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Sleep is more than just not being awake. There are five different levels of sleep,and levels 1 through 4 consist of light to very deep sleep. People normally move back and forth through these levels during sleep,reaching level 4 the deepest,a couple of hours after falling asleep.
 Level 5 is the strange one because it is marked by activity in the brain similar to that of someone who is awake. The sleeper's eyes move rapidly under the closed eyelids,which is why this level is sometimes called REM (rapid eye movement ) sleep. Yet the body muscles have reached their deepest level of relaxation.
If a person is awaken during level 5,the person will say she was dreaming. Although many of us don't remember much or anything about our dreams,sleep researchers have found that all of their subjects had severall periods of REM sleep each night,so dreaming seems to be a normal and nightly occurance.  We really don't know why humans need to sleep,but there is little doubt how disruptive a lack of good sleep can be. In particular it seems that we need levels 3,4 and REM sleep,to function normally during the day.
If people is somehow deprived of REM sleep,eventually the body will catch up by having lots of it. However,this rebound usually marked by vivid dreams or nightmares and therefore disturbed sleep.
Technically,insomnia is defined is defined as poor sleep accompanied by poor sleep. This includes being physically tired,having difficulty concentrating,feeling depressed,irritable or lethargic. these daytime components of insomnia are the problem and,because they interfere woth your ability to cope with daytime Tasks,they further increase your stress and therfore your anxiety. In yet another way,anxiety can feed on itself.
Sleep needs vary a lot and tend to decline with increasing age. Although some insomnia sufferers will complain they "didn't get a wink of sleep",research has found they usually sleep for at least a few hours. Complete insomnia is a rare condition. One bad night's sleep,even as little as two hours,coesn't really affect your performance next day,although you may feel more irritable,hostile,fatigued or unhappy.
Little sleep for a week makes some people pathologically sleepy,but even these cumulative effects disappear  after one night's sleep. The real question is not how much time you spend asleep,but how you feel during the day. If your sleep disturbance is caused by your anxiety problem,you might expect it to fade as you learn to manage your anxiety. this is possible but there is one risk.
For some insomnia sufferes,disturbed sleep was triggered by some easily identifiable cause: a painful illness like rheumatoid arthritis,jetlag,a peak of stress,whatever. But after the original cause has long faded from the person's life,his sleep is still disturbed because it has become a conditioned part of his life.
He has learned that bed is somewhere he vainly tries to sleep and approaching sleep causes anxiety about "another sleepness night." He may have tried some of the popular remedies for sleeping problems that actually make them worse,or developed some bad sleep habits that now keep his problem going.
If you are now having more than the occasional night of disturbed sleep,the suggestion is that you take some practical steps to sleep better,to avoid the risk of developing a chronic sleeping problem.
Sleep researchers agree that insomina is not an illness but a symptom of underlying problems,just as a pain signifies something else is wrong. There are five groups of factors that contribute to insomnia: 1) Biological factors. 2) Psychological factors. 3) Use of drugs,including alcohol. 4)Bad sleep habits or environments. 5) Conditioning.
Specialists in treating sleep disorder agree on two more important points. First,the never see someone with a sleep disturbance due to only one of these possible causes. Second,they agree that success fully solving a sleep problem requires carefully identifying the causes applying to each person,so that they tackle those relevant to them.
Biological factors: One of the many problems is medical problems like arthritis that can disturb sleep. The normal,gradual decline in your sleep needs as you get older can cause problems if you start to worry about not getting as much sleep as you used to. Unless is is associated with the daytime consequences of insomnia,sleeping less as one ages is not a problem.
Psychological factors: The psychological problem most likely to contribute to insomina is anxiety,which in turn increases your physiological arousal. Insomnia is a common symptom of high stress and,by interfering with daytime functioning,it can further add to stress.
Some depressed people people suffer from disturbed or shortened sleep,although some sleep more than usual. That this is still a sleep disturbance is shown by the fact that these people report being fatigued,despite their extra sleep.
Use of drugs: Many drugs  (not referring-generally- to RA medicine ,if concerned ask your physician-in your case ), including,alcohol,can disturb sleep patterns. This includes legal and illegal,prescibed,over-the-counter and social drugs.
In one research study,drug or alcohol dependency was found to be a major cause of insomnia and eight sufferers. Sleep clinicians have found that many types of antianxiety,antidepression and other mood-affecting drugs can disturb sleep. So can some of the drugs used for thyroid problems,contraception and heart disease.
If anyone is taking any regular medication they should ask their doctor whether it could be contributing to the sleeping problem,and,if it could,whether you can try a different drug or even nondrug treatment for insomnia.
