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Editor's Note:  "Borderlines," BAMHS' periodic column, provides ideas and suggestions for healthy living, better family life and successful strategies for coping with life's challenges. Our newsletter is updated frequently! Check back often.
Posted: March 24, 2011
Last Updated: March 24, 2011

Most Americans have suffered from a bout of insomnia sometime in their life. Unable to fall asleep, they might sit on the couch until 3 a.m. hoping fatigue will give way to unconsciousness. Other suffers might wake up tired after a restless night’s sleep. Some insomniacs have trouble staying asleep, waking up constantly through the night.

Insomnia has a broader definition than the classic person up until all hours of the night unable to find rest. Insomnia includes anyone who has too little or poor-quality sleep for more than two weeks or on a repeating basis. Insomnia includes: waking up too early, trouble staying asleep, trouble falling asleep, waking up un-refreshed, and even the ability to regain sleep after waking up during the night.

Most adults require 7 to 8 hours sleep a night to be healthy. The effects sleep lose can reach from the late night hours it occurs to impact your day with fatigue, trouble thinking, inability to maintain focus, depression, and irritability.

Usually, health issues cause insomnia. This kind of insomnia is labeled secondary insomnia. It includes insomnia related to medications, poor sleep environment, stress, or a mental health problem—depression being the most common mental health problem that causes insomnia.  

Marsha Bowman, a division manager and counselor at Border Area Mental Health Services, says the insomnia associated with depression is the greatest complication, “People won’t be able to sleep due to the insomnia. After a few days without sleep, the brain can produce delusions--voices, sounds, images—that can cause great concern in the depressed person.” The delusions caused by sleep deprivations usually disappear once the person is back on a normal sleeping pattern, but the insomnia can reoccur and cause havoc later if the depression is left untreated.

Primary insomnia is not related to a health problem: guilt, a death of a loved one, a close family members unexpected illness, financial concerns or other outsides factors can result in this type of insomnia.

Women are twice as likely to suffer from insomnia as men. Bouts of insomnia tend to increase as people grow older, maybe because more concerns weigh on people’s minds, or the hormonal changes of the body affect sleep patters.

If you suffering from insomnia try keeping a sleep journal noting your sleep patterns (or lack there of), your daily routine, exercise patterns, and feelings. Take this sleep journal with to your next doctor’s appointment to discuss your insomnia with your physician. You might be referred to a sleep center for special testing that monitors your sleep patterns. Sometimes simple environmental solutions or medications can solve insomnia.


 Simple environmental changes you can try to rest easier are:

·         Try to go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning.

·         On weekends or vacations don’t vary your sleep patterns by more than an hour.

·         Avoid chemicals that can affect sleep like caffeine, nicotine or alcohol late in the day or evening.

·         Eat dinner at least three hours before bedtime.

·         Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool. White noise machines or earplugs can negate negative sounds like street traffic.

·         If you are unable to sleep get up and do something not to active or involved. Try making a to-do list to ease any lingering concerns to ease your mind.





If you insomnia still plagues you maybe you could benefit from counseling call Border Area Mental Health Services. To reach Border Area Mental Health Services in Grant and Hidalgo Counties, call 388-4412; in Catron County, call 533-6649; in Luna County, call 546-2174.  For CRISIS, call 538-3488 or outside Silver City, call 1-800-426-0997.


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© 2008 by Border Area Mental Health Services and Putting the Web to Work. Front-page photo copyright by Bob Pelham, Pinos Altos Cabins, and used by permission. All rights reserved. For the privacy and comfort of our clients and staff, the photographs used in this site are representative and do not show specific individuals associated with BAMHS.