Insomnia – A general analysis

Ability to get insufficient amount of sleep is called insomnia. The conditions can be in falling asleep, remaining asleep, or both. It is a universal disorder that affects millions of people around the globe. It can be caused by many different conditions, diseases, and circumstances

About Insomnia

Insomnia is a very common condition that perhaps affects most people at one time or another. However, its recurrence is more frequent in specific groups of people e.g. it is more common in women and elderly. People who are divorced, widowed, or separated having more chances of getting this disease than those who are single or married.

Short-term, or acute, insomnia usually vanished within a few days. Long-term, or chronic, insomnia lasts for several weeks. People who are running short of sleep for extended periods of time are at high risk to themselves and to others as well. Normally they cannot concentrate while conducting daily activities. As a result, they are more likely to have accidents at work or while driving. They may also become moody and depressed. Chronic insomnia may also cause immune disorders. The body’s immune system fights against intruders like bacteria and viruses. When a person is unable to sleep well, his or her immune system starts malfunctioning, leaving them exposed to infection and disease.

Causes:

Transient insomnia is often caused by a temporary, upsetting incident in a person’s life. For example, a quarrel with a loved one or a brief illness can cause this abnormality. This type of insomnia does not need any medical treatment. When the effects of incident minimized or resolved a person restore its sleeping ability.

Sleep disorder:

Any condition, that intercept with sleep. The American Sleep Disorders Association has recognized eighty-four diverse sleep disorders. Chronic insomnia is caused by one or more of the following factors:

A medical condition or a treatment for a medical condition

Excessive use of certain substances, like caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine etc.

A psychiatric condition, such as anxiety or depression.

Mental stresses, such as sadness caused by the loss of a loved one or a job or any incident which has lasting effects.

Variation in one’s sleep patterns, as when one’s job shift has been changed

Breathing problems, such as snoring

Jerky leg movements that occur when a person is just going to bed.

Nightmares or feelings of fear during sleep

Sometimes insomnia occurs by the problem itself i.e. a person that worries so much about falling asleep, he or she can’t get to sleep. The more one worries about falling asleep, the harder it is to do.

Symptoms:

Some people with insomnia have difficulty in falling asleep. Others fall asleep but wake up at midnight and feel trouble falling back asleep. Few doze off but sleep very lightly. Insomnia patient wake up in the morning restless and tired. They keep on exhausting throughout the day. These sleep patterns are most common among the elderly and depressed people.

Diagnosis:

Insomnia can be easily diagnosed by listening to a patient’s symptoms. A doctor advice patient to keep records of his/her daily activities. This record helps doctor to determine factors causing insomnia for example, someone who eats just before falling asleep may experience insomnia. A minor change in eating patterns may cure insomnia for such patient. A doctor also conducts a physical check up to examine, if there are physical reasons for the insomnia.

People having chronic insomnia also need additional medical help. Insomnia specialist may conduct additional tests and suggest treatment for more serious cases.

Treatment:

Insomnia treatment first requires finding out the reasons that are causing the problem. Removing those factors often leads to insomnia elimination.

Change in Behavior

People can do a number of things to recover from insomnia. They should use bed room only for sleeping not for reading, writing or T.V watching. If they are unable to go to sleep, they should use another room and do relaxing things, like reading. Watching television is not a relaxing activity as some T.V programs often make people more excited. People should go to bed only when they feel exhausted.

People with insomnia must set the alarm and get up at the same time every morning, whether they had a sound sleep or not. In this way, they’ll set up a regular wake up pattern. They should avoid napping during the day time. If a nap is essential, it should be taken in the noon for not more than thirty minutes.

One famous form of treatment is called sleep-restriction therapy. A person first notice how long he or she can sleep at night. Then person leaves bed after that specific period of time. Each night, the time spent in bed is increased slightly. Under this program, the person gets a little more tired with the passage of time, and his or her chance of sleeping improves gradually.

Drug Therapy

The simplest way to deal with insomnia is the use of drugs. Tranquilizers, sedative and anti-anxiety drugs are helpful in such cases, but the use of these drugs has some serious side effects also.

They may become habit-forming.
Without the drugs use it become hard to find sleep.
Drugs also become less effective over time. A person have to increase does of a drug to get the same result.
Drugs makes a person feel groggy during the daytime.

To avoid such problems, drugs should be used to treat insomnia only with a doctor’s advice and under very strict supervision for a very limited time.

Other Measures

Relaxing before sleeping may help a person fall asleep quicker. People can surrogate pleasant thoughts for unpleasant ones. This method can prevent the effect of depression, anxiety, and other feelings that put off people from sleeping properly. Favorite music can also help a person to relax.

Slight change in diet and exercise routines also helps. Some specific foods tend to interfere with sleep and should be avoided in the evening. These foods include coffee, tea, beverages, and chocolate (which contain caffeine), and alcohol. Alcohol has sleepy effects first, but a few hours later it has reverse effect.

Comfortable bedroom temperature, noise reduction, and eliminating light are also helpful. Regularly scheduled morning or afternoon exercise can relax the body and later in the day, person feel exhausted, which provoke sleep.

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