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Rip Van Winkle slept for 20 years but many individuals would give anything just to sleep peacefully through the night According to the National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research approximately 40000000 Americans have a chronic sleep disorder and another 20000000 experience occasional sleep disturbances Steep disorders are estimated to cost the US 15900000 per year in direct medical costs In addition a host of other conditions are associated with sleep problems ranging from loss of productivity to higher mortality and accident rates The International Classification of Sleep Disorders has divided them into four categories by possible cause intrinsic sleep disorders parasomnias circadian rhythm sleep disorders and extrinsic sleep disorders Intrinsic sleep disorders originate or develop within the body Insomnia is the most common complaint affecting more than 60000000 Americans 35000000 of whom have suffered from the condition for a lone time It plagues almost everyone at some point often for the first time as children too excited to sleep the night before a birthday party or major holiday Insomnia varies with age and sex occurring roughly 15 times more often in the elderly than in younger adults and affecting approximately 40 of women and 30 of men Transient or short-term insomnia can arise from a headache indigestion a cold or being away from home The cause of long-term insomnia is more complex and can be more difficult to determine Often insomnia points to a medical condition such as asthma diabetes arthritis heart disease or ulcers -- or even another sleep disorder -- that must be diagnosed and treated before the insomnia will abate Tips for combating insomnia include Get in the mood for sleep with meditation a hot bath a glass of milk it contains the amino acid tryptophan which is associated with sleep or a cup of herbal tea Establish a sleep pattern by getting up at the same time every
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