Overview

Insomnia is a typical disorder that makes it difficult to get to bed or remain asleep or makes you wake up early and unable to go back to sleep. It is possible that you will be tired upon waking up. Sleeping in can affect your energy and mood and your overall health, your work performance, and the quality of your life.

How much sleep do you need? The amount of sleep required varies from person to person, but most adults require 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night.

In their lives, many adults suffer from temporary (acute) insomnia that can last for days or even weeks. It’s typically the result of trauma or stress incidents. However, some suffer from chronic (chronic) insomnia, which lasts for a month or longer. Sleeping disorders may be the main issue, or they could result from other medical disorders or medication.

There is no need to endure sleeping at night. Instead, simple changes to your routine can assist.

The signs of Insomnia

The symptoms of insomnia could include:

  • Trouble falling asleep at night
  • Then waking up in the morning.
  • The alarm clock is too early.
  • Feeling tired after a good night’s sleep.
  • The tiredness of the day or lack of sleep
  • Depression, anxiety, or Irritability.
  • Trouble paying attention and focusing on tasks or recalling.
  • Accidents or errors that are more frequent
  • Sleep worries never stop.

When is the best time to visit a doctor?

If insomnia is making it difficult for you to function throughout the day, consult your physician to identify the root cause of your sleep issues and determine how to address it. Suppose your doctor suspects that you may have a sleep disorder. In that case, may refer you to an institute for sleep examination.

The Reasons

Insomnia could be the most significant issue, or it could be a symptom of other ailments.

The most common cause of chronic insomnia is caused by circumstances, stress, or lifestyles that interfere with sleep. Treatment of the root cause may help with insomnia, but occasionally it may last for several years.

Common causes of insomnia that cause chronic sleep include:

  • The stress. Concerns about work or school and health, finances, or family members can keep your mind active during the night, making it hard to fall asleep. Traumatic life events that cause stress – like the loss or disease of a family member, divorce, divorce, or job loss can cause insomnia.
  • Work or travel schedule. Your circadian rhythms serve as an internal timer that regulates your sleep-wake cycle, metabolism, and body temperature. The disruption of the body’s circadian rhythms could cause sleepiness. The causes include jet lag caused by traveling through multiple time zones and working a late or an early one, and regularly shifting shifts.
  • Poor sleeping routines. Poor sleep habits are characterized by an irregular schedule for bedtime and naps, stimulating activities before bed, and an uncomfortable environment for sleeping or using the bed for food preparation, work, or even watching television. Before bedtime, televisions, computers, smartphones, video games, or other screens can disrupt the sleep cycle.
  • Consuming too much into the night. Having a light snack before bed is fine; however, eating too much can make you feel uncomfortable while sitting on your back. Many people have heartburn, which is the reflux of acid and food particles from the stomach to the esophagus that can keep them awake.

Chronic insomnia can also be linked to medical ailments or certain medications. Treatment for the medical condition can improve sleep; however, insomnia could persist when the medical condition is improved.

Depressed woman sitting in bed cannot sleep from insomnia

Common Causes of Insomnia

  • Mental health issues. Anxiety disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder could affect your sleep. The early start can be an indication of depression. Insomnia is frequently associated with other mental health conditions too.
  • Medical Treatment. Many prescription drugs can disrupt sleep, including certain antidepressants and medicines for blood pressure or asthma. A number of prescription medications available over the counter include pain medication, allergy, cold pills, and weight-loss supplements containing caffeine and other stimulants that can disturb sleep.
  • Medical conditions. Examples of conditions related to insomnia are chronic pain such as diabetes, cancer, asthma, heart disease, gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD), thyroid hyperactivity, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Sleep-related conditions. Sleep apnea causes the body to stop frequently breathing during the night, disrupting your sleep. Restless legs syndrome triggers uncomfortable feelings in the legs and an almost uncontrollable urge to move your legs, which could keep you from sleeping.
  • Caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. Coffee, tea, and cola, as well as other drinks that contain caffeine, are stimulants. Drinking them late in the afternoon or evening could prevent you from sleeping at the time of night. Nicotine, a component of tobacco products, is another stimulant that may disrupt sleep. Alcohol can help you fall asleep; however, it does not allow the deeper stages of sleep and is often the reason for wakefulness in the middle of the night.

Aging and insomnia

The incidence of insomnia increases as you get older. As you get older, you may experience:

  • Changes in the patterns of sleep. Sleep often becomes less relaxing as you age, and noise or changes to your environment tend to awake you. As you age, the internal clock of your body changes, and you become exhausted earlier at night and awake early in the day. However, older people generally require the same rest as younger people do.
  • Activity changes. You may be less active physically or socially. Lack of exercise could hinder a good night’s rest. In addition, the more inactive you are and the less likely you will have a regular nap, which can affect the quality of sleep you get in the night.
  • Health changes. Chronic pain from ailments like back or arthritis and depression and anxiety can disrupt sleep. Problems that make it more difficult to urinate at night – such as bladder and prostate issues, could cause sleep disruption. Sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome are more common as you the advancing years.
  • More drugs. Older people typically take more prescription medications than younger individuals, which increases the risk of sleeplessness caused by medication.

Insomnia among children and teenagers.

Sleep issues can be a major concern for teenagers and children too. Some youngsters and teens struggle to fall asleep or resist a regular bedtime because their internal clocks are delayed. As a result, they prefer to sleep later and then sleep earlier in the day.

