April is stress awareness month. But what is stress, exactly?
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We often receive inquiries regarding the effectiveness of sleepyhead for "insomnia". But, the question is not as easy to answer as one might think, primarily because of the semantics related to the word "insomnia".
Because "insomnia" is used so broadly, some experts, including the National Sleep Foundation, distinguish between acute insomnia and chronic insomnia.
Acute insomnia is how we think of occasional sleeplessness: characterized as the infrequent inability to fall asleep or remain asleep in otherwise healthy individuals without an underlying medical or psychological condition.
The most common cause of occasional sleeplessness is stress related to work or family life. We've all been there. Deadlines, travel, or changes to our usual routine such as caring for a child with the flu might contribute. In most instances, we are still able to function following a night of less than optimal sleep, and are able to return to a healthy sleeping pattern without professional medical attention. For occasional sleeplessness, try sleepyhead or another natural sleep aid.
Chronic insomnia, by contrast, is characterized as "disrupted sleep that occurs at least three nights per week and lasts at least three months", according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Chronic insomnia may be caused by environmental factors, unhealthy sleep habits, and unusual work hours, but often may be caused by other clinical disorders or underlying illness. Chronic insomnia can significantly inhibit ones ability to function during the day and may include experiencing trouble concentrating, excess fatigue, increased irritability, and loss of motor coordination, among other symptoms.
If you believe you are suffering from chronic insomnia, we highly recommend seeking advice and/or treatment from a licensed physician.