Insomnia – Understanding Its Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

 

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is very common to many people. Basically, it means that an individual is either not getting enough sleep, and/or not getting high quality REM sleep.

Types of Insomnia

The basic insomnia categories are “chronic“, which describes trouble sleeping lasting for more than 30 consecutive days. This type of insomnia is mainly due to another chronic disorder, but it can also be the primary cause of sleep deprivation. Individuals that have a high level of stress hormones are more inclined to suffer from chronic insomnia. This type of insomnia has been known to cause double vision in some patients.

“Acute” (also referred to as “short term” insomnia or “stress related” insomnia), which is usually triggered by an exciting and/or stressful event, and once the situation is resolved your sleep pattern should resume to normal. Another characteristic of acute insomnia is that is must last less than one month.

Besides the two major categories of insomnia (chronic and acute – mentioned above), there is also “transient” that is triggered by a change in a regular sleep environment, jet lag, minor depression or a time change.

Common Symptoms of Insomnia

Common symptoms that affect anyone dealing with insomnia (on a long or short term basis) include:

  • Overall tiredness.
  • Excessive sleepiness during the day (to the point that motor skills are affected).
  • Focusing and concentrating on simple tasks becomes challenging.
  • Due to the fact that proper (restorative) sleep is not achieved, many people become cranky and irritable.
Common Symptoms of Insomnia

Causes of Insomnia

The causes of insomnia are many and vary between persons. Pinpointing the cause and resolving the problem may help you sleep better. For example, major stress in your life can cause a huge disruption in your sleep patterns (things like a divorce, grief, changing occupations and/or residences).

There are some prescription medications that affect sleep, and they would include medications to regulate blood pressure, asthma, depression and allergies. Consult with your physician to seek other types of medical treatment for these problems, if you notice they are dramatically affecting your sleep, and in turn having a negative effect on your daytime activities.

Jet lag and time change is certainly a cause for sleep loss. Once your body adjusts; good sleep patterns should return to normal.

Environmental factors can (and will) have a direct impact on sleep. Sleeping areas should be cool, dark and quiet.
In the case of chronic (on-going) insomnia, the causes may be related to depression, unresolved stressful situations and untreated physical pain.

Why Insomnia is Common in Adults?

As we get older, no one is telling us what time to go to bed and when to get up, and due to our busy lives, it seems that we choose to sacrifice sleep to generate more hours in the day. This usually backfires, eventually.
Caffeine or alcohol enjoyed near a scheduled bed time can also cause insomnia.

Insomnia is Common

Available Treatments for Insomnia

Chronic insomnia is usually the type that is focused on when to discuss treatment, as acute insomnia usually resolves itself.

Behavioral changes maybe what is needed to eliminate insomnia. For instance, if you have a cocktail or caffeinated beverage before bed you may consider eliminating (or adjusting) this habit.

Relaxation techniques have been proven to be helpful in relaxing our mind and body, and begin preparation for a healthy sleep.

Sleep restriction is another treatment that some people find helpful. It basically means going to sleep later, rising earlier and slowly increasing these times, until a normal sleep pattern is achieved within an eight hour window of time.

In this technical age, laptops and cell phones are always within reach. It may be challenging for some people to recondition their lives, and keep the laptop out the bedroom. Limit all activities in the bedroom to sleeping and lovemaking.

Can Insomnia be Prevented?

In some cases, over the counter sleeping aids are beneficial in treating short term insomnia. We have conducted a review of a few on the market today.

SOMULIN is one of the newest, and its all natural formula works with and not against your body. It helps a person fall asleep faster, and achieves a better night’s sleep, while waking up feeling refreshed and energized (not groggy). It is recommended to take a pill about an hour before you plan to sleep. There has been no negative side effectives reported for this cutting edge sleeping aid.

MIDNITE is also an over the counter sleep aid that claims to be different, because it can be taken anytime during the night, to send you back to sleep in a hurry, without having a sluggish feeling upon wakening.

There may be a drug conflict with MIDNIGHT and other drug therapies, such as a daily aspirin, blood thinners and antibiotics. Consult with your physician to make sure there are no medication conflicts. Some patients that have used MIDNITE have complained of “strange” dreams.

insomnia prevented

Dream dust might be a sleep aid for individuals that have trouble taking pills, as this is a 2 ounce portable liquid that is perfect to take on airplane travel. Customer reviews are not very high for this product, but you should keep in mind that not every sleep aid has the same effect on each individual.

Sleep hygiene (also known as “good sleeping habits) is a good place to start to prevent insomnia. Some helpful suggestions are listed below:

  • Don’t nap during the day.
  • Keep your bedtime routine regular (going to sleep and getting up at the same time every day).
  • Avoid caffeine laced foods and drinks (and other stimulants) late in the day.
  • Exercise daily, but try to do it early in the day.
  • Eat a light snack before bedtime, never a heavy meal.
  • Keep your bedroom cool (not too cold or too warm).
  • Reduce noise and light by using a face mask and ear plugs (if necessary).
  • Write a “to do list”, if worry is the cause of your insomnia. Writing things down will help you forget about them for while so you concentrate on sleeping.

Conclusion

Insomnia is a common affliction but one that can be easily improved. As you have seen, there are a number of causes that can lead to the appearance of insomnia, so it is recommended to work on these (if possible). Pay attention to the symptoms associated with this condition and try to reduce the time you spend using digital devices, as these can have a negative impact on the overall sleep quality. Try to relax and spend more time in the open outdoors, using natural sleep supplements if necessary.

 
 
Author

Expert Author : Kelly Everson (Consumer Health Digest)

Kelly Everson is an independent editor, an award-winning writer and an editorial consultant in the health and fitness industries. Currently, she is a contributing editor at Consumer Health Digest.