In today’s world, people have been fallen prey to unhealthy activities and technology, which has resulted in several emotional, physical, and other mental disorders. The pace of life has made people forgotten the significance of health and self-care.
Among all the diseases and disorders, depression, anxiety, and insomnia are the most common ones. Not only do the elderly suffer from this, but youngsters, mostly teenagers, are a victim as well.
If you have observed changes in your sleeping patterns, continue reading the blog as you might be suffering from insomnia. Learn its symptoms, causes, and treatments for healthy living.
What is Insomnia?
Insomnia is defined as a sleeping disorder in which a person finds it hard to sleep, stay asleep, or wake up and cannot fall asleep again. It is a condition through which a person can suffer from irregular sleeping patterns due to multiple reasons.
If you always feel tired after your sleep or wake up too early and do not feel fresh, chances are, you have insomnia. Although every person has his sleeping pattern, and it varies, the average sleep required for an adult is 7 to 8 hours.
Sleeping disorder can result from many factors but the two major components include; sleeping difficulties even when you have enough opportunities and daytime impairment that is caused by poor sleep researchers identified that almost 10% to 30% of the global population suffers from insomnia, while other studies concluded that this result is 60% to 70%.
Different Types of Insomnia
Similar to other disorders, there are multiple types of insomnia. Not every person with this disorder suffers from a similar kind. In order to identify the criticality of the disease and its damaging medical problems, it is essential to know the different types.
Following are the types of insomnia that are commonly observed in the patients:
Acute Insomnia - This type of insomnia is a short-term disorder that do not last for longer than a month. Acute insomnia is also known as adjustment insomnia that is usually caused by when the environment around the person changes.
The following factors can cause short term insomnia:
- Uncomfortable sleeping place.
- Stimulation or unfamiliarity of the environment.
- Excessive noise.
- Excessive light.
- Extreme weather temperatures.
- Side effects of medication.
- Temporary depression
- Jet lag
Acute insomnia is not a serious condition and is usually treated on its own. Try using natural remedies to relax and treat this short-term insomnia.
Chronic Insomnia - Although insomnia is a condition that stays for a shorter period of time, in some cases, it extends for a longer time resulting in a chronic form of insomnia. When your sleep gets disturbed frequently in a week for months, you have long-term insomnia.
Chronic insomnia is of two types; primary and secondary. In the primary type, there are no clear or vivid reasons for a disorder, and because of this, it is also known as idiopathic insomnia.
While in the secondary type, other medical conditions lead a person towards insomnia. Following are the primary causes of chronic insomnia:
- Medical conditions such as acid reflux, thyroid, diabetes, sleep apnea, Parkinson’s disease, and chronic pain.
- Psychological disorders, such as bipolar, depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia.
- Lifestyle factors.
- Nasal blockage.
- Sinus allergies
This type of insomnia is extremely damaging to health so it should be treated as soon as you are diagnosed or observe any symptom.
Behavioral Insomnia - Another common type of insomnia is behavioral insomnia of childhood (BIC) observed in children. It has various sub-types, and a child can suffer from either one or a combination of all the types.
- BIC Limit-Setting - This is behavioral insomnia that occurs when a child refuses to go to bed or sleep.
- BIC - Sleep-Onset - When a child negatively associates sleep with routines such as being rocked or listen to poems while going to bed, BIC sleep onset is observed.
- BIC Combined Type - It is the type in which a child possesses the traits of both limit-setting and sleep onset.
Behavioral insomnia is commonly observed in children. If treated right, it can easily be cured.
Maintenance Insomnia - Maintenance insomnia is general insomnia in which the person finds it hard to stay asleep, going back to sleep, or waking up early. The causes of this insomnia include:
- Restless legs syndrome
- Respiratory conditions such as asthma
- Psychological conditions, such as depression, anxiety, etc.
No matter which type of insomnia you are suffering from, it can be very exasperating for the patient. Get medical assistance for your sleep disorder to live a happy and healthy life.
Common Symptoms of Insomnia
A larger number of the human population suffers or experience multiple insomnia symptoms in the present times. This disorder is characterized by constant difficulty in falling and staying asleep. The symptoms and types of insomnia vary from person to person.
Read below to learn the primary symptoms observed when a person is suffering from insomnia:
- Having difficulty falling asleep at night.
