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Insomnia is a kind of sleep disorder in which people usually have one or more of the following symptoms related to sleep:-
- Facing difficulty in being able to sleep.
- Waking up frequently during nighttime and having trouble going back to sleep.
- You are waking up too early in the morning.
- It is having a sleep that does not refresh a person.
Who is accustomed to having the symptoms of insomnia or lack of sleep?
Approximately 50% of adults and teenagers experience occasional bouts of symptoms of insomnia, and 1 in 10 people complain of long-term insomnia. Insomnia is roughly twice as common in women as in men and is highly common in older than younger adults.
The kinds of insomnia
There are two kinds of insomnia or lack of sleep:
- The symptoms of primary insomnia mean that a person is having sleep-related problems that are not directly associated with health conditions or issues.
- The symptoms of secondary (co-morbid) insomnia means that a person is having sleep problems because of some other reason, such as a health condition, for example, asthma, feeling of depression, arthritis, cancer, or heartache, pain, medicine they are taking, or a substance they are taking such as liquor.
Insomnia also varies in how long its symptoms last and how often does it occur. Insomnia can be short-term or can last a long time. It can also come and go when a person has stopped experiencing sleep-related problems. Acute insomnia can last from maybe one night to a few weeks. Insomnia is called chronic when a person has insomnia at least three nights a week, for a month or a more extended period.
There are still other ways to classify symptoms of insomnia. One of the most common forms of symptoms of insomnia is called psychophysiological insomnia. This is a disorder of learning, prevention of sleep associations, such as not being able to sleep because maybe your body or your mind is not feeling relaxed. People with this insomnia excessively worry about not being able to fall or stay asleep when desired and fear that their efforts to fall asleep will be unsuccessful. Many people with this condition are more concerned that they will never fall asleep again. Stress is the most commonly noticed cause of psychophysiological insomnia. While sleep problems are highly common when going through a stressful event, some people continue to have sleep problems even after the stressful event is over. Sometimes the stress and sleep problems tend to create an ongoing and worse cycle of each issue.
In addition to stress, what are the other causes of insomnia?
Causes of acute insomnia can include:
- New significant types of life stressors such as job loss or change, death of a loved one.
- Intake of medication.
- Emotionally or physically uncomfortable.
- Environmental factors like noise, light, or high or low temperatures interfere with sleep.
- Things that interfere with a regular sleep schedule (jet lag or switching from a day to a night shift, for example).
Causes of chronic insomnia include:
- Regular stressful events.
- You are feeling pain or uncomfortable while going to sleep.
What are the commonly seen symptoms of insomnia?
The commonly seen symptoms of insomnia are sleepiness during the day, general tiredness, irritability, and problems with concentration or memory.
How does the diagnosis of insomnia take place?
If you think you have symptoms of insomnia, talk to your health expert. An evaluation may have a physical exam, a medical history, and a sleep history. You may be asked to keep maintaining a sleep diary for a week or two, keeping track of your sleeping patterns and how you feel during the day. Your healthcare provider may want to interview your bed partner about the quantity and quality of your sleep. In some cases, you may be referred to a sleep center for special tests.
How is insomnia treated?
Acute insomnia may not need the requirement of being treated at all, and mild insomnia often can be prevented by practicing good sleeping habits. If your acute or chronic insomnia makes it hard for you to function during the day because you are sleepy and tired, your health expert may prescribe sleeping pills for a limited time. Fast onset, short-acting medicines can help you avoid effects such as drowsiness the following day. Some drugs may be less effective after several weeks of nightly use, however, and long-term safety and effectiveness have not yet been established. Avoid using over-the-counter sleeping pills for insomnia.
Treatment for long-term insomnia includes first treating any underlying conditions or health problems that are causing insomnia. If insomnia continues, your health expert may suggest behavioral therapy. Behavioral therapies help you to change behaviors that may worsen insomnia and to learn new practices to promote sleep. Behavior therapy is commonly used to treat the symptoms of psychophysiological insomnia. Various techniques such as relaxation exercises, biofeedback, restriction therapy of sleep, and reconditioning can be tried. Although these techniques require some effort and usually take time to work, they do provide a means of coping with insomnia that helps people return to more regular patterns of sleep.
What good habits promote a good night’s sleep?
Good sleep habits can help you get a good night’s sleep. For example:
- Think positive:- Never go to bed with a negative mindset, such as “If I don’t sleep for 8 hours, I will start feeling terrible tomorrow.”
- Try to go to sleep at the similar time every night and get up at the same time each morning:- Try not to take naps during the day because naps may make you feel less sleepy at night.
- Avoid the consumption of caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol late in the day:- Caffeine and nicotine-like stimulants can prevent you from falling asleep. Alcohol can also cause waking in the night and interferes with sleep quality.
- Exercise regularly:- Try not to exercise close to the time when you go to sleep because it may stimulate you and make it hard to fall asleep. Experts suggest not to exercise for 4 hours just before the time you go to sleep.
- Don’t eat a heavy meal quite late in the day:- A light snack before bedtime, however, may help you sleep.
- Make your sleeping place comfortable:- Be sure that it is dark, quiet, and not too warm or too cold. If the light is a problem, try wearing a sleeping mask. If noise is a problem, try wearing earplugs.
- Feel relaxed before going to bed by reading a book, listening to good music, taking a bath, or enjoying another activity you will feel comfortable in doing.
- Avoid using your bed for anything else than sleep.
- If you are unable to sleep and don’t feel like sleeping, get up and read or do something that is not stimulating until and unless you do not fall asleep.
- If you have trouble lying awake by worrying about things, try making a to-do list before you intend to go to bed. This may help you not to focus on those things that make you worried.
- Stop clockwatching. Turn the clock around and take help of the alarm.