pattern where they feel well-rested. For others, the problem becomes chronic, and habitual and the very idea of sleeping, or getting their child to sleep, causes them stress and anxiety. If you fall into this category, take a deep breath, and keep reading, because there are several effective non-drug treatments available for sleeping problems.
Conditioned Sleep Disorders
Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders
The Circadian Rhythm is our body’s internal clock. When it becomes misaligned with our current time-zone, then we have a Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder. Jet-lag is a form of Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder, but most people’s rhythm will re-align within a few days, and they will suffer no ongoing effects. If you feel like you are constantly jet-lagged and can’t seem to get up or go to sleep at the time you need to, then you may have a Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder. Night owls who have great difficulty getting up in the morning, and can’t fall asleep until the early hours may have a Delayed Sleep Phase, and those early birds who barely keep their eyes open through dinner, but are up before the sun, may have a Phase Advance. Both can be treated with light therapy, alterations of your sleep schedule (a technique called Bedtime Restriction) and sometimes a short course of melatonin, the hormone released by your body which causes us to feel sleepy.