Risk factors of Insomnia

Everybody has at least one sleepless night. However, your chance of experiencing sleeping through the night is greater if:

  • You’re female. Hormonal shifts during the menstrual cycle and menopausal cycles could play a part. Menopausal women experience hot flashes at night, and sweaty nights can cause sleep disruption. Sleepiness is also common in pregnancies.
  • You’re older than sixty. Because of changes in the way you sleep and your health, insomnia is more common as you the advancing years.
  • You are suffering from a mental health issue or physical health issue. Many problems that can affect your physical or psychological health may disrupt your sleep.
  • You’re in a state of stress. Stressful times and circumstances can trigger occasional sleepiness. Stress that is long-lasting or severe can cause persistent drowsiness.
  • There is no regular timetable. For example, shifting shifts at work or travel can alter your sleep/wake cycles.

Complications

Sleep is crucial to your health as a balanced diet and regular physical exercise. Whatever the cause of your sleep deprivation, insomnia can be a problem both mentally and physically. People living with Insomnia report an inferior quality of life compared to people who sleep well.

Insomnia-related complications can include:

  • Poor performance at work or in school.
  • Slower reaction time when driving and an increased likelihood of accidents
  • Mental health problems, for instance, depression, anxiety disorder, or addiction to drugs.
  • Greater risk and severity of chronic diseases or conditions, for example, hypertension and coronary disease.

Prevention

A good night’s sleep can prevent insomnia and promote restful sleep:

  • Make sure you keep your bedtime and your waketime constant daily and even on weekends.
  • Be active. Regular activities can lead to a better night’s rest.
  • Examine your medication to determine whether it could be contributing to insomnia.
  • Do not take naps or limit them.
  • Limit or avoid the intake of alcohol and caffeine. Also, avoid using nicotine.
  • Beware of eating large meals and drinking alcohol before bedtime.
  • Create a bedroom that is comfortable to sleeping and use it only for sleep or sex.
  • Set up a peaceful bedtime routine that includes bathing in the warm water and reading or listening to soft music.

Treatment

Changes in your sleep patterns and dealing with any issues causing insomnia, including stress, medical conditions, or medications, can help restore the quality of sleep that many people need. However, suppose these methods don’t result in improvement. In that case, your physician may suggest cognitive behavior therapy, medication, or both, to improve sleep and relaxation.

Cognitive-behavioral treatment to treat insomnia

The cognitive-behavioral treatment to treat insomnia (CBT-I) can assist you in reducing or stopping negative thoughts and behaviors that cause you to be awake. It is usually suggested as the first option for those who have insomnia. In general, CBT-I is as or even more effective than sleep medication.

CBT-I’s cognitive aspect helps you recognize and modify beliefs that influence your sleep. It enables you to manage or get rid of anxiety and thoughts which keep you up at night. It can also aid in breaking the vicious cycle when you’re so anxious about sleeping that you’re unable to sleep.

The CBT-I behavioral component helps you develop healthy sleep habits and eliminate habits that prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.

The strategies

  • The stimulation control therapy. This method helps to eliminate factors that force your mind to not sleep. For instance, could instruct you to establish the same schedule for wake and bedtimes and take naps. You should also use the bed solely for sleep or sex and leave your bedroom if you don’t fall asleep within 20 minutes. Return after you’ve fallen asleep.
  • Relaxation methods. Progressive muscle relaxation, breathing exercises, and biofeedback can help reduce anxiety before bed. Learning these techniques will aid in controlling your heart rate, breathing, mood, and muscle tension so that you can sleep.
  • Limitation of sleep. This therapy decreases the amount of time you stay in bed and prevents you from taking afternoon naps, leading the body to sleep less, which causes you to be more exhausted the next day. After your sleep is improved, your time at night gradually increases.
  • Being awake and passive. Also called paradoxical intent, this treatment for sleep disorders aims to alleviate anxiety and stress about not being able to go to sleep. It involves getting into bed and staying awake instead of expecting to be asleep.
  • Therapy with light. If you fall to sleep too early and wake up in the morning, then you could utilize light therapy to reset the internal timer. It is possible to go outside when the sun is shining at night. Or use an electronic lightbox. Discuss with your doctor the best options.

Your physician may suggest other methods related to your lifestyle and the environment you sleep in to help you build habits that encourage good sleep and alertness during the day.

Prescription medication

Sleeping pills prescribed by a doctor can aid you in getting to sleep, remaining asleep, or both. Doctors generally do not recommend taking prescription sleeping pills for longer than a couple of weeks; however, some medications have been approved for long-term use.

Examples include:

  • Eszopiclone (Lunesta)
  • Ramelteon (Rozerem)
  • Zaleplon (Sonata)
  • Zolpidem (Ambien, Edluar, Intermezzo, Zolpimist)

Prescription sleeping pills may cause negative side effects, for instance, making you feel groggy during the day and increasing the likelihood of falling. They also may cause habit-forming products. So, talk to your physician about these drugs and other possible side effects.

Sleep aids that are available over-the-counter

Non-prescription sleep medication contains antihistamines which can induce drowsiness; however, they’re not designed for continuous usage. Consult your physician before taking these medications since antihistamines could cause side consequences, including dizziness, sleepiness during the day and confusion, cognitive decline, and difficulty in urinating. It can be more prevalent when you’re older.

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