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What is Insomnia and everything you need to know

insomnia

Insomnia is said to be present when a person constantly finds it difficult to fall asleep. The sleeping disorder has different patterns. A person may have trouble falling asleep initially. Or even if the person falls asleep, he might not be able to continue sleeping for as long as he likes. Also, the person may wake up during the night and not be able to go back to sleep for a long time. Most people have both of the above problems, or even all three. When a person suffers from insomnia, he might feel sleepy during the day.

What causes Insomnia?  

  • Insomnia is caused by several factors which can include:
  • Certain medicines and drugs, e.g., asthma or blood pressure medication,
  • Intake of caffeinated drinks, alcohol drinking or smoking
  • Severe pain and other illnesses
  • Stress at workplace or problems in personal life
  • Depression
  • A family, friend or dear one passing away
  • Anxiety and worries, including stressed about not getting proper sleep

How common is Insomnia?  

A lot of people would have experienced insomnia and its symptoms at some point of their lives. At any given time, studies show that approximately 10% of the world population have at least mild insomnia.

Who is at risk?  

Elderly people with poor health have a heightened risk of insomnia. Also, women have double the chances of being affected compared to men. This is also related to a higher rate of anxiety and depression in women which is associated with insomnia. Besides, shift workers do have a higher risk too.

How does it affect people?  

A person with insomnia may feel hard to focus and remember things well. Some people think their memory has become worse day by day. The same applies to concentration and focus. This increases a person’s risk of a traffic accident or other injury may be higher which is also termed as Drowsy Driving. An Insomniac person may be seen as more emotional and a lack of sleep leads to a depressed mood and some people feel tired during the day.

How is it treated?

Treatment for insomnia depends on the root cause of insomnia. When poor sleep habits causing insomnia, it needs treatment.

  • Stress, depression and anxiety are treated by specialists, also taking treatments to improve sleep can also have good results on these.
  • Sleep specialists usually suggest a sleep study to be sure they understand what may be causing the poor sleep and also check for sleep apnoea.

Are sleeping pills recommended?  

When a person takes sleeping pills occasionally, they can give a good night’s sleep. However, if a person takes them often, he or she will get used to them and the pills will stop working effectively. Also, they can be an addictive habit and it can become difficult for someone to stop taking them.

Impact of Insomnia  

Although insomnia is a common disorder, it is certainly not one to neglect. Severe insomnia problems can impact someone’s daily functioning during the daytime as well as at night. People who do not get regular sleep may experience:

  • Bad mood or easily irritable
  • Bad memory and focus
  • Difficulty staying alert
  • Stressed about not sleeping
  • Poor performance at work
  • Conflict in relationships
  • Poor quality of life

When a person experience any of these consequences of poor sleep, then they may have to seek help.

Management of Insomnia

There are various medications that are used to treat insomnia, but these are usually only effective for the short term. For long-term management of insomnia, it is recommended to consider treatments such as sleep hygiene, cognitive therapy, and reducing stress levels.

Learning about sleep:

This step is important to explore the many myths surrounding sleep. Getting factual information about sleep, sleep medications and the impact of poor sleep patterns on daily living can help a person develop good sleeping habits and overcome insomnia. An Insomniac person must learn how to improve their sleep and have a better understanding of how to begin to get a better night’s sleep. They must learn simple relaxation techniques to slow the mind and become part of their daily lifestyle. All it takes is between 20 seconds and three minutes, two to three times a day to help feel much better.

Managing and improving sleep  

A person suffering from Insomnia should become more aware of how they think about sleep. What a person thinks can negatively impact their ability to sleep. The person can learn different sleep strategies to enable and manage some of that ‘busy brain’ at night. The person can develop their own sleep pattern based on what suits their sleep and lifestyle factors.

Consultations  

It’s recommended to meet with an insomnia psychologist who can assess individual needs and history. These consultations focus on sleep needs. Insomnia is a common and debilitating disorder that can be treated in hospitals near you or in your city.  In cases of severe sleeping disorders, especially with comorbidities or excessive daytime sleepiness, can take consultations from specialist sleep clinics.

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