Insomnia: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
Insomnia is a sleep disorder that regularly affects millions of people worldwide. The cost of all those who have this condition for an extended period of time is more than just bad moods and a lack of focus. Over time, they can develop your risk of mental health problems as well as overall health issues.
Let’s find out more about this condition.
What is Insomnia?
Adults, depending on their age, require at least 7–9 hours of sleep per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Insomnia is a type of sleep disorder. It is characterized by the following symptoms:
- Hard to fall asleep
- Wake up during the night.
- Wake up too early and not be able to get back to sleep
Types of Insomnia
There are two types of insomnia: short-term insomnia and long-term insomnia:
Short-term insomnia typically lasts a few days or weeks and is frequently triggered by stress.
Long-term insomnia occurs when sleep problems occur at least three times per week for three months or longer.
What Are Common Causes of Insomnia?
Stress can cause a profound reaction in the body that interferes with quality sleep. Work, school, and social relationships can all trigger this stress response.
Irregular sleep schedules
Did you know your body has its own biological clock? This clock tells your body when it’s time to perform daily tasks such as sleeping and eating. In reality, many people have sleep schedules that cause their biological clock rhythm to be misaligned.
Two well-known examples are jet lag and shift work.
Jet lag disturbs sleep because a person’s body can’t adjust to a rapid change in time zone.
Shift work requires a person to work through the night and sleep during the day.
Working late, playing video games, or using other electronic devices just before bed can interfere with your sleep cycle.
Napping late in the afternoon can disrupt your sleep cycle and make it difficult to fall asleep at night.
Eating too much late in the evening may cause you to feel physically uncomfortable while lying down. Many people also have heartburn, which is the backflow of acid and food from the stomach into the esophagus after eating and can keep you awake.
Caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol
Drinking coffee, tea, cola, and other caffeinated beverages in the late afternoon or evening can keep you awake at night. Nicotine in tobacco products is another stimulant that can interfere with sleep.
Alcohol may help you fall asleep, but it prevents deeper stages of sleep and often causes awakening in the middle of the night
The following medications, according to the American Association of Retired Persons, can cause insomnia:
- selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI, antidepressants
- angiotensin converting enzyme, or ACE, inhibitors
- angiotensin II receptor-blockers, or ARBs
- cholinesterase inhibitors
- nonsedating H1 agonists
- a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin
What Happens if You Have Insomnia?
Insomnia can increase your risk of mental health problems as well as overall health issues. Below are some issues that may occur if a person has insomnia.
Increased the risk of mental condition
- Mood change
- Confusion and Frustration
Increased the risk of medical condition
Alzheimer’s disease, which is a progressive brain condition that gradually impairs thinking and memory.
Heart disease: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), consistently getting fewer than 7 hours of sleep each night can cause blood pressure to remain higher for longer. High blood pressure is one of the leading risks for heart disease and stroke.
Type 2 diabetes: Diabetes is a type of metabolic condition characterized by elevated blood glucose levels. Some studies show that getting enough good sleep may help people improve blood sugar control.
Weak immune system: One 2015 review investigated the relationship between the immune system and sleep.
Impaired memory. Lack of sleep can impair your ability to think, remember and process information.
Affect your appearance
It can cause premature wrinkling and dark circles under the eyes over time.
A lack of sleep has also been linked to an increase in the stress hormone cortisol in the body. Cortisol has the ability to degrade collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth.
How to Treat Insomnia
Keep a consistent wake-up
Every day, including weekends and holidays, get up at the same time. Wake up at the same time every day, including weekends or days off. Sleeping in on the weekend makes waking up earlier on Monday much more difficult.
Put away electronic devices before bedtime
Remove the electronic devices from the bedroom and stop using them for at least an hour or so before bedtime.
Get regular exercise
Avoid working out close to bedtime because it may make it difficult to fall asleep. Experts recommend exercising at least 3 to 4 hours before going to bed.
Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol late in the day
Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that can keep you awake. Alcohol can cause you to wake up in the middle of the night, reducing the quality of your sleep.
Doing mindfulness meditation
According to Harvard Health Publishing, mindfulness meditation entails focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present moment without becoming preoccupied with the past or the future.
It assists you in breaking the train of your everyday thoughts in order to elicit the relaxation response and fall asleep quickly.
The process is quite simple:
Step 1: Select a calming focal point. Your breath, a short prayer, a positive word (such as “relax” or “peace”), or a phrase (such as “I am relaxed”) are all good examples. If you choose a sound, repeat it silently or aloud as you inhale or exhale.
Step 2: Let go and relax.
Thoughts may enter the mind, simply take a deep breath and gently return your attention to your chosen focus.
If you do wake up in the middle of the night, avoid looking at the clock.
Because when looking at the clock, you will begin mental calculations, such as how long it has been since you’ve been in bed and what you will do the next day. And before you know it, a long time has passed, reducing your sleep time.
If lifestyle changes aren’t working, talk to your doctor about sleep medications. Your doctor will investigate the underlying causes and may recommend sleep medication. They will also advise you on how long you should take it.
Sleeping pills should not be used on a long-term basis.
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Reference: Harvard Health Publishing, CDC, Celevelandclinic, Medical News Today