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A Guide To Insomnia – Symptoms, Diagnosis, And Prevention

Insomnia

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30-Second-Summary
  • Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that affects millions of adults across the globe.
  • It is marked by troubled sleep or difficulty in falling asleep at night.
  • Therefore, it leads to tiredness, irritability, and poor concentration during the day.
  • Moreover, it may also increase your risk of developing other mental or physical disorders.
  • This sleep disorder may be acute or chronic, depending on how frequently you experience its symptoms.
  • Additionally, it may be caused by underlying health issues like arthritis or asthma, apart from common causes like stress.
  • To prevent this sleep disorder, you may try stress management techniques and maintain a regular sleep schedule.
  • If your symptoms are chronic, consult a doctor for the appropriate treatment.

Introduction

A good night’s sleep is crucial for your mental and physical well-being. After all, sleep time is when the body and mind rejuvenate and repair themselves.

Therefore, good sleep improves your concentration, mood, and physical health. But stress, illnesses, or lifestyle factors can hamper your sleep quality. If you are not getting enough sleep at night or are not feeling refreshed the next morning, you could be suffering from Insomnia.

It may sometimes be challenging to identify this condition because you may blame poor sleep on external factors. However, you must understand common Insomnia symptoms so that you can get prompt treatment for this condition, preventing further health complications.

What Is Insomnia And Who Does It Affect?

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that makes it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep at night. It can further be broken down into trouble falling asleep at night, waking up frequently during the night, or not feeling refreshed the next morning.

This disorder affects millions of adults across the globe, undermining their health and quality of life. An average adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep for normal function. Due to this sleep disorder, an individual doesn’t get enough sleep, making them feel fatigued, irritable, and moody.

Furthermore, it may increase their chances of developing other health issues. Therefore, Insomnia treatment is essential for those dealing with the chronic form of this condition.

Insomnia Affect

How Prevalent Is Insomnia?

According to studies[1], approximately 30% of the adult population suffers from at least one symptom of the sleep disorder. These symptoms include trouble falling asleep, waking up very early, or having broken spells of sleep. These symptoms might lead to tiredness, and the next morning it may also cause mood swings, restlessness, or poor concentration.

Furthermore, almost 10% of adults globally suffer from chronic Insomnia symptoms. Therefore, this disorder is quite prevalent among adults. Also, it increases the risk of psychiatric comorbidities and chronic illnesses, making treatment essential.

So, if you have been struggling with poor sleep, consult a doctor regarding Insomnia treatment. In some cases, addressing the root cause of the disorder, such as stress, can reverse the symptoms.

However, in other cases, treatment pathways like counseling, cognitive behavior therapy, and prescription medications may be required. Some over-the-counter medications or Melatonin may also improve your sleep quality. However, it is highly recommended to consult a doctor regarding the same.

What Are The Different Types Of Insomnia?

Insomnia can be classified into two categories based on the duration of symptoms – Chronic and Acute. These are defined as below:

  • Chronic Insomnia – You may experience three or more nights of disturbed sleep every week for at least 3 months. It may be caused by chronic illnesses, prolonged stress, or underlying mental disorders. Treating the root cause as well as the symptoms is usually necessary.
  • Acute Insomnia – Acute Insomnia is called the short-lived symptoms, with lesser frequency than chronic Insomnia. It may include singular episodes of poor sleep caused by sudden stress, disturbing events, or short-lived illnesses. Symptoms may go away on their own without any treatment.

Another type of classification is based on the underlying cause of the sleep disorder. It includes the following categories:

  • Primary Insomnia – When the sleep issues are not caused by any underlying health condition or disorder.
  • Secondary Insomnia – When the sleep issues are caused by underlying health conditions like arthritis, depression, heartburn, asthma, or cancer. It also includes the cases in which the symptoms are caused by substances like alcohol.

Sleep issues

Other classifications of this sleep disorder based on the symptoms include the following:

  • Sleep Onset Insomnia – When the individual has difficulty falling asleep at the designated bedtime.
  • Sleep-Maintenance Insomnia – When the individual has difficulty staying asleep, has disturbed sleep cycles or wakes up early in the morning.
  • Mixed Insomnia – When the individual faces difficulty in both sleep-onset and sleep maintenance. It is a combination of the first two categories listed above.
  • Paradoxical Insomnia – In this disorder, the individual underestimates the number of hours they sleep. You may sense fatigued and restless even though they are getting adequate sleep.

Based on your Insomnia symptoms and category, the treatment pathways will also vary. Acute symptoms may not require medical treatment but chronic symptoms usually need clinical intervention.

Additionally, symptoms caused by underlying conditions or substance use may usually go away when the root cause is addressed or treated.

When the symptoms are caused by stress or lifestyle factors, Insomnia remedies may improve your sleep quality. These include meditation, relaxing baths, aromatherapy, and switching off devices well before your bedtime.

Maintaining a sleep journal might also help you understand your symptoms and triggers better. You can also use a fitness app to track your sleep cycles. This information can help your doctor understand your symptoms better to prescribe the most-effective Insomnia treatment.

What Are The Top Causes Of Insomnia?

Insomnia can be caused by a variety of factors or a combination of the same. Some of the most common causes of this sleep disorder include the following:

  • Stress – Any acute or chronic stress can disturb your sleep quality. It may include stressful life events like losing someone or even day-to-day work stress.
  • Your Environment – Any changes in your environment in terms of lighting, sounds, or temperature may disturb your sleep. Hence, whether or location changes can cause your Insomnia symptoms.
  • Changes In Sleep Schedule – If your sleep timings change due to travel, jet lag, change in work hours, or other reasons, you may have trouble sleeping. You can try Insomnia remedies in these cases to get better sleep.
  • Genetic Predisposition – If your family members have a history of Insomnia, you may be at a higher risk of developing this disorder.