- Waking up too early
- Waking up tired
- Waking up in the middle of the sleep
- Daytime impairment
- Increased accidents or errors in the day to day tasks
- Difficulty paying attention to things
- Not being able to focus or remember.
- Persistent mood swings
- Frequent headache
- Acid reflux
- Excessive worrying
- Lack of energy
- Behavioral issues
Apart from the general symptoms, other signs can cause serious sleep problems and exacerbate pre-existing medical problems, such as:
- Asthma and other respiratory problems
- Cardiovascular problems (high blood pressure, heart diseases)
- Substance abuse
- Chronic pain
- Pregnancy complications
- Problems in the immune system
- Metabolic issues
- Hormonal problems
- Eating disorders
Consult a doctor or physician if you observe any of the symptoms given in the list above and facing difficulties in daily life. Even if your signs do not qualify for chronic insomnia, get yourself examined as you could be suffering from acute or short-term insomnia.
Causes of Insomnia
Almost every person has had insomnia at least once in his life. This common sleep problem results from many ordinary and severe causes that pave the path for acute, chronic, maintenance, or BIC insomnia.
To get diagnosed and treated correctly, it is essential to know the primary causes of insomnia. Following are the factors of insomnia:
Difficult Traveling and Working Schedule - One major reason why people have insomnia is because of their working and traveling patterns. Such schedules affect your metabolism, body temperature, and above all, your sleep-wake cycle.
When the body’s circadian rhythms get disrupted, people witness insomnia. This can cause by traveling to different time zones or frequently changing working shifts.
Stress and Exertion - Concerns about daily routine and tasks such as school, work, finance, family, etc., can keep you awake all night, causing insomnia. Moreover, traumas and stressful life events also lead to different types of insomnia.
Poor Eating Habits - When you eat a lot before bedtime, it is extremely discomforting for the body when you lie down, and it causes disturbance in your sleep. It is due to the experience of heartburn and the backflow of acid that keeps you awake.
Poor Sleeping Habits - Almost all people with insomnia can relate to the fact that their disorder’s major cause is irregular sleeping habits. Activities such as working before going to bed, playing video games, and taking short naps can make it difficult for you to sleep. Moreover, an uncomfortable sleeping environment can also lead to insomnia.
Medical Conditions - Many medical conditions can be a cause of insomnia. Diabetes, cancer, heart diseases, Alzheimer’s, overactive thyroid, gastroesophageal reflux, Parkinson’s disease, etc., can result in insomnia.
Mental Disorders - Mental conditions are a common cause of insomnia. Depression, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress, bipolar disorder, etc., can lead to chronic insomnia.
Certain Medications - Side effects of some medications can also be a cause of insomnia. Prescribed drugs such as certain antidepressants, blood pressure medicines, painkillers, and allergy pills can disrupt sleep.
Consumption of Caffeine and Alcohol - Coffee, sugar, and caffeinated drinks are stimulants. Consuming them in the afternoon or before bed can cause sleeping problems.
Moreover, alcohol and nicotine consumption can disrupt your sleep, as well. Although alcohol will make you sleepy, it will prevent you from going into a deeper stage of your sleep.
When you are aware of the causes, it gets easier for you to either avoid them or treat them. Health experts and doctors suggest avoiding habits and unnecessary medications to deal with insomnia.
Risk Factors of Insomnia in Different Ages
Risk factors of insomnia depend on multiple aspects. Apart from medication, aging, and gender impact insomnia in so many ways. In the following section, the risk factors of insomnia are discussed in detail.
Insomnia and Aging
In older age, the sleeping patterns usually get disturbed. You become more restless, and little things start affecting you and your sleep. With age, you internally get weak and tired. It disrupts your sleep as you wake up early and feel dizzy by evening. It can be a really significant factor for insomnia.
With passing age, physical and social activities decrease. Lack of activity makes it harder for people to take naps or fall asleep at night.
Chronic pain that results from back problems, arthritis, depression, frequent urination, and heart diseases are common in old age that increases the risk factors of insomnia. Including this, older adults are usually on medicines that affect their sleep and can be a factor in insomnia.
Insomnia in Children and Teens
Children and teenagers fall victim to insomnia as well. Youngsters usually have disturbed sleeping patterns and schedules. They prefer staying awake late and wake up late in the morning as well. These disturbed sleeping routines increase the risk of insomnia.
