Insomnia – What Is It and How Is It Managed?
Insomnia is defined as a persistent disorder which is characterized by the difficulty of falling asleep, staying asleep or both. With insomnia, you may be awake but still feel unrefreshed. In such cases, your ability to function during the day is significantly affected. This sleep disorder will not only affect your energy level but also your mood, health and your overall quality of life.
The needed sleep varies from one person to another. On average, an adult person needs about seven to eight hours of sleep every night.
Types of Insomnia
There are many adults who experience insomnia at some point of their lives. There are two types of insomnia which are primary insomnia and secondary insomnia. Primary insomnia is the type of insomnia characterized by sleep problems that are not directly related to any other health conditions. On the other hand, secondary insomnia is the type of insomnia that is associated with other health conditions like depression, asthma, cancer, and heartburn. The second type of insomnia may also be associated with pain, substance abuse and medication intake.
Insomnia may also be categorized as chronic and acute insomnia. Acute insomnia or short term insomnia is the type of insomnia that lasts for a short period of time. This can last from one night to several weeks. Chronic insomnia, on the other hand, is the type of insomnia can last up to three days to several months.
What Causes Insomnia?
There are various reasons why you may develop this sleep disorder. For instance, acute insomnia may be caused by significant stress in life like a death of a loved one, a job change or loss, or divorce. This type of insomnia may also be caused by other illnesses, emotional and physical discomfort and certain medications. Environmental factors like noise and extremes in temperature can also interfere with a person’s sleep wake cycle. Chronic insomnia may be caused by conditions like anxiety, depression, chronic stress and pain.
What Are the Symptoms of Insomnia?
The symptoms of this sleep disorder include any of the following:
- General tiredness
- Problems with concentration or memory
- Daytime sleepiness
How is Insomnia Diagnosed?
If you think that you have insomnia, you should seek medical consult right away. Your health care provider will conduct a physical exam, medical history and sleep history. In most cases, you will be asked to keep a record of your sleep patterns and your feelings during the day. Moreover, your bed partner may also be interviewed to help determine the quantity as well as quality of your sleep. In some cases, you will be referred to a sleep center for other special tests.
How is Insomnia Treated?
Acute insomnia does not require any treatment. It can often be prevented and cured through practicing good sleeping habits. However, if your insomnia makes it difficult for you to function during the day because you feel tired and sleepy, your health care provider may prescribe some sleeping pills for a short period of time. You should avoid taking over the counter sleeping pills for insomnia as they may have undesired side effects which will ultimately alter your sleep-wake cycle.