What may surprise people,however,is that sleeping drugs themselves contribute to sleep disturbances. Sleeping drugs usually puts one to sleep,so they seem to work. The trouble is,they knock out the lower levels of sleep,the ones that are essential for a person's refreshment. They cause fragmented and and disturbed sleep,according to a study by psychologists. The psychologists in the study further state that some medical practisioners have accepted this,and instead of prescribing sleeping drugs as such,they will prescribe an antianxiety drug "to help you sleep".
Alcohol is also a popular form of self-help for insomnia,just as it is for anxiety. Unfortunately it has the same undesirable effects as prescription sleeping drugs. A person may spend time asleep,but it won't be normal,refreshing sleep. Two or three nights of excessive drinking are enough to give one rebound sleepness the next night. If one reach for the bottle to get to sleep,then one is developing a drinking problem.
Bad sleep habits or environment: Try to go to bed in a relaxed state. Any habits that contributes to an aroused state,or not needing sleep,can contribute to insominia.
Food and drink: Drinking too much caffeine ( in coffee,tea or cola drinks ) will stimulate the arousal level. Drinking too much alcohol will rob one of the important levels of sleep. If the stomach is rumbling from either lack of food,too much food,or food that is too spicy or rich,sleep will be restless. However,some sensible and moderate eating might help.
It has been a popular belief that carbohydrate-rich foods such as pasta or sweets,have an arousing and energizing effect. Researchers have found the opposite to be true. A meal heavy in carbohydrates,especially when they are not balanced by other food groups such as proteins,usually has a calming and even fatiguing effect. Men tend to be relaxed and women tend to feel sleepy.
Similar effects occur in children. These effects of eating lots of carbohydrates in most people were not due to hypoglycemia,which is actually a rare condition. Providing it fits consumption in the evening may help one sleep.

Sleep Management:
What one does before bed: Other bad sleep habits may be at the root of the problem:*Reading exciting books or watching exciting television just before bed,won't help. *Posponing important discussions with your spouse until lights out won't help,especially if they turn into arguments. * A good sexual interaction leaves most people feeling plesant and relaxed,but if yours leave you aroused,plan them for some other time. * Being fit helps you sleep,but a vigourous exercise workout just before sleep probably won't.  * If you worry about being safe,taking reasonable security precautions may help one relax.
Sleeping schedule: People should watch how they time their sleep. The body has its normal rhytms of wakefulness and sleepiness,usually associated with daylight and dark. If someone have irregular times for going to sleep and waking,then that can throw those rhythms out of kilter.  This is most obvious when we travel across time zones or change shifts at work,but some people do it themselves by going to bed early one night and late the next.
Two of the worst sleep habits are to sleep in and nap during the day,in an attempt to catch up on sleep missed the night before. People may catch up,but at the expense of their sleep needs,the next night.
Sleeping environment: A noisy or uncomfortable sleep environment can contribute to insomnia. People should try to arrange the level of lighting and sound so that they are at a comfortable level,if possible. Earplugs may help. If the noise is your spouse snoring seek medical help. Snoring is sometimes associated with breathing irrigularities during sleep that can be serious health risk for the snorer.
Conditioning: Having insomnia itself can train you to be an insomniac,long after the original cause of the disturbed sleep has gone. The more people associate being in bed with struggling to sleep,the harder if becomes to relax there.
Eventually anything that signals that bedtime is approaching,such as brushing the teeth,can become an arousing stimulus because it warns us that the battle for sleep is about to begin again. The more we learn to worry about not being able to sleep,the more that worry will arouse us and stop us from sleeping,according to research.
Better sleep pattern: A number of people have said they get to sleep quite well following physical relaxation instructions on a cassette. In order to not disturb anyone ,listen through earphones (wife or husband beside you.)

Try to have a regular bedtime,with reasonable flexibility. Don't go to bed if you dont't feel at all drowsy. Do something quiet and relaxing until you do. If you're not falling asleep easily don't worry about it.
If you are not asleep after half an hour and you are becoming tense or frustrated,get up and go to another room. (If you are lying in bed relaxed and comfortable,stay there.) If you awake during the night and don't easily go back to sleep,do the same. Do something quiet and relaxing until you feel drowsy and then go back to bed. Repeat this procedure as often as you need to. If that means you spent an hour sitting in the living room reading or listening to music,that better than spending the same hour tossing and turning in bed.
Some people find a small snack helps them to go back to sleep ,such as bread. Milk has been recommended in the past because it contains tryptophan,a natural sleeping-inducing substance. However,some researchers now think that there isn't enough tryptophan in milk to help you sleep. Try it,and see if it helps.
Reduce alcohol,tobacco,chocolate,coffee,tea and caffeinated soft drinks in the diet,especially in the late afternoon and evening.  Keep fit with regular exercise Don't eat heavy meals just before bedtime.
Reserve your bed for sleep,only. Get up at the same time each day. Do not sleep during the day. Manage your daytime stress and anxiety.