What is Insomnia
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that can interfere with falling asleep, staying asleep for a long time, or waking up too early and be unable to fall asleep again. People with insomnia have difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep despite adequate opportunities and times to sleep. People with insomnia often feel restless even when they wake up. They are sometimes preoccupied with getting enough sleep. They also have a lower quality of life than people who sleep well. Older adults are less likely to sleep soundly because of physical changes associated with aging, and because they may have a medical condition that will require medications that interfere with sleep.
Many problems that affect your mental or physical health can interfere with sleep. PTSD and other anxiety disorders can interfere with sleep. Chronic pain due to conditions like arthritis or back problems and depression or anxiety can interfere with sleep. Many prescription medications can interfere with sleep, such as some antidepressants and asthma or blood pressure medications.
Causes of insomnia
- The most common causes of insomnia include stress, irregular sleep schedules, poor sleep habits, psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression, medical illness and pain, medications, neurological problems, and specific sleep disorders.
- Many medical conditions and diseases can contribute to insomnia, including asthma, allergies, Parkinson’s disease, hyperthyroidism, acid reflux, kidney disease, and cancer.
Note: Some insomnia medications can be addictive, and many prescription medications can cause dizziness, drowsiness, or worsening depression or suicidal thoughts. As with younger people, stress, physical ailments, mental health issues, and poor sleep can cause insomnia in older people.
- Medications for emphysema, blood pressure, and allergies can also sometimes cause insomnia.
- Insomnia itself is a sleep disorder, but it can also be a symptom of other sleep disorders, including sleep apnoea, restless legs syndrome, and cardiac rhythm disturbances associated with jet lag or shift work at night.
- Obstructive sleep apnoea, which causes multiple pauses in breathing and temporary interruptions in sleep, occurs in up to 20% of people and can cause insomnia and daytime sleepiness.
Due to changes in sleep patterns and health conditions, insomnia increases with age. Short-term insomnia (insomnia lasting less than 3 months) is usually caused by temporary stressors such as changes in the sleep environment and chronic insomnia is usually caused by stress, life events, or sleep-disrupting habits. Other types of disorders, including those that affect the respiratory or nervous systems, can cause sleep problems that can lead to short-term or chronic insomnia.
Symptoms of insomnia
Insomnia occurs when you fail to sleep well for several days in a row and feel exhausted and tired throughout the day. Insomnia is most commonly characterized by:
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
- Falling asleep takes a long time (usually we fall asleep on average after 15 minutes).
- Waking up frequently at night, after which it is difficult to go back to sleep.
- During the day, you experience fatigue, stress, headaches, and difficulty concentrating.
Treatment of Insomnia
Identifying habits that Cause Insomnia and disrupt Sleep While treating the underlying physical and mental problem is a good step in treating insomnia.
An insomnia treatment plan may include
- treating the underlying medical problem,
- learning, and practicing sleep patterns,
- cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
- hygiene education and
- behaviour modification.
Certain medications can also help manage insomnia and help you have a regular sleep schedule. Your doctor may also prescribe sleeping pills, especially if the insomnia is caused by acute stress (such as the loss of a loved one), if you have any underlying disease(s) or if non-drug approaches have not worked.
If changing sleep habits or addressing the underlying causes of insomnia doesn’t help, prescription medications or sleeping pills can be used to help you relax and fall asleep. By addressing the root causes and making simple changes to your daily habits and sleep environment, you can get rid of insomnia and finally get a good night’s sleep. Establishing healthy sleep habits and only going to bed when you want to sleep can help you get rid of conditional insomnia.
It is often possible to alleviate acute (short-term) insomnia by changing lifestyle habits, such as establishing good sleeping habits. The same lifestyle and behavioural practices recommended for other forms of insomnia help reduce anxiety-related insomnia, such as limiting stressful topics of conversation during the day.
Cognitive behavioural therapy, such as relaxation training to relax the mind and body before bed, can help manage adaptive insomnia and provide other long-term health benefits
These tips can help you sleep better if you suffer from insomnia.
- You should not drink alcoholic or caffeinated beverages before you retire to sleep (4 to 6 hours before bedtime).
- Smoking before bed is not a wise idea.
- Make sure you don’t eat a heavy meal just before bedtime.
- Falling asleep is a lot easier if you have a sleep routine. The body eventually realizes that it is sleep time through repeated fixed activities (taking a bath, brushing teeth, putting on pyjamas, reading a book, etc.).
- Go to sleep because you’re exhausted and ready to sleep, not because it’s “too late.”
- Your bedroom is only for sleeping, so don’t take your work with you. Sleep is the only thing your brain should associate with the bedroom.
- Keep the same wake-up time and go-to-bed time every day, even on weekends. Your biological clock will benefit from this. Also avoid daytime naps.
Whatever the reason for your insomnia, insomnia can affect your mind and body. Worrying about not getting enough sleep often makes insomnia worse. Sleep deprivation can also cause or worsen other health conditions, creating a complex chain of insomnia cause and effect. Sleep problems and insomnia can be side effects of many medications.
If insomnia is preventing you from functioning during the day, see your doctor to determine the cause of your sleep problem and how to treat it. If your doctor is concerned that your insomnia may be caused by sleep apnoea or another sleep disorder, you may be referred to a hypnotherapist. Many people choose not to discuss insomnia symptoms with their doctor; however, people should see a doctor if insomnia interferes with daytime activities.