Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which individuals find it difficult to fall asleep or wake up too early and are not able to sleep again. People with insomnia often feel tired when they wake up. This may lead to extreme fatigue. Insomnia can slow down the energy level and mood as well as deteriorating health and quality of life.
Symptoms of insomnia include:
There are two types of insomnia:
Primary insomnia: This means that a person is having sleep issues that are not associated with any other health-related problems.
Secondary insomnia: A person is having sleep problems due to some other health-related issues like asthma, depression, heartburn, cancer, arthritis, pain, etc.
Insomnia varies on how often it occurs and how long it lasts. It can happen for a short period (acute insomnia), or it can last for a very long time (chronic insomnia). It can also happen in intervals. Acute insomnia can last from one night to a few weeks. While in chronic, a person has insomnia for at least three nights in a week which may last for three to four months or longer.
Physical, as well as psychological factors, can cause insomnia. Some common causes of insomnia are:
Stress: Tension about work, health, finance, family, or any other reason can make a person active at night, making it hard to fall asleep. Stressful life events and traumatic accidents may also lead to insomnia.
Bad sleep habits: Poor sleeping habits include irregular sleep schedule, naps, unbearable sleep environment. Using the bed for work such as eating, watching television, using the computers or using the smartphone just before bed can interfere the sleep cycle.
Overeating late in the evening: Having light snacks before going to bed is healthy, but eating a heavy meal can make a person physically uncomfortable in lying down. Many people may feel a backflow acid from the stomach into the oesophagus after having food, which can make an individual awake.
Disturbance in circadian rhythm: Jet lag, high altitudes, irregular job schedule, environmental noise or weather (too hot or too cold) can cause sleep problems.
Psychological issues: Depression, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, psychotic disorder.
Medical issues: Chronic pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, acid reflux disease, congestive heart failure, chronic pulmonary disease, asthma, arthritis, etc.
Caffeine and nicotine: Coffee, tea, and other caffeinated drinks work as stimulants. Drinking them in the evening or night can keep an individual from falling asleep. Nicotine in tobacco is another example of stimulants that can interfere with sleep.
Almost every individual has an occasional sleepless night. But risk towards insomnia is high in the following cases:
Being a women – Hormonal shifts during the menstrual cycle, and menopause can play a vital role. During menopause, sweat and hot flashes may interfere with sleep. Being an insomniac is very common during pregnancy too.
Aged 60 years or above – Insomnia increases with age because of the change in sleeping patterns and health conditions.
Having a mental or physical health condition – Many issues impact mental as well as physical health of a person and can disrupt sleep.
An irregular schedule – Changing work shifts and traveling can interfere with the sleep-wake cycle.
Insomnia becomes more common as people grow older. During aging one might experience:
Changes in sleep pattern- Sleep often becomes restless with aging. With age, the internal clock upgrades, so a person becomes tired earlier in the evening and wakes up earlier in the morning. But the fact is that the elderly need the same amount of sleep as younger people require.
Change in health- Chronic pain from conditionals like arthritis, back problems, anxiety, or depression can disrupt sleep. Sleep apnea and restless legs are more common in aged people.
Change in activity- With aging, people become less active and less socialize. Lack of activity can also interfere in good sleep.
Medication- The elderly usually take more prescribed drugs than younger people, increasing the chance of being insomniac.
Sleep is as essential for health as physical activity and a healthy diet. Insomnia can affect a person mentally as well as physically. Insomniac people experience a low-quality of life as compared to people who are sleeping well.
Some complications associated with insomnia are:
Good sleeping habits are known as sleep hygiene and may help an insomniac to get peaceful and adequate sleep. Here are some tips:
Try to go to sleep at the same time each night and wake up at the same time every morning. Try to avoid naps; this may cause less sleepiness at night
Avoid too much use of phones before bed. A phone’s light can make it harder to fall asleep.
Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol late in the day as these stimulants can disrupt sleep.
Diagnostic and Pathology Tests Available At House of Diagnostics (HOD).
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