Insomnia During Pregnancy
The hormonal imbalance in females leads to many health problems, including insomnia. Especially when a woman gets pregnant, the risk of insomnia increases. The shift of hormones causes many disturbances in the body and mind resulting in serious medical conditions.
No matter which stage of pregnancy you are at, insomnia can hit you hard. Due to increased urination, heartburn, nausea, and out-of-control hormones at night, staying in bed become impossible.
Moreover, some women experience complications in pre and post-conception due to which heavy medication is consumed. In addition to this, depression and anxiety are commonly observed in pregnant women, which is another reason for staying awake at night and disrupted sleep.
Insomnia can be damaging to the health of the mother. It causes chronic labor pains and can also result in cesarean sections. To treat insomnia during pregnancy, the following things can be done:
- Increased activity
- Staying hydrated
- Having a healthy diet
- Maintaining the sleep schedule.
- Practicing to relax
- Taking warm baths before bed
Insomnia Treatment and Diagnosis
Every disease and disorder can be cured and treated if it is diagnosed at the right time. If you are diagnosed with insomnia or yourself analyzed your conditions, it is essential to know that not all insomnia types are fatal or require treatment to be cured.
Acute insomnia is the type that does not require severe treatment as the condition is not serious. While for other chronic types, the following are the treatments that are found useful in curing insomnia.
Sleep Hygiene Education - There are several therapies that can treat insomnia, including sleep hygiene education. According to this therapy, the expert educates the patient about incompatible activities, routines, and eating habits.
Cognitive and Relaxation Therapy - Another way to treat insomnia is through cognitive or relaxation therapy. In this, the therapist corrects the beliefs about sleeping and its pattern. Moreover, it helps patient control tension and encourages to relax.
Stimulus-Control Therapy - This therapy is done by associating the sleeping area and or bed for just sleeping purposes. The therapist motivates the patient to use the bed only to sleep and not do activities like working, watching TV, etc.
Sleep Restriction Therapy - This therapy states that staying in bed more often leads to insomnia, so limit the time that you spend in bed.
Medicines - Apart from therapies, certain drugs can be consumed to treat insomnia. These drugs include sedative-hypnotic drugs, sedative antidepressants, and other medications.
Getting an Emotional Support Animal - As insomnia is caused by mental disorders as well, an emotional support animal can also be helpful in the treatment. Providing emotional assistance to patients helps them relax, stay calm, and stable their mental conditions.
Any animal can be your emotional support, but the most come are cats and dogs. People get these animals for affection and treat them as companions. Loving and playing with these animals releases a hormone or chemical in the body that helps relax the patient.
To get an emotional support animal, an ESA letter is required, that a mental health expert writes. Find a legit place to get your emotional support animal letter and treat your insomnia effectively.
Insomnia can be treated naturally as well. Taking a healthy and balanced diet, maintaining a healthy routine, and exercising daily can help you beat insomnia.
Tips to Prevent Insomnia
Knowing the causes and treatments alone will not help you stay away or avoid insomnia. To prevent this, health experts have gathered some tips that have been proven really effective.
- Keep the sleeping pattern constant. Go to bed and wake up at the fixed time even on weekends. Avoid taking naps during the daytime.
- Do not use gadgets or watch TV before going to sleep as the screen light makes it harder for you to sleep.
- Avoid consuming caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol before bedtime.
- Exercise regularly but make sure to not work out right before going to bed.
- Avoid taking heavy meals in your dinner. Rather, have snacks.
- Make the room and environment cozy and comfortable. Dark and quiet rooms help you fall asleep faster.
- Follow a relaxing routine before going to sleep. Listen to soothing music, read a book, or take a warm bath.
- Avoid using the bed for working and watching TV. Use it only to sleep.
- Meditation and yoga help you have a sound sleep.
There are many formal treatments to deal with insomnia, yet people prefer taking natural measures to treat and cure their health-related problems. No matter which way you choose to prevent insomnia, make sure to follow a healthy lifestyle with it.
Insomnia is a common disorder that can be treated easily if analyzed timely. Make sure to find some time for yourself to determine unusual behaviors, their causes, and how you can prevent falling prey to medical problems.
Never avoid unusual things that happen to you repetitively and get your routine checkups to ensure a healthy body and mind.