What is Insomnia? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention
What is Insomnia?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is no less than a public health epidemic, and it is a condition wherein is difficult to fall asleep quickly or stay asleep. It is one of the common health conditions and, According to the American Association of Psychiatry (APA), a disorder wherein people find it difficult to fall asleep.
More than 50% of Americans find it difficult to sleep and may fall in the category of the sleep disorder at some point in their lives.
Insomnia can be acute and chronic, and people with Insomnia don’t feel fresh when they jump out of bed in the morning, which may lead to fatigue and daytime lethargy. Treating Insomnia at the early stage can help you sleep like a baby, and at the same time, you will be more energetic and productive throughout the day.
Why is Insomnia common, OR what are its Underlying Causes?
Insomnia may vary; therefore, it is crucial to understand the root cause as this will undoubtedly help you take the right action. Stress, a work-life imbalance, is one of the factors that may cause sleep disorders. Here it is pertinent to understand the underlying cause of Insomnia.
- Stress: is part of modern life, the constant battle to outperform and be the best at work and in personal life is a sole precursor of stress and anxiety that often leave you twisting and turning on the bed.
- Upsetting life events: Often, most people find it difficult to sleep at night due to traumatic events in life.
- Hormonal changes: women are most affected as there is a rush of hormonal changes during that time of the month that also cause sleep issues in women.
- Heavy meals: often, taking heavy meals before bed makes you uncomfortable, and as a result, it is likely to cause heartburn which will keep you awake.
What are the risk factors for Insomnia?
According to the National heart lung and blood institute(NHLBI), certain people are more at risk of Insomnia. It can occur at any age and is more likely to affect females than menfolk.
- High level of stress
- Emotional stress
- Sedentary lifestyle
- changes in work hours and working night shifts
- Different time zone
Symptoms of Insomnia
Common symptoms of Insomnia include:
- Waking up during the middle of the night
- Ongoing errors about sleep
- Difficulty paying attention focusing on a specific task
- Irritability tension and anxiety
- Being unproductive at work
All these symptoms mentioned above are of Insomnia, and often people do not realize that they have Insomnia. As a result, it becomes chronic and requires holistic treatment to battle insomnia.
How to diagnose Sleep Disorder?
If you cannot sleep at night for more than three nights or a minimum of 3 months, you may have a sleep disorder. A host of issues culminates in giving rise to sleep disorders and Insomnia, and this is why it is essential to know the root cause of the disease. Understanding the etiology will help you take the right action that will help you treat the condition, as this will certainly help you manage the sleepless state in the best way possible.
- Your health care practitioner will determine the type of Insomnia after taking your medical history.
- Inquire sleep history and sleep habits
- If he will ask for some medical history to rule out other conditions that may cause Insomnia.
Here it is pertinent to mention that there is no particular test to diagnose Insomnia initially; however, based on your experience, your healthcare personnel will rule out and give the prognosis and treatment plan. The road map of diagnosis of sleep disorders:
- Sleep studies
- Sleep history
In extreme cases of sleep disorder(sleep apnea, PLMD Hypersomnnia narcolepsy), the doctor may run a test -Polysomnogram OR Actigraphy. This test determines the sleep and wake pattern during the night.
Available Treatment of Insomnia- meds, meditation techniques, and the first line of action are Ambien, Zolpidem, Lorazepam, etc. Both antidepressants and benzodiazepines effectively treat sleep disorders and Insomnia in particular.
These medicines accelerate the GABA activity that induces sedative and calming effects on the mind and body, and as a result, they make you fall asleep. These medicines are effective and help you fall asleep in a short period, and it helps improve sleep latency. Different drugs are available in the market to treat Insomnia, and your health care personnel may choose any one of them in accordance with other vital and other conditions as well.
- Melatonin supplements
- Breathing device
- Dental guards
- Anti allergies and histamines
Insomnia requires a holistic approach to help you doze off, so it is essential to the medication. At the same time, it is necessary to make lifestyle changes to help you get rid of Insomnia and sleep disorders. Quitting an unhealthy nighttime routine will help you have better sleep quality, and you will get improved results from the medications.
Insomnia can be easily prevented and managed with specific lifestyle changes and other meditation techniques, along with the medication prescribed by the doctor. All these combined help you treat Insomnia, and at the same time, it will not worsen if you are already struggling with it. Here we have streamlined a few insomnia prevention techniques:
- Keep your sleep-time and wake-time consistent.
- Stay active throughout the day as this will help you feel tired and sleep in the daytime.
- Avoid taking naps during the daytime.
- Keep the check on medication as certain meds often disturb the sleep cycle.
- Avoid Alcohol
- Limit the intake of caffeine in the day or in late in the evening
- Stay away from gadgets and smartphones at least two hours before you hit the sack.
- Dim the lights of the bedroom, make it cozy and comfortable to induce sleeping pills.
Insomnia is a medical condition, and however, you can easily manage it well if you treat it at the nascent stage. One has to sync with the body, take cues and signals that your body is sending to manage sleep issues, and nip it in the bud.