By: Chantal Nack (Hour 5)

What is insomnia?

Insomnia is an inability to obtain a sufficient amount of sleep to feel rested. It can be characterized either by difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. In addition, the sleep itself may be chronically of poor quality.


Tylenol PM

The main ingredient in Tylenol PM is acetaminophen, an analgesic. Acetaminophen relieves pain, helps headaches and reduces fever. The other ingredient in Tylenol PM is Diphenhydramine HCl, an antihistamine. Though antihistamine's main purpose is to treat symptoms of allergies, its side effect is drowsiness. I think this sleep aid is falsely marketed. Tylenol PM really has two purposes but is only stating one, being a sleep aide. Regular Tylenol has the purpose to kill pain. When selling Tylenol PM, the companies just add the sleep aides in it to make it easier to fall asleep but they are neglecting the advertisement of the pain killer in it. In advertisements, they say "Tylenol PM puts you to bed like a charm" but in all reality it does more than that. I don't think this sleep aide is one of the safest ways someone could treat their insomnia. This is because of the lack of full disclosure of what this product does from the companies.


Melatonin is a hormone made by the pineal gland, a small gland in the brain. Melatonin helps control your sleep and wake cycles. Very small amounts of it are found in foods such as meats, grains, fruits, and vegetables. You can also buy it as a supplement. Melatonin supplements are sometimes used to treat jet lag or sleep problems (insomnia). This product is highly marketed in whole food stores and in stores with other natural supplements and GNC. In most cases, melatonin supplements are safe in low doses for short-term and long-term use. Melatonin in my mind is more safe and better to use than other sleep aides. This is a natural hormone that your body already makes but you are just giving your body extra. I think this would be the safest thing to take if someone is suffering from insomnia. It is not falsely marketed and it basically advertises what it does. Melatonin does have some side affects. It drops the body's average temperature, can cause vivid dreams, morning grogginess and nausea.

Immediate and Long Term Risk Factors

Immediate Risk Factors

  • You become more tired, anxious, stressed out over small things, you can't concentrate very well, your nerves are on the edge, and you have no patience for anything.
  • You start eating way too much or not nearly enough.
  • You are likely to become very tired and unproductive, often missing work, school or other important things.
  • Your reaction time is slowed down and you aren't as alert towards things (may be harmful things).

Long Term Risk Factors

  • Your body can start to shut down. A human being cannot function physically or emotionally without sleep.
  • Your internal organs will suffer.
  • You are four times as likely to suffer from depression if you don't have correct sleep habits.
  • Your likelihood of developing a serious illness is increased.

Interpersonal Communication

A good person to go to and discuss this problem could be your parents, a neurologist, or a psychologist. These people would all be very trustworthy. They all probably would help out a bit. When approaching them, explain the situation first. Tell them about your insomnia: how long it takes you before you fall asleep, what you do when you can't fall asleep, if you are tired more in the morning, and what you have done (if anything) about it. If you are talking about this to your parents, your conversation would probably be a bit more laid back. On the other hand, discussing this with a neurologist or psychologist would be more official. A neurologist would probably be the most likely to fix this problem and they would know more about it. Your parents would probably bring more confidence to you and guide you into meeting with a neurologist or psychologist.

Technological Advances

  • MEDICATION -Over time there have been advances in medication therapy for insomnia.

  • COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY-There is extensive evidence that psychological approaches, primarily cognitive behavioural therapy, should be one of the first line of therapy for chronic insomnia. Psychologists need to be trained to develop expertise in a new emerging behavioural sleep medicine for insomnia. This is not completely accepted in the medical community as a valid first line therapy for insomnia. I believe as the training of psychologist advances, then the acceptance of this line of treatment will also advance.

  • BRAINWAVE OPTIMIZATION-Over 50,000 people worldwide have experienced breakthroughs utilizing Brainwave Optimization with RTB™ (Real Time Balancing). This process is effective, holistic and non-invasive method of achieving greater brain balance and harmony. Improving brain function has shown to help with injuries, disorders, stress, pain, anxiety, and insomnia.


Name: Mankato Clinic Sleep Center.
Address: 1230 East Main Street Mankato, MN 56001
Phone #: 507-625-1811 • 1-800-657-6944
Contact Person: Dr. Lisa Davidson
Title: Neurologist working at the Mankato Clinic Sleep Center

-Colburn, D. (1998, Jun 16). Study shows insomnia can have physical roots. The Washington Post. Retrieved from

-Ignoring insomnia costs america $42 billion a year. (2009, May 27). PR Newswire. Retrieved from

-ROGERS, L. (2012, Aug 21). Can't sleep? you could have inherited the insomnia gene. Daily Mail. Retrieved from

Chantal Nack

Health Fair Project-5th Hour
Mrs. Hinz
October 22, 2012