Other secondary causes of the disorder include underlying health conditions and lifestyle factors, such as:

Unable Sleep

  • Mental Health Disorders – Mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, ADHD and poor sleep can hamper your sleep quality.
  • Medications – Medicines for colds, asthma, allergies, or hypertension may also cause sleep disturbances.
  • Substance Use – Excessive caffeine, alcohol, or tobacco consumption can be a root cause of your symptoms.
  • Physical Health Conditions – Thyroid issues or chronic pain may also disturb your sleep.
  • Degenerative Disorders – Alzheimer’s or other degenerative disorders can also cause sleep issues.
  • Other Sleep Disorders – Sleep Apnea, Restless Leg Syndrome, or other sleep disorders may also hamper your sleep quality.
  • Pregnancy Or Menopause – Hormonal and physical changes caused by pregnancy, menstruation, or menopause can cause sleeplessness.

Addressing the root cause of your symptoms is an essential part of Insomnia treatment. Your doctor may deep dive into your medical and family history to understand the various possible causes of your symptoms. Once these causes are treated or addressed, your symptoms may get better with time.

The Risk Factors For Insomnia

Any adult may develop sleep disorders, but the following factors may increase the risk of poor sleep:

  • Gender – Women are more prone to developing this sleep disorder than men.
  • Chronic Illnesses – Chronic health issues like arthritis or asthma may increase your chances of developing Insomnia symptoms.
  • Family History – You may be more prone to developing this disorder if your family members have a history of suffering from the same.
  • Mental Health Disorders – Mental health issues like depression or PTSD may disturb your sleep cycles.
  • Rotating Work Shifts Or Travel – If your work shifts keep changing or when you travel across continents often, your body clock may get disturbed and may affect your sleep routine. In this case, Insomnia remedies may offer some relief.

If any of these risk factors apply to you, it is all the more important for you to maintain a healthy sleep routine.

Top Symptoms Of Insomnia

Irritability

If you take more than half an hour to fall asleep at night, wake up frequently in the middle of the night, or feel tired in the morning, chances are that you may be dealing with Insomnia. If this happens once in a while, the condition may be acute, but if it is a frequent occurrence, you may have the chronic form of the disorder. Other symptoms to look out for include:

  • Tiredness during the day
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Mood swings or irritability
  • Feeling sleepy during the day
  • Making errors in simple tasks
  • Feeling drained or demotivated
  • Memory loss
  • Small accidents during basic activities

Some people may not realize that they need Insomnia remedies as they may blame these symptoms on stress, other illnesses, or some external factors. However, if you are dealing with poor sleep quality that is hampering your daily life, you must get yourself treated for the sleep disorder.

How Is Insomnia Diagnosed?

In most cases, your doctor will be able to diagnose this sleep disorder by simply discussing your symptoms with you. They may ask you for your detailed medical and family history. Additionally, details about your sleep cycles and timings are important, which you can keep a track of with a sleep journal. This information can often be sufficient for a diagnosis.

Furthermore, your doctor may conduct a thorough medical examination and may run blood tests to check for any underlying conditions responsible for your symptoms. They may also listen to your heart and lungs to detect any anomalies.

Additionally, in some cases, the doctor may run some overnight sleep tests to understand your sleep patterns better. They may ask you to wear certain devices during these tests to track your movements and EEG signals while you sleep. With the help of these tests, your doctor can identify the best Insomnia treatment for you.

What Are The Possible Complications Of Insomnia?

According to studies[2], the common complications of the disorder may include increased Cortisol levels and a higher risk of diabetes, hypertension, and depression.

Additionally, sleep plays a crucial role in rejuvenating and repairing your brain cells. Hence, Insomnia symptoms can lead to anxiety, poor focus, and memory loss. It may also impact your appetite and hormones and may cause weight gain in some cases.

The chronic form of the disorder may worsen any existing chronic pain and may lower your immunity. Furthermore, if you are pregnant, poor sleep can increase your risk of developing pregnancy complications. Therefore, it is crucial to try Insomnia remedies to avoid these health concerns.

How To Prevent Insomnia?

The best way to improve your sleep quality is to avoid your stress and anxiety triggers, as they can be the biggest culprit behind sleeplessness. Additionally, the following Insomnia remedies can also act as prevention strategies:

  • Stress management techniques like deep breathing and meditation
  • Physical activities
  • Avoiding heavy dinners
  • Lowering your caffeine and alcohol intake
  • Avoiding naps during the day
  • Maintaining the consistent sleep schedule every single day
  • Practicing relaxing bedtime rituals like light reading or relaxing music
  • Taking a warm bath before bed
  • Switching off all devices an hour before your bedtime
  • Avoiding anxiety triggers, such as watching the news at night

Conclusion

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that not only damages your quality of sleep but can also be a precursor to various mental and physical disorders. Therefore, it is crucial to recognize its symptoms and seek treatment for the same. While stress and anxiety are the common culprits, underlying health issues and other mental disorders may also result in sleeplessness.

Therefore, Insomnia treatment includes addressing any chronic health conditions that may lead to sleep issues, such as thyroid, arthritis, and asthma. Maintaining good sleep practices can reduce your risk of developing the disorder.

Going to bed at the same time every night, avoiding screens at night, and following relaxing rituals like meditation can improve your sleep quality. So, try these tips today to improve your sleep quality and overall health.

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