Insomnia - a night mare
Insomnia is a nighttime sleeping problem. Insomnia is "difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep, or both." Although most of us know what insomnia is and how we feel and perform after one or more sleepless nights, few seek medical advice. Occasional insomnia is experienced by more than a third of American adults, and chronic insomnia is known to effect more than one in ten! (What, that is a huge number of people that walk around as zombies).
Many people remain unaware of the behavioral and medical options available for treatment. Insomnia affects all age groups. Among older adults, insomnia affects women more often than men. The incidence increases with age. Stress most commonly triggers short-term or acute insomnia. If you do not address your insomnia, however, it may develop into chronic insomnia.
Different types of Insomnia:
- Transient (short term) insomnia lasts from a single night to a few weeks.
- Intermittent (on and off) insomnia is short term, which happens from time to time.
- Chronic (on-going) insomnia occurs at least 3 nights a week over a month or more. Chronic insomnia is either primary or secondary:
- Primary insomnia is not related to any other health problem.
- Secondary insomnia can be caused by a medical condition (such as cancer, asthma, or arthritis), drugs, stress or a mental health problem (such as depression), or a poor sleep environment (such as too much light or noise, or a bed partner who snores).
Symptoms of Insomnia:
Daytime problems, such as:
- Lack of energy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Waking up too early in the morning
- Trouble falling asleep
- Waking up a lot during the night without returning to sleep
Causes of Insomnia:
Insomnia may result from either psychological or physical causes. The most common psychological problems include anxiety, stress, and depression. Most common medical problems that initiate insomnia are chronic pain, congestive heart failure and COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Certain medicines are also responsible for insomnia like medicine for high blood pressure, asthma and cold.
Treatment for Insomnia:
If insomnia is caused by a short-term change in the sleep/wake schedule, as with jet lag, your sleep schedule may return to normal on its own. If your insomnia makes it hard for you to function during the day, talk to your doctor.
Treatment for chronic insomnia includes:
- Finding and treating any medical conditions or mental health problems.
Looking for routines or behaviors, like drinking alcohol at night, that may lead to the insomnia or make it worse, and stopping (or reducing) them.
Possibly using sleeping pills, although controversy surrounds the long-term use of sleeping pills. You should talk to your doctor about the risks and side-effects.
- Relaxation Therapy which aims to reduce stress and body tension. As a result, your mind is able to stop "racing," the muscles can relax, and restful sleep can occur.
Sleep Restriction- Some women suffering from insomnia spend too much time in bed trying to fall asleep. They may be helped by a sleep restriction program under the guidance of their doctor. The goal is to sleep continuously and get out of bed at the desired wake time. This treatment involves, for example, going to bed later or getting up earlier and slowly increasing the amount of time in bed until the person is able to sleep normally throughout the night.
Reconditioning- This means using your bed only at bedtime when sleepy or for sex. Avoid other activities in your bed, such as reading or watching TV. Over time, your body will relate bed and bedtime with sleep.
Insomnia among seniors:
Several health conditions that affect older people can interfere with sleep, including:
- High blood pressure
- Parkinson's disease
- Alzheimer's disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Heart disease
- An enlarged prostate
These conditions may cause breathing difficulties, frequent urination or pain that awakens you during the night. If you think an illness is causing your insomnia, talk to your doctor.
How to improve sleep habits:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends, even if you didn't get enough sleep. This will help train your body to sleep at night.
- Develop a bedtime routine. Do the same thing every night before going to sleep. For example, take a warm bath and then read for 10 minutes every night before going to bed. Soon you'll connect these activities with sleeping, and doing them will help make you sleepy.
- Use the bedroom only for sleeping or having sex. Don't eat, talk on the phone or watch TV while you're in bed.
- Make sure your bedroom is quiet and dark. If noise is a problem, use a fan to mask the noise or use ear plugs. If you must sleep during the day, hang dark blinds over the windows or wear an eye mask.
- If you're still awake after trying to fall asleep for 30 minutes, get up and go to another room. Sit quietly for about 20 minutes before going back to bed. Do this as many times as you need to until you can fall asleep.
Here is a great video l found that explains about not getting enough sleep and what people do, see what you think.
According to doctor most adults need about 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. So if you are feeling sleepy and lazy during day time and not getting a sound sleep, you should consult a doctor, especially if you go without proper sleep for a number of days. Insomnia is a symptom, not a stand-alone diagnosis however it can lead to a critical disease if not treated correctly.
(Sources: emedicinehealth.com, americaninsomniaassociation.org )