Escape from Insomnia! A Brochure

An Outreach Project by Young Hun Jung | Return To Outreach Projects 2010

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Escape from Insomnia Brochure, page 1 Escape from Insomnia Brochure, page 2

Have you counted sheep until sunrise? Have hard time on the bed falling asleep? You have an occasional problem with insomnia, but don't worry. Check this out and improve your sleep quality!


Sleep hygiene is one of the components of behavioral therapy for insomnia. Several simple steps can be taken to improve a patient's sleep quality and quantity. These steps include:

  • Sleep as much as you need to feel rested; do not oversleep.
  • Exercise regularly at least 20 minutes daily, ideally 4-5 hours before your bedtime.
  • Avoid forcing yourself to sleep.
  • Keep a regular sleep and awakening schedule.
  • Do not drink caffeinated beverages later than the afternoon (tea, coffee, soft drinks etc.)
  • Avoid "night caps," (alcoholic drinks prior to going to bed).
  • Do not smoke, especially in the evening.
  • Do not go to bed hungry.
  • Adjust the environment in the room (lights, temperature, noise, etc.)
  • Do not go to bed with your worries; try to resolve them before going to bed. (
  • Insomnia may threaten youŠ

  • Poor concentration and focus
  • Difficulty with memory
  • Impaired motor coordination
  • Irritability and impaired social interaction
  • Motor vehicle accidents because of fatigued, sleep-deprived drivers
  • What is insomnia, and is it prevalent?

    Insomnia simply means difficulty sleeping. It is among the most prevalent psychological health problems, with at least 1 in 10 people suffering from insomnia chronically (Tang & Harvey, 2006). In fact, Hamilton et al. states large-sample surveys have suggested that between 13% and 52% of those surveyed report at least occasional problems with insomnia.

    What is the cause?

    A review of the literature on insomnia suggests that the cause and course of insomnia are highly variable. Although many people experience primary sleep disorders, sleep disturbances are a common side effect of many medications (e.g., SSRI antidepressants, decongestants); are related to use of many psychoactive substances (e.g., alcohol, tobacco, caffeine); and are included in the symptom profiles of many anxiety and mood disorders. Occasional or acute episodes of insomnia are often related to environmental stressors (such as noisy neighbors), job stress, or personal stressors, such as divorce or bereavement. In contrast, clinically significant insomnia lasts for at least 1 month and causes significant distress and impairment (Hamilton et al., 2007).

    Is it serious?

    Insomnia has serious consequences, including impaired cognitive function, functional impairment, work absenteeism, increased use of medical services, and doubling the risk of accident. In the United States, the direct and indirect costs associated with insomnia were conservatively estimated to be between $92.5 and $107.5 billion per year (Tang & Harvey, 2006).


    The main focus of treatment for insomnia should be directed towards finding the cause. Once a cause is identified, it is important to manage and control the underlying problem, as this alone may eliminate the insomnia. Treating the symptoms of insomnia without addressing the main cause is rarely successful.

    Insomnia from jet lag

    Behavioral and short-term drug therapy has been used.

  • If you can anticipate a trip, begin to shift your bedtime to coincide with the time schedule in your destination.
  • Short-acting tranquilizers have been shown to be useful.
  • Melatonin, a hormone secreted by the pineal gland that regulates our sleep-wake cycles, has also been used.
  • Stimulus control

    Stimulus control therapy also consists of a few simple steps that may help patients with chronic insomnia.
  • Go to bed when you feel sleepy.
  • Do not watch TV, read, eat, or worry in bed. Your bed should be used only for sleep and sexual activity.
  • If you do not fall asleep 30 minutes after going to bed, get up and go to another room and resume your relaxation techniques.
  • Set your alarm clock to get up at a certain time each morning, even on weekends.
  • Do not over-sleep.
  • Avoid taking long naps in the daytime.

  • Where to go from here:

    Return To All Outreach Projects 2010

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    About This Site

    Welcome! This site is continuously being created by students of Dr. William C. Dement's Sleep And Dreams course at Stanford University.

    We made this site as a call to action for people all over the world to live healthier, happier, safer, and more productive lives by learning about their own sleep. We have faith that reading the information provided on this site will motivate you to be smart about your sleep deprivation and strategic about your alertness in order to live life to your fullest, most energetic potential.

    In fact, we challenge you to do so! What do you say, are you up for the challenge?

    The Stanford Sleep Book

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    Dr. Dement's pioneering textbook has been the core text for Sleep and Dreams since 1980, but it has just recently been made available to the wider public for the first time.

    In it you'll find a more detailed account of the most important things you need to know about sleep, alertness, dreams, and sleep disorders. Studies, statistics, plus plenty of Dr. Dement's classic anecdotes painting the history of sleep medicine.

    Preface | Intro | Contents | Get A Copy

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    The Zeo

    A revolution in personal sleep tracking, the Zeo is a wireless headband that transmits your brainwaves in realtime to a dock (pictured here) or your smartphone. The result? You can wake up and see exactly what stages of sleep you were in during the night! Unprecedented personalized sleep knowledge.

    Sleep Paralysis: A Dreamer's Guide

    Sleep Paralysis Treatment Book

    Ever woken up paralyzed? A surprising number of us have, believe it or not. But few know the actual causes of this phenomenon, and fewer still how to exert control over it. Dream researcher and sleep paralysis expert Ryan Hurd shares breakthrough insights into how to do just that.

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