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Behavioural therapy enough for most sleep disorders.

Insomnia, simply speaking, is the subjective symptom of inadequate sleep. Patients with insomnia report difficulty falling asleep or maintaining sleep.

With Dubai becoming a bustling cosmopolitan city, sleep disorder has become a common phenomena which often interferes with a person's daily functioning.

According to international data, about 10 per cent of adults and 25 per cent of children are affected with chronic insomnia, explains Donna Genevieve Pangan, General Practitioner, Zulekha Medical Centre, Dubai.

Hence, interest in and treatment of sleep disturbances both in adults and children continues to increase.

Insomnia, simply speaking, is the subjective symptom of inadequate sleep. Patients with insomnia report difficulty falling asleep or maintaining sleep.

Chronic insomnia may produce poor concentration. Other symptoms especially for adults include a decreased sensation of well-being and poor productivity. The outcomes of untreated sleep problems such as this may include considerable emotional, behavioural, and cognitive dysfunction. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, insomnia is a common sleep complaint that occurs when you have one or more of the following:

>Hard time initiating sleep

>Struggle to maintain sleep, waking up frequently during the night

>Tend to wake up too early and unable to go back to sleep

>Non-restorative or sleep of poor quality

These symptoms can be due to a variety of biological, social or psychological factors. They most often result in inadequate amount of sleep, even though the person has the opportunity to a get the recommended amount of sleep (minimum six hours for adults, eight hours for children).

For children, the magnitude of the effect is inversely proportional to the child's overall ability to adapt and develop in spite of the sleep disturbance.

There are two types of insomnia -- primary and secondary. The primary type is sleeplessness that cannot be ascribed to any existing medical, environmental or psychiatric cause (such as drug abuse or medications). Secondary insomnia on the other hand, is when symptoms arise from a primary medical, mental or sleep disorder.

Most sleep problems resolve with behavioural treatments. Overnight polysomnography and next-day multiple sleep latency tests represent the most commonly used sleep studies usually reserved for cases of insomnia with an organic cause.

Interventions for pediatric sleep problems pertain more to settling problems and night awakenings in infants and toddlers. Family dynamics should be explored and redressed.

Limit-setting problems, bedtime resistance, and frequent nightly awakenings represent common problems encountered in both adult and pediatric practice. Cognitive Behavioural therapy uses relatively straightforward and safe strategies that include the following:

>Cognitive therapy: changing beliefs that hinder your sleep

>Relaxation training

>Sleep hygiene training: Correcting bad habits that contribute to poor sleep

>Sleep restriction: limiting and then gradually increasing your time in bed

>Stimulus control: going to bed only when sleepy, waking at the same time daily, leaving bed when unable to sleep, avoiding naps.

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Date:Aug 15, 